Verse of the Day

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Pastor's Sermon Notes: Ecclesiastes (series), #31 - You Never Know! (Ecclesiastes 9:11-12)

Series: Ecclesiastes
Sermon #31: You Never Know!
Ecclesiastes 9:11-12

[Audio file from Internet Archive at]

11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. 12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.


The emphasis in these verses is seen in the triple repetition of the noun “time”: “time and chance,” “his time,” and “an evil time.” A secondary emphasis seen in verse 12 is the repetition of the adjective connecting “an evil net” to “an evil time.”


I. Qoheleth’s Investigation (Third “Return”) Negates Human Expectations
II. Qoheleth’s Conclusion Dashes Human Predictions (9:11g)
III. Qoheleth’s Foundation (Basic Principle) Confronts Human Limitations (9:12a)
IV. Qoheleth’s Comparison Shatters Human Procrastinations (9:12b-e)


The first two points involve the issue of life in verse 11.
The second two points involve the issue of death in verse 12.

I. Qoheleth’s Investigation (Third “Return”) Negates Human Expectations (9:11a-f)

I returned, and saw under the sun,
that the race is not to the swift,
nor the battle to the strong,
neither yet bread to the wise,
nor yet riches to men of understanding,
nor yet favour to men of skill;

I returned, and saw under the sun,

Eccl. 4:1 — So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.

Eccl. 4:7 — Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun.

that the race is not to the swift,
nor the battle to the strong,
neither yet bread to the wise,
nor yet riches to men of understanding,
nor yet favour to men of skill;

the race
the swift
Expectation: The fastest runner wins the race.
Reality: Victory in a race is not definite to the fastest runner.
the battle
the strong
Expectation: The mightiest warrior wins the battle.
Reality: Victory in a battle is not certain to the strongest warrior or army.
the wise
Expectation: The wise are the best providers.
Reality: Food is not guaranteed to the possessors of wisdom.
men of understanding
Expectation: The best investors gather the most returns.
Reality: Material wealth is not “in the bag” to those who have understanding.
men of skill
Expectation: The most skillful have the best reputations.
Reality: Fame is not assured to the most talented.

When you’re a winner, but you can’t win.
When you’re a loser, and yet a winner.

Dt. 8:17-18 — 17 And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. 18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.

2 Chr. 20:15 — And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.

Ps. 76:5 — The stouthearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep: and none of the men of might have found their hands.

Is. 40:26-31 — 26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. 27 Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? 28 Hast thou not known?  hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?  there is no searching of his understanding. 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Amos 2:14-16 — 14 Therefore the flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not strengthen his force, neither shall the mighty deliver himself: 15 Neither shall he stand that handleth the bow; and he that is swift of foot shall not deliver himself: neither shall he that rideth the horse deliver himself. 16 And he that is courageous among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day, saith the LORD.

Zech. 4:6 — Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

Rom. 9:10-16 — 10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16: So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

Jer. 9:23-24 — 23 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

1 Cor. 1:18-31 — 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

“Conquering now and still to conquer, rideth a King in His might;
Leading the host of all the faithful into the midst of the fight;
See them with courage advancing, clad in their brilliant array,
Shouting the Name of their Leader, hear them exultingly say:
Not to the strong is the battle, not to the swift is the race,
Yet to the true and the faithful vict’ry is promised through grace.”[1]

II. Qoheleth’s Conclusion Dashes Human Predictions (9:11g)

but time and chance happeneth to them all.

On “time” in Ecclesiastes see 3:1-8, 11, 17; and 8:5-6, 9.

The only other occurrence in the Old Testament of this same Hebrew word here translated “chance”: 1 Ki. 5:4 — But now the LORD my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent.

Different word, same concept (3 Heb. words, and 2 Gk. words trans. “chance” by KJV. See Dt. 22:6; 1 Sam. 6:9; 2 Sam. 1:6; Eccl. 9:11; Lk. 10:31; 1 Cor. 15:37):

1 Sam. 6:9 — And see, if it goeth up by the way of his own coast to Beth-shemesh, then he hath done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know that is not his hand that smote us; it was a chance that happened to us.

1 Ki. 22:34 — And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.

“Solomon describes people as victims of inscrutable or even “cruel” chance. Nevertheless, the believer understands that God orders events in unexpected ways.”
New Geneva Study Bible, note, pg. 998.

