The Words of Ecclesiastes

Chapter 8

True wisdom is modest, 1. Kings are to be respected, 2-5. Divine providence is to be observed, 6-11. It is better with the godly in adversity, than with the wicked in prosperity, 12-15. The work of God is unsearchable, 16, 17.

Who is as the wise man?/
And who knows the interpretation of a thing?/
A man's wisdom causes his face to shine,/
and the boldness of his face shall be changed.

2 I counsel you to keep the king's commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God. 3 Do not be hasty to go out of his sight. Do not stand in an evil thing, for he does whatever pleases him. 4 Where the word of a king is, there is power. And who may say to him, "What are you doing?"

He who keeps the commandment shall feel no evil thing./
And a wise man's heart discerns both time and judgment.

6 For to every purpose there is time and judgment; therefore, the misery of man is great upon him. 7 For he does not know that which shall be. For who can tell him when it shall be? 8 There is no man who has power over the spirit to retain the spirit, neither does he have power in the day of death. And there is no discharge in that war, neither shall wickedness deliver those who are given to it. 9 All this I have seen, and applied my heart to every work that is done under the sun. There is a time in which one man rules over another to his own hurt.

10 And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the holy place, and they were forgotten in the city where they had done so. This is also vanity. 11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. 12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and his days are prolonged, yet surely I know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before him. 13 But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God.

14 There is a vanity which is done upon the earth: there are just men, to whom it happens according to the work of the wicked, and there are wicked men, to whom it happens according to the work of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. 15 Then I commended mirth, because a man has no better thing under the sun than to eat, to drink, and to be merry, for that shall abide with him of his labor the days of his life which God gives him under the sun.

16 When I applied my heart to know wisdom and to see the business that is done upon the earth (for there is also one who neither day nor night sees sleep with his eyes), 17 I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. Because even though a man may labor to seek it out, yet he shall not find it, and even though a wise man thinks to know it, yet he shall not be able to find it.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Ecclesiastes, Chapter 8[➚]