1. Ec 11:2 shows
that charity is here inculcated.
bread—bread corn. As in the Lord's
prayer, all things needful for the body and soul. Solomon
reverts to the sentiment (Ec 9:10).
waters—image from the custom of sowing
seed by casting it from boats into the overflowing waters of the Nile,
or in any marshy ground. When the waters receded, the grain in the
alluvial soil sprang up (Isa 32:20).
"Waters" express multitudes, so Ec 11:2; Re 17:15; also the seemingly hopeless
character of the recipients of the charity; but it shall prove at last
to have been not thrown away (Isa 49:4).
2. portion—of thy bread.
seven—the perfect number.
eight—even to more than seven;
that is, "to many" (so "waters," Ec 11:1), nay, even to