More on the Unpredictability of Life. While not denying God’s sovereign ordering of human affairs (e.g., 3:1-15; 7:14), the Preacher admits that from a finite, fallible human perspective, many things that occur in the world have the appearance of being the result of pure chance (cf. 9:1-6).”
ESV Study Bible, note, pg. 1206.

“9. The true causes of events are hidden to us
Yet since the sluggishness of our mind lies far beneath the height of God’s providence, we must employ a distinction to lift it up. Therefore I shall put it this way: however all things may be ordained by God’s plan, according to a sure dispensation, for us they are fortuitous. Not that we think that fortune rules the world and men, tumbling all things at random up and down, for it is fitting that this folly be absent from the Christian’s breast! But since the order, reason, end, and necessity of those things which happen for the most part lie hidden in God’s purpose, and are not apprehended by human opinion, those things, which it is certain take place by God’s will, are in a sense fortuitous. For they bear on the face of them no other appearance, whether they are considered in their own nature or weighed according to our knowledge and judgment. Let us imagine, for example, a merchant who, entering a wood with a company of faithful men, unwisely wanders away from his companions, and in his wandering comes upon a robber’s den, falls among thieves, and is slain. His death was not only foreseen by God’s eye, but also determined by his decree. For it is not said that he foresaw how long the life of each man would extend, but that he determined and fixed the bounds that men cannot pass [Job 14:5]. Yet as far as the capacity of our mind is concerned, all things therein seem fortuitous. What will a Christian think at this point? Just this: whatever happened in a death of this sort he will regard as fortuitous by nature, as it is; yet he will not doubt that God’s providence exercised authority over fortune in directing its end. The same reckoning applies to the contingency of future events.[2] As all future events are uncertain to us, so we hold them in suspense, as if they might incline to one side or the other. Yet in our hearts it nonetheless remains fixed that nothing will take place that the Lord has not previously foreseen.
In this sense the term “fate” is often repeated in Ecclesiastes [chs. 2:14–15; 3:19; 9:2–3, 11],[3] because at first glance men do not penetrate to the first cause, which is deeply hidden. And yet what is set forth in Scripture concerning God’s secret providence was never so extinguished from men’s hearts without some sparks always glowing in the darkness. Thus the soothsayers of the Philistines, although they wavered in doubt, yet attributed their adverse fate partly to God, partly to fortune. If the Ark, they say, shall pass through that way, we shall know that it is God who has struck us; but if it passes through another way, then it has happened to us by chance [1 Sam. 6:9]. Foolishly indeed, where their divination deceived them, they took refuge in fortune. Meanwhile we see them constrained from daring to think simply fortuitous what had happened unfavorably to them. But how God by the bridle of his providence turns every event whatever way he wills, will be clear from this remarkable example. At the very moment of time in which David was trapped in the wilderness of Maon, the Philistines invaded the land, and Saul was compelled to depart [1 Sam. 23:26–27]. If God, intending to provide for his servant’s safety, cast this hindrance in Saul’s way, surely, although the Philistines took up arms suddenly and above all human expectation, yet we will not say that this took place by chance; but what for us seems a contingency, faith recognizes to have been a secret impulse from God.
Not always does a like reason appear, but we ought undoubtedly to hold that whatever changes are discerned in the world are produced from the secret stirring of God’s hand. But what God has determined must necessarily so take place, even though it is neither unconditionally, nor of its own peculiar nature, necessary. A familiar example presents itself in the bones of Christ. When he took upon himself a body like our own, no sane man will deny that his bones were fragile; yet it was impossible to break them [John 19:33, 36]. Whence again we see that distinctions concerning relative necessity and absolute necessity, likewise of consequent and consequence,[4] were not recklessly invented in schools, when God subjected to fragility the bones of his Son, which he had exempted from being broken, and thus restricted to the necessity of his own plan what could have happened naturally.
— John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, in The Library of Christian Classics, gen. eds. John Baillie, John T. McNeill, and Henry P. Van Dusen (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1960;  Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011), I:208-210, s.v. 1:16:9, s.v.The true causes of events are hidden to us.”

