Friday, May 21, 2010

The Words of the Wise (Ecclesiastes10-12)

The final stretch of Ecclesiastes has the feel of the wheels slowing as the end approaches. Three times we're told about the words of the wise, and how they relate to the rule, to the king and to God. The viewpoint escalates with each cycle.

9:17-10:7 Rulers can be loud and angry but the wise will keep quiet and calm in the face of them. Wisdom has a stability that isn't easily fazed, though things in the world are topsy-turvy, rulers are wicked and the rich can be like slaves. Wisdom stays the course, holding to The Wisdom of God whatever the world is like.

10:8-11:6 Kings can be good and they can be bad. It's tempting to be deeply opinionated about them, but that's like digging a hole for yourself to fall into. Words travel and the wise know this. The wise know that words of fools multiply and consume them. The fool fails to realise that there are limits what he can know and so blabbers on endlessly like a blogger. Words multiplying like books. The wise gain favour. Wisdom is the way of grace.

11:7-12:14 Ultimately it matters where you stand with God. The skies will darken as life heads for judgement where God brings all things into the light, known and secret. And so, to fear God is the way of wisdom. The God who created us and from whom our very life comes. The world is full of vanity - for this is not a Genesis 1-2 world but a Genesis 3-4 world that groans for God to act, to set everything right. It's delusional to claim otherwise and pretend like everything is wonderful. In the mean time Ecclesiastes says: cling to wisdom, to the wisdom of God - the person in whom you can have life itself, and know that the page will turn and it'll soon be time for the Song of Songs to lift our hearts.


  1. I think The Song is the best antedote or just partner for Ecclesiastes... has more of a Geneis 1-2 flavour to it, and so cries out for the Passover (where it is read) and for the Great Passover to bring us into it's marriage.