I'm trying to understand two passages in Ecclesiastes. Maybe I'm reading them with the wrong emphasis or there's some meaning to them that I'm just not seeing.
The first is:
I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on mankind: God gives some people wealth, possessions and honor, so that they lack nothing their hearts desire, but God does not grant them the ability to enjoy them, and strangers enjoy them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil.
It sounds like he's saying it's evil that God gives people things to enjoy but does not give them the ability to enjoy them. However God is not evil. So is this what he's saying and if so why? And why would God inspire someone to say that what He does is evil? Especially since that's the same as the Pharisees saying Jesus's miracles were of the devil and that was called the one sin God would not forgive.
The other is:
This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead. Anyone who is among the living has hope —even a live dog is better off than a dead lion! For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten. Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun.
Now he may be referring to evil people but he says it applies to everyone on earth (under the sun). Yet we know that the righteous do not die and that they do have a further reward.
I know this is OT and the NT gave us eternal life in Christ. Yet since all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for training in righteousness, a) why would God inspire having evil equated with what He does? and b) how would being told 'everyone dies and that's it' be useful?
I understand that it's useful in saying to make the most of the life we have on earth and enjoy life, but it's the statement that everyone dies and that's it that's got me stumped here.
I know I can sometimes come up with the craziest questions LOL, but even something minor intrigues me when I can't seem to make sense of it.
I'm just stopping in real quick...
So far I've just looked at the first verse you posted:
"I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on mankind: God gives some people wealth, possessions and honor, so that they lack nothing their hearts desire, but God does not grant them the ability to enjoy them, and strangers enjoy them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil."
I think we may find a clue to what Solomon may be talking about in chapter 5:
18 "This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. 19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. 20 They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart."
If they don't have gladness of heart from God, then they can't even enjoy wealth, possessions and honor--It's like an endless searching for something more and they are never satisfied. For those who have gladness of heart from God, they are occupied with that gladness of heart, so they don't need wealth, possessions and honor to satisfy them...they are already satisfied. I don't think it's saying that God would withhold the ability to enjoy their earthly things, it's that they won't' enjoy them if they are missing gladness of heart from God. ...The lack of enjoyment is more of a consequence than a punishment.
I like Carla's answer.
I will add this, restating her good words,
"Anyone who is among the living has hope... " clearly there are two kinds of persons and thus two different potential experiences while we live . Both will die in the body but one will live on and the other will not.
Translations through languages : It is amazing that most things are agreed upon . Some phrases just don't translate to English very well without alteration and that must be a difficult job with some of the original wording ,for it grapples with meaning.
I know what you mean , some things like this are grammatically odd . Thank goodness our Holy word wasn't started in Chinese. We would have to read while hanging upside down...
I have em fooled, I keep my brain at the other end.
One would assume so , however I am equipped with the Gyroscopic special edition , capable of handling space travel and other such conditions.
I also want to say that which you written here.
Questions cause us to dig further into what God wants us to know. I enjoyed your questions and I used my study guide in Biblegateway.com to locate a helpful commentary which cleared up my own question. Fellowship is so valuable.
your brother in Christ,