III. Qoheleth’s Foundation (Basic Principle) Confronts Human Limitations (9:12a)

For man also knoweth not his time:[5]

Man’s mortality is his ultimate limitation. The fact that man is absolutely ignorant of when his life will end — when he will die — is a fundamental reality that should confront him each and every moment of each and every day. This basic principle — man is ignorant of the time of his death — now becomes a foundation for Qoheleth to build a loud wake-up call on. This is Qoheleth’s “alarm clock” if you will.

Eccl. 8:7 — For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?

Lk. 12:15-21 — 15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. 16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

Lk. 12:35-40 — 35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; 36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. 37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. 38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. 40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

“2. Conquering now and still to conquer, who is this wonderful King?
Whence are the armies which He leadeth, while of His glory they sing?
He is our Lord and Redeemer, Savior and Monarch divine;
They are the stars that forever bright in His kingdom shall shine.
Not to the strong is the battle, not to the swift is the race,
Yet to the true and the faithful vict’ry is promised through grace.”

IV. Qoheleth’s Comparison Shatters Human Procrastinations (9:12b-e)

as the fishes that are taken in an evil net,
and as the birds that are caught in the snare;
so are the sons of men snared in an evil time,
when it falleth suddenly upon them.

The startling nature of these figures of speech constitute Qoheleth’s “alarm clock”!

1. Figures (Similes)

as the fishes that are taken in an evil net,
and as the birds that are caught in the snare;
so are the sons of men snared in an evil time,

Adverb Phrase
in an evil net
in the snare
sons of men
in an evil time

“With his eyes screwed up to see into the distance, he is blind to the danger of the present moment, even if he is wise; and he becomes entangled in it, as a fish or a bird is entangled in a net (9.11f.). (Jeremiah said that the stork, the swallow and other migratory birds were wiser than the people in Israel; Jer.8.7.) But even if man recognizes the hour when it comes, he cannot avert the destiny it brings with it; that has long been determined by one stronger than man (Eccles. 6.10).”
— Hans Walter Wolff, Anthropology of the Old Testament, trans. Margaret Kohl (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1974; from Anthropologie des Alten Testaments, Munich: Chr. Kaiser Verlag, 1973), pg. 91, s.v. Ch. X, “The Old Testament Concept of Time,” pp. 83-92.

Pr. 7:21-27 — 21 With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. 22 He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; 23 Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life. 24 Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. 25 Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. 26 For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. 27 Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.

Pr. 29:6 — In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.

Is. 24:16-18 — 16 From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs, even glory to the righteous.  But I said, My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me!  the treacherous dealers have dealt treacherously; yea, the treacherous dealers have dealt very treacherously. 17 Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. 18 And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake.

Ezek. 12:13 — My net also will I spread upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare: and I will bring him to Babylon to the land of the Chaldeans; yet shall he not see it, though he shall die there.

Hos. 7:12 — When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard.

Hos. 9:8 — The watchman of Ephraim was with my God: but the prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God.

Lk. 21:34-36 — 34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

2. Application

when it falleth suddenly upon them.

“…petha` signifies that something arrives imperceptibly, surprisingly, and unnoticed, and when the eyes are raised unexpectedly, it is suddenly there. This notion of an unexpectedly occurring surprise appears at Eccles. 9.12 (et al.), in the comparison with the fish and birds who notice nothing until they find themselves ‘suddenly’ ensnared….I do not believe that these last-named words allude to the mere opening of the eye; they portray how in sheer surprise the mouth as well as the eyes opens involuntarily when something unexpected is suddenly seen.”
— Thorleif Boman, Hebrew Thought Compared With Greek, 2nd ed. rev., trans. Jules L. Moreau (New York: W. W. Norton. 1960; from Das hebrÓ“ische Denken im Vergleich mit dem Griechischen, Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1954), pg. 137, s.v. “d. Duration and Instant,” pp. 135-137.

Lk. 17:26-36 — 26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.
32 Remember Lot's wife. 33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. 34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

1 Th. 5:1-4 — 1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.


“3. Conquering now and still to conquer, Jesus, Thou Ruler of all,
Thrones and their scepters all shall perish, crowns and their splendor shall fall,
Yet shall the armies Thou leadest, faithful and true to the last,
Find in Thy mansions eternal rest, when their warfare is past.
but time and chance happeneth to them all.
Not to the strong is the battle, not to the swift is the race,
Yet to the true and the faithful vict’ry is promised through grace.”

[Sermon preached 19 JUN 2016 by Pastor John T. “Jack” Jeffery at Wayside Gospel Chapel, Greentown, PA.]

Complete Outline:

I. Qoheleth’s Investigation (Third “Return”) Negates Human Expectations
II. Qoheleth’s Conclusion Dashes Human Predictions (9:11g)
III. Qoheleth’s Foundation (Basic Principle) Confronts Human Limitations (9:12a)
IV. Qoheleth’s Comparison Shatters Human Procrastinations (9:12b-e)

Select Sources on Ecclesiastes:

J. Sidlow Baxter, Explore The Book: A Basic and Broadly Interpretive Course of Bible Study from Genesis to Revelation, 6 vols. in 1 ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, n.d., 1960 printing).

William D. Barrick, Ecclesiastes: The Philippians of the Old Testament, Focus on the Bible series (Fearn, Ross-Shire, Scotland: Christian Focus, 2012).[6]

Charles Bridges, An Exposition of the Book of Ecclesiastes (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1860).[7]

C. Hassell Bullock, An Introduction to the Old Testament Poetic Books: The Wisdom and Songs of Israel (Chicago: Moody Press, 1979).

Franz Delitzsch, “Commentary on The Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes,” trans. M. G. Easton, in Commentary on the Old Testament in Ten Volumes, C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Vol. VI: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon: Three Volumes in One (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., n.d., 1975 reprint), III:179-442.

Michael A. Eaton, Ecclesiastes: An Introduction and Commentary, Vol. 16, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity, 1983).

Sinclair B. Ferguson. The Pundit's Folly: Chronicles of an Empty Life (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1995).

Duane A. Garrett, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Vol. 14, New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman, 1993).

Donald R. Glenn, “Ecclesiastes,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, eds. J. F. Walvoord, and R. B. Zuck (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1985).

William Henry Green, “Scope and Plan of the Book of Ecclesiastes,” Biblical Reparatory and Princeton Review 29 (1857), pp. 419-40; on Gordon Faculty Online at [accessed 7 NOV 2015].[8]

Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Coping With Change: Ecclesiastes (Fearn, Roth-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus, 2013).[9]

Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Ecclesiastes: Total Life, in Everyman’s Bible Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1979).

Derek Kidner, The Message of Ecclesiastes: A Time to Mourn, and a Time to Dance, in The Bible Speaks Today, Old Testament series ed. J. A. Motyer (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1976).

H. C. Leupold, Exposition of Ecclesiastes (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1952).

Tremper Longman III, The Book of Ecclesiastes, New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997).

John MacArthur, MacArthur Study Bible, rev. ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997).

Tim Mackie, “The book of Ecclesiastes explained with illustrations,” on The Bible Project at [accessed 18 JUN 2016]; includes downloadable full resolution video (700+ mb), and poster; for the video see also “Read Scripture Ecclesiastes” (10 JUN 2016), on YouTube at [accessed 18 JUN 2016].[10]

Roland Edmund Murphy, Ecclesiastes, Vol. 23A, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, 1992).

John G. Reisinger, Studies in Ecclesiastes (Frederick, MD: New Covenant Media, 2008).

Philip Graham Ryken, Ecclesiastes: Why Everything Matters, in Preaching the Word, gen. ed. R. Kent Hughes (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010).

Philip G. Ryken, Why Everything Matters: The Gospel in Ecclesiastes (Fearn, Ross-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, Ltd., 2015).

Benjamin Shaw, “On Reading Ecclesiastes,” in The Hope Fulfilled: Essays in Honor of O. Palmer Robertson, ed. Robert L. Penny (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2008), pp. 47-58.

Peter B. Steese, ed., Ecclesiastes, gen. ed. Leonard F. Dean (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc., 1966).

Tom V. Taylor, Studies in Ecclesiastes (Port Colborne, Ontario, CA: Gospel Folio Press, 2013).[11]  

Addison G. Wright, “The Riddle of the Sphinx: The Structure of the Book of Qoheleth,” in Reflecting with Solomon: Selected Studies on the Book of Ecclesiastes, ed. Roy B. Zuck (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994), pp. 45-66; originally published in Catholic Biblical Quarterly 30 (1968), pp. 313-334.

J. Stafford Wright, “Ecclesiastes,” in Psalms-Song of Songs, Vol. 5, Expositor's Bible Commentary, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1991).

J. Stafford Wright, “The Interpretation of Ecclesiastes”, in Classical Evangelical Essays in Old Testament Interpretation, ed. Walter C. Kaiser Jr. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1972), pp. 135-150; from J. Stafford Wright, “The Interpretation of Ecclesiastes,” Evangelical Quarterly 18 (1946), pp. 18-34; on Rediscovering the Bible at [accessed 7 MAY 2015].

Ronald F. Youngblood, “Qoheleth's 'Dark House' (Eccl. 12:5),” in A Tribute to Gleason Archer, eds. Walter C. Kaiser and Ronald F. Youngblood (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986), pp.211-228; also published in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 29:4 (DEC 1986), pp. 397-410; on Biblical Studies at [accessed 4 APR 2016].


[1] Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915).

[2] Cf. Comm. Harmony of the Evangelists, Matt. 10:29. Calvin holds all contingency within the operation of God’s providence. So also Westminster Confession V. 2: “… by the same providence, he ordereth … [all things] to fall out according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.” See the quoted statements on contingent events by Reformed theologians in Heppe RD, ch. xii, pp. 265 ff. Calvin, J. (2011). Institutes of the Christian Religion & 2. (J. T. McNeill, Ed., F. L. Battles, Trans.) (Vol. 1). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.

[3] “Eventus.”

[4] Aquinas, Summa Theol. I. xix. 3. Barth and Niesel, citing Bonaventura, Duns Scotus, Erasmus, and Eck in agreement, point out Luther’s rejection of this view in his De servo arbitrio (Werke WA XVIII. 615 ff.). Melanchthon’s position is not different from that of Aquinas and of Calvin: Loci communes, 1543 (CR Melanchthon XXI. 649 f.); Loci theologici, 1559 (ed. Engelland, op. cit., pp. 229 f., 233). Calvin, J. (2011). Institutes of the Christian Religion & 2. (J. T. McNeill, Ed., F. L. Battles, Trans.) (Vol. 1). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.

[5] “The time of his misfortune, especially death (cf. 11:8, “days of darkness”; 12:1, “difficult days”).”John MacArthur, MacArthur Study Bible, note, pg. 936.

[6] Barrick’s lecture notes (PDF files) and audio (mp3) are on Dr Barrick at [accessed 3 FEB 2016].

[7] On Internet Archive at [accessed 11 MAY 2015]; on Google Books at [accessed 11 MAY 2015]; and linked on Precept Austin at [accessed 11 MAY 2015].

[8] Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. inexplicably refers to this as an “unsigned article” on at least two occasions in his commentary despite the facts that: 1) William Henry Green is clearly indicated as the author under the title on the first page of the article (pg. 419), and 2) one of his own faculty members (Ted Hildebrandt) has posted the article on the school’s web site where Kaiser served as both faculty member and President. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Ecclesiastes: Total Life, in Everyman’s Bible Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1979); and Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Coping With Change: Ecclesiastes (Fearn, Roth-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus, 2013).

[9] Although not indicated on the copyright page, this appears in all respects to be a revised edition (2nd ed.) of the Moody Press 1979 original. The relationship to the original is referenced in the “Preface,” where the author mentions the inclusion of his own translation of Ecclesiastes in this revision as one significant change. “Dale Ralph Davis compares the two and says, “the ‘bones’ are much the same but the whole has been updated and expanded.” Source: Tim Challies, “Best Commentaries on Ecclesiastes” (18 NOV 2013), on Challies at [accessed 7 NOV 2015].

[10] “This video explores the main ideas and flow of thought of the book of Ecclesiastes.
The Bible Project is a non-profit creating animated videos that explain the narrative of the Bible. These videos are free to use for personal and educational purposes. Download a full resolution version of this video along with a study guide at”
“About the author: Tim Mackie is a Pastor of Door of Hope church and a Professor at Western Seminary -”

[11] See also the “Thomas V. Taylor Library” on the Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute at [accessed 27 NOV 2013].

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