Ecclesiastes 8:10-17

Ecclesiastes 8:10

And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done: this is also vanity.


Then Solomon speaks about the funerals of the wicked that are sometimes taken into a church where the preacher makes a sermon over them making the wicked person out to be some kind of saint.  Then they go from the church and are taken to the cemetery where the family and friends grieve for a few days or if they were really evil, no grieving at all by the afflicted parties.  Once they are buried and in the ground the memory of them is soon forgotten as life goes on and as people who were affected by their evil do not wish to remember a persecutor.  The mourning was done for show as the real feeling could be summed up in two words “good riddance.”  It is even vain to mourn since empty mourning means nothing except a good show.


Ecclesiastes 8:11

Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.


One of the greatest deadly mistakes that a person can make is to truly believe that they can sin with impunity, that is, they can continue to sin because they have not been condemned for their evil ways.  The more evil they do, the deeper they go into it and since it seems like they are getting away with things and they think they are doing right, then they continue in their evil ways.  In Genesis 15, God was making a covenant with Abraham and was telling him that his descendants would serve in a land for 400 years and then come forth in the fourth generation.  God then mentions that the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full.  The word “full” carries with it the meaning of “made ready” which means they were not made ready yet for judgment.  The Amorites were only one group which inhabited the land of Canaan which was to be given to Israel when they came out of bondage.  The mentioning of the “Amorites” is a representation of all the heathen nations which would be removed from the land to make way for Israel.  But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.  (Genesis 15:16)  At the time Jacob entered Egypt these heathen nations had not yet fulfilled the amount of sins that they were to be judged for.  This did not mean judgment wasn’t coming but God waited for a specific time to judge them.  This is the same situation with our present world where the unbelievers have no concept that they are filling up their cup of wrath which will eventually be judged.  Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.  (1 Corinthians 10:21)  Many in this world think because they are members of a church or some religious organization that they are in right standing with God but unfortunately they are drinking the cup of devils.


Ecclesiastes 8:12

Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him:


An unregenerate sinner will continue to sin all the days of their life as 100 times would symbolize the fullness of their sinful life.  Sometimes it seems that the wicked always seem to live a long life while a person who seems to be doing good die at much younger ages.  Just because an evil person lives to old age does not mean they have the blessing of the Lord upon them it just means that if they are not the elect of God then they must be like the Amorites and will die when their iniquity is filled.  In contrast to the old sinner, there are those who are saved because only those who are saved fear God.  There is no fear of God before their eyes.  (Romans 3:18)  The unbeliever has no fear because they are spiritually dead and a dead person has no response to authority. Even if a true believer dies at a young age they are in essence continuing to live eternally which begins at the moment God saves them.  So Solomon is stating that those who are saved will fare better than the ones who stand at the judgment seat of Christ for their sins.


Ecclesiastes 8:13

But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.


The wicked believe they have the upper hand as they oppress people for a few years on this earth.  They make a grave mistake because they are exchanging a few years of wanton pleasure for an eternity of eternal damnation.  The wicked will come face to face with their evil ways at the judgment seat of Christ on the last day.  They may live on this earth for 80 or 90 years but that does not mean they have prolonged their lives but it means those were the days that God had ordained for them to live.  Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.  (Psalm 90:8)  Then all the sins they did in secret will be brought out in the light against them.  The wicked make one terrible mistake and that is they do not take into account that this life is temporary and transitory and everything they make on this earth will be left behind except the record of their sins.  So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.  (Psalm 90:12)  The wise person is the one who wants God to teach them and impress upon them the reality the grave is the end of all human life for both the saved and unsaved, great and small, wicked and obedient.  The hyphen which comes between birth and death on our tombstone shows how brief life really is.


Ecclesiastes 8:14

There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity.


Here we have two opposing events happening to the people that do not seem like they deserve them.  The first one is when things happen to a just or saved person which seems like a recompense which should be given to the wicked.  In other words, a just person who suffers an injustice doesn’t seem like they should suffer as a wicked person who performs evil deeds.  It is like the old saying “no good deed ever goes unpunished.”  Sometimes we believe that a righteous person should only receive the good for their efforts but many times instead they receive distressing results.  It is like an employee who is really good who works with a lazy employee that does nothing to help the company yet winds up with a promotion and the good employee is let go.  Then we have wicked people who seem to wind up with results in their life which is not commensurate with their lifestyle or attitude.  Just like the bad employee who gets promoted while the hard working employee is let go so they will not butt heads with the incompetent boss.  Both situations are works of vanity since this world has an end and that situation has an end.  One day all the injustices on this world will be judged.  Sometimes we wonder why the wicked people of the world live in luxury when the poor saved people of this world live paycheck to paycheck, if they have one.


Ecclesiastes 8:15

Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.


Then Solomon committed himself to mirth which could be fun or entertainment because that is the only thing which causes a person to laugh and to forget about all their problems.  This is speaking about those who lack spiritual understanding as they look to the things of the world to give them pleasure.  This is not to say that true believers cannot enjoy a day at the park or even a vacation but good times must not be the focus of a person’s life because if it is, then sudden destruction will come upon them.  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.  (1 Thessalonians 5:3)  Many people believe they find peace and safety when they are enjoying good times with friends attempting to forget the realities of life but the sudden destruction of death and judgment will come and no one can escape from it like it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 and Ecclesiastes 8:8.  All the labor that a man has will yield only good times on earth as it will not yield any spiritual benefit.  Good times are tied to this world and that is the only benefit a man will experience from all his labor.  It is like many people who live for the weekends not realizing that what they do on weekends is made possible by others who have to work on weekends.


Ecclesiastes 8:16

When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:)


Then Solomon states that when he applied or assigned his heart to know wisdom which would be the wisdom of God and then to see the business, both good and bad, which is done upon the earth.  One of the necessities of maintaining a healthy body to labor is to get enough sleep.  However, the man in this verse does not get any sleep because they are in continual desire for the wealth of this world.  If they are not the ones pursuing it then they will hire people to gather the wealth for them.  Man’s incessant desire for wealth can cause him major illness to the point of them not enjoying the fruits of the labor. 


Ecclesiastes 8:17

Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea farther; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.


Then Solomon speaks about beholding the work of God which man on this earth is unable to find out.  No matter how much a man will work or labor to find out the hidden things of God, it will never happen.  Even a wise man who thinks they know how to figure out the wisdom of God in his creation will come up against a wall since the knowledge of man is limited to this earth.  Even the saved person cannot tell you what Heaven is like outside of what we know in the Scriptures.  Whether a person is saved or unsaved they will never be able to come to fully understand the working of God on this earth.  As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.  (Ecclesiastes 11:5)  God expects his children to live by faith and if we could find every single thing out about creation, then we would be living by sight and not faith.  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)  (2 Corinthians 5:7)  We cannot understand the Tri-unity of God yet we take it by faith.  We can’t see the wind but we can see the effects of it.  We can’t see gravity yet we know it is there.  There are many works of God we cannot see and we will never find them out no matter how much we labor for them.  Man has very limited knowledge even though they like to think they have tremendous knowledge.