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                       "THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES"

                             Chapter Eight


1) To glean wisdom for enduring evil and oppressive governments

2) To note the similarity between the Preacher's conclusion and the book
   of Job about the inability of man to discern all of the work of God


Among the "vanities" in life is living in circumstances over which we
have little control.  Such as the kind of government ruling the country
in which we live.  The Preacher observed that evil men are often in
positions of power, and offers his counsel for enduring such "vanity."

Wisdom is helpful, capable of softening one's countenance (so one is not
overly troubled?).  Submitting to governing authorities is important,
especially in view of the power wielded by those in authority.  There
will be times when the wicked rule, bringing misery.  Be patient, while
judgment against such evil may be delayed it will come in its own time
and the wicked will soon be forgotten after their demise.  In the
meantime, it is best to fear God (1-13).

Another "vanity" is how the righteous sometimes suffer while the wicked
prosper.  The Preacher reiterates his conclusion that it is best to seek
to enjoy what good God gives in one's labor under the sun.  Even the
wisest man is unable to discern all that God is doing, no matter how
hard he tries.  A lesson similar to the one taught in the book of Job



      1. Wisdom has its value, able to change one's countenance
      2. Obey the king's command, for God's sake
         a. Don't be hasty to leave the king's presence
         b. Don't take your stand for an evil thing
         c. Respect his power, and you will be unharmed
      3. A wise man will understand that judgment will come in it's own
         time, so don't resort to wickedness (i.e., rebellion) to 
         alleviate misery - cf. Ro 13:1-7; 1 Pe 2:11-17

      1. There will be times when men rule to their own detriment
      2. They will soon be forgotten after their demise
      3. Why do some persist in their evil?
         a. Because their judgment does not occur immediately
         b. Even so, it is still better to fear God


   A. EXPECT PERPLEXITY (14, 16-17)
      1. Sometimes the righteous suffer, and the wicked prosper, which
         is vanity
      2. One cannot always understand why things happen the way they do
         (remember Job?)

   B. ENJOY LIFE (15)
      1. Delight in the fruits of your own labor
         a. Eat, drink, and be merry
         b. As you labor in the days God has given you in life under the
      2. The advice given throughout this book - 2:24-26; 3:12-13; 5:


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Enduring the governments of men (1-13)
   - Enduring the vanity in life (14-17)

2) What benefit does wisdom have? (1)
   - It can make the face of a man to shine, softening its sternness

3) Why should one be in submission to the king (i.e., government)? (2-4)
   - For God's sake
   - Because of the power which the king has at his disposal

4) Generally speaking, what will one experience who heeds the king's
   command? (5)
   - Nothing harmful

5) What will a wise man discern even though misery may increase greatly?
   - There is a time and judgment for every matter

6) What is said of those who are given to wickedness? (8)
   - Wickedness will not deliver them

7) What had the Preacher observed about the rule of men? (9)
   - There is a time when a man rules over another to his own hurt

8) What did he observe about the wicked who had come and gone from the
   place of holiness? (10)
   - They were soon forgotten after their death

9) Why were the hearts of some men set to do evil? (11)
   - Because the sentence against evil was not executed speedily

10) What did the Preacher conclude about a sinner whose days are
    prolonged? (12-13)
   - It will be well for those who fear God
   - It will not be well with the wicked

11) What did the Preacher describe as a vanity which occurs on the
    earth? (14)
   - There are just men who receive what should be for the wicked
   - There are wicked men who receive what should be for the righteous

12) In view of such vanity, what does the Preacher commend?  Why? (15)
   - To eat, drink, and be merry (i.e., enjoy life)
   - For this is what God gives to man as he labors in life under the

13) What did the Preacher conclude after diligently observing the
    business that is done on the earth? (16-17)
   - That no one can know all of the work of God, even if one is wise
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