Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 28th, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
Ecclesiastes 11

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes


There ought to be no division between Ecclesiastes 10:20 and Ecclesiastes 11:1.

As if in contrast to the self-indulgence described in Ecclesiastes 10:16-19, the opposite virtue, readiness to give to others, is inculcated. The use of the word “bread” in both Ecclesiastes 10:19 (see the note) and Ecclesiastes 11:1 points the contrast.

Verse 1

The verse means: “Show hospitality, even though the corresponding return of hospitality to you may seem improbable; nevertheless, be hospitable in faith.” Compare Luke 14:13-14; Hebrews 13:2. Some interpreters (not unreasonably) understand by “bread” the seed from the produce of which bread is made. Seed cast upon the fertile soil flooded by the early rains would be returned to the sower in autumn with large increase.

Verse 2

The verse means: “Let your hospitality and your alms be extensive: for you know not what reverses may befall either that person who by your liberality will be strengthened to meet them, or yourself who may come to need grateful friends.” Compare Luke 16:9.

Seven, and also to eight - A definite number for an indefinite (compare marginal reference).

Verses 3-6

Spirit - The same Hebrew word (like πνεῦμα pneuma in Greek and “Spirit” in English) signifies both the wind Ecclesiastes 11:4 and the Spirit (compare marginal reference). The Old Testament in many places recognizes the special operation of God Job 10:8-12; Psalms 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:5, and distinctly of the Spirit of God Job 31:15 in the origination of every child. Compare Genesis 2:7.

Verses 7-10

The sense appears to be, “Let the timely recollection of God’s judgment, and of the fleeting character of youth, so influence your conduct that you will refrain from acts which entail future remorse and pain.”

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 11". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/ecclesiastes-11.html. 1870.
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