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Bible Commentaries
Ecclesiastes 6

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-6

ECCLESIASTES

CHAPTER 6

THE VANITY OF RICHES

Verses 1-2 describe another situation Solomon observed to be common under the sun. A man may be given riches and honor to the extent he lacks nothing, yet so restrained by God from using his riches, it passes to a stranger. The restraining circumstances, whether folly or calamity, are not stated. Other examples are cited in Psalms 39:6 and Luke 12:16-20.

Verses 3-6 cite further vanities under the sun for those who seek satisfaction in riches:

Verse 3 affirms that if a man should beget an hundred children (Gideon had 70 sons, Judges 8:30), live many years without his life being filled with good, then suffer the disgrace to die without burial (see 2 Kings 9:35; Jeremiah 22:18-19); a child born dead would be better than he, Psalms 58:8; Psalms 127:3; Mark 10:14.

Verses 4-5 describe the experience of the still-born child as a brief transition to the place of deceased infants, (2 Samuel 12:21-23) without seeing the sun or knowing life under the sun, and as providing more rest than is experienced by the man described in verse 3.

Verse 6 suggests that though the man indicated in verse 3, should live a thousand years twice, his life would be prolonged misery; followed by entry into the unseen world of the dead, Ecclesiastes 8:12-13; Proverbs 14:32.

Verses 7-8

UNSATISFIED DESIRES

Verse 7 suggests that all the labor of man under the sun is for his own preservation and enjoyment, yet his desires are not satisfied, Proverbs 16:26.

Verse 8 suggests that in the quest for true happiness under the sun, the worldly wise has no advantage over the fool; neither has the poor who has learned to walk acceptably before the living gained true happiness, Ecclesiastes 11:8.

Verse 9

EVEN THE BEST IS VANITY

Verse 9 declares that present enjoyment of what is available under the sun is better than longing for that beyond reach. However, both the fleeting, under-the-sun-joy, and the unrealized longings, are vanity and vexation of spirit, Ecclesiastes 11:8.

Verse 10

INFERIORITY OF MAN

Verse 10 reaffirms that man is a mere creature of God and cannot contend with his maker, Genesis 2:9; Job 9:32.

Verses 11-12

QUESTIONS WITHOUT HUMAN ANSWER

Verses 11-12 further emphasize the vanity of life under the sun, by unanswered questions: 1) In what way is man better under the sun? 2) Who under the sun knows what is good for man in this life? and 3) Who can tell what shall be after life under the sun? Ecclesiastes 8:7; Ecclesiastes 9:12; Ecclesiastes 10:14; Proverbs 27:1; James 4:14.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 6". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/ecclesiastes-6.html. 1985.
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