Ecclesiastes 2:8-14

Ecclesiastes 2:8

I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.


{14} Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold,  {15} Beside that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffick of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country.  {16} And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of gold went to one target.  {17} And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon.  {18} Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold.  (1 Kings 10:14-18)


Today’s value of 666 talents of gold would be $941,657,400 (as of 1/28/2020) coming to Solomon every year.  In 40 years that would be $37,666,296,000.  Keep in mind that the gold was only one precious metal and then there was massive amounts of silver.  For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.  (1 Kings 10:22)  And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he to be as the sycomore trees that are in the vale, for abundance.  (1 Kings 10:27)  The peculiar treasures which Solomon received were those of different kings from different countries.  A peculiar treasure would be one that is indigenous to a certain country.  Solomon also had no lack of entertainment as he obtained for himself both men and women singers which were probably the best in Israel.  The “delights” may also be understood as luxuries that the youth of the nation would enjoy such as musical instruments, local and those from afar.


Ecclesiastes 2:9

So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.


Solomon had great wealth and that wealth increased tremendously and this wealth was greater than all the rich people that came before Solomon.  During the time his wealth was amassing, he was fully in control of his wisdom.  He did not allow the great wealth, at this time, to pervert his judgment nor cause any pride to swell up inside of him.  This also proves that a person can have wealth and not allow it to override good judgment or dement his character.


Ecclesiastes 2:10

And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.


Solomon was so wealthy that whatever he desired to have, he would have it.  No matter what joy or pleasure he wanted, he would not deprive himself of it.  If not controlled the lust of the eyes can get you in trouble and you will begin to desire everything you want and if you cannot get it, then you may resort to evil methods to gain it.  Solomon made all the provisions he could to ensure that he would enjoy all the pleasures his wealth and position could yield.  But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.  (Romans 13:14)  Solomon did everything he could do to appease his flesh and eventually it got him into serious trouble with the LORD.  Solomon’s heart had rejoiced in all the labors he did which was to bring as much goodness to himself and he enjoyed everything that he could possibly enjoy in a  lifetime.  There is nothing wrong with a person who labors and then enjoys some of the fruits of that labor, for example, you may want to buy a surfboard and go surfing and that is fine after all the Lord gave us many oceans to enjoy.  However, if surfing begins to be an obsession with you and you start missing work or missing church to go surfing, then you will be in trouble as Solomon got into trouble placing fun and pleasure above the realities of life.


Ecclesiastes 2:11

Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.


Then what Solomon did was took time to evaluate all the works that he accomplished and all the labor which went into those projects whether they be buildings or vineyards and as beautiful as they were Solomon then makes the assessment that as many as they were and they dotted the landscape beautifully, they were nothing but vanity which meant emptiness and vexation of spirit which just grazed or ate up the spirit.  This is because temporal things have an end while they may serve a present need, they eventually fade along with their reason of existence.  Profit is something that normally lasts long but once the glory fades, the profit of the venture also fades into oblivion.  All the works of man which are done for “profit” will all disappear and will be of no value to the next generation.


Ecclesiastes 2:12

And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done.


Then after all the folly and madness concerning all the things he pursued, he then turns back to his first choice which was wisdom.  For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.  (Proverbs 8:11)  Solomon writes in Proverbs that wisdom is better than rubies which means wealth.  Solomon had as much wealth as any man on earth could only dream of.  Yet, he determined that wisdom was better than earthly wealth because of its transitory nature.  Then Solomon asks about the future as to what will the man that comes after him do that was not already done by him?  Everything the future king will try will already have been done.  Gathering riches, building memorials to themselves as the Pharaohs did in Egypt, etc.  It will all be vanity because of the temporal nature of anything on earth.


Ecclesiastes 2:13

Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.


Then Solomon makes a final determination between wisdom, folly and madness.  He then states that wisdom excelleth folly like the light excelleth darkness.  The word “excelleth” carries with it the meaning of “preeminence or excellency.”  The light displaces darkness just as the true gospel displaces the false religions.  The temporal light of the sun removes the dangers which are hidden by the darkness.  There is one thing that both the wise man and the fool have in common.  For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.  (Psalm 49:10)  The wisest person in the world will die just like the foolish man. The wise man may live longer because they order their lives properly and avoid the pitfalls of life whereas the foolish man will do things that may cause him to die young.


Ecclesiastes 2:14

The wise man's eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.


Solomon gives a tremendous principle to guide our lives by.  The wise man sees through his eyes and not with them.  Sounds strange but this means that when a wise man sees something he will assess what he sees by using his mind to decide what he is seeing is good or bad.  The fool sees with his eyes and that is where his understanding stops.  He suffers from the lust of the eyes and does no personal assessment of the situation.  For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit.  (Proverbs 23:27)  He may see a beautiful woman and thinks to himself “what can happen if I go with her for a few hours?”  Then a few weeks later he goes to the doctor and finds out he has AIDS.  He has allowed his walk in darkness to shorten his life instead of thinking about the consequences, he just focuses on the moments of pleasure.  Then Solomon declares that even if a person is foolish or is extremely wise the one great event which will happen to all humans is death.  Even before death the wise and foolish man are susceptible to the problems which plague earth such as disease, calamity, natural disasters, war, etc.  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  (Matthew 5:45)  The Lord makes the sun and the rain fall upon the just and the unjust.  This means that while on earth the true believer is also susceptible to the problems which plague earth.  Christians along with unbelievers die by disease, war, calamity, natural disasters, etc.  No human, saved or unsaved, is exempt from the difficulties which plague this sin cursed world.