Ecclesiastes 4: Don’t Go Through Life Alone
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Ecclesiastes 4: Don’t Go Through Life Alone

Original Publication Date
September 22, 2017
Updated
Sep 3, 2023 12:09 AM
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EcclesiastesChapter StudyRelationships
Bible References
Ecclesiastes 4
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Done
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Table of Contents
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This page was originally posted on my Blogger version of the blog on September 22, 2017 The content below has a few minor tweaks for clarity, and additional references, and some updated information.

Introduction

In Ecclesiastes 4, Solomon reminds us of how much better life is with two (or more) people, rather than one. Friendship is the one trait, Solomon never writes off as vanity, which means it must be worth a lot! Before jumping into friendship, Solomon discusses power and watching the evils of the world.

Oppressors vs. the Oppressed

In a game of would you rather, most people would probably choose to be the oppressor over the oppressed. However, the author reminds us that both positions suck. It's self explanatory why being oppressed isn't the good side of the fence. Given the the two options, oppressor definitely seems like it would be better, because you have power. Except, you give up your humanity and your soul when you mistreat people. The author says neither group has a comforter, which is interesting when you think about it.

Comforter is another name for the Holy Ghost.[1][2] God is the comforter for the oppressed, but when you're in a state of oppression, you probably won't feel comforted, even though He's there. Think about Job; think about the Israelites. Even though God was always in control, these people still experienced pain, sorrow, and despair. God being our Comforter merely means that He heals us and gives us peace. Since the Holy Spirit also gives us wisdom, and other gifts, He helps us to deal with the issues we are facing. On the other hand, the oppressors are in opposition to God cutting them off from His comfort. There many passages in which God condemns those who oppress His people.

Best State of Life

Ecclesiastes 4 acknowledges 3 states our lives fall into, pre-birth, life, and death. Of these, pre-birth is ranked as the point we are best off, with death coming in second, and life trailing in last place. The rationale is that before we are born, we haven't seen any evil—essentially we're like Adam and Eve were in the garden. Once we die, we cease seeing evil, but as we live, we are constantly bombarded with the sorrows of the world.

Alone?

If a man is single, with no children, and no family, why does he work hard to accumulate wealth? This seems to be the main question posed in this chapter. The author asks what good is such wealth considering the fact that we can't take anything with us when we die? The heart of this question is, who will reap the fruit of our labor and who will enjoy the fruit with us. A life alone isn't worth much...

The author continues this thought reminding us that two is better than one. He doesn't specify a husband and wife, though that was what first came to my mind. Of course, this could refer to friendship or family, as well. When one person falls, the other can lift him/her up. Companionship is important; people give each other purpose. Friendship is the only thing the author of Ecclesiastes never calls vanity—something we should remember.

References and Footnotes

  1. John 14:16
  2. John 14:26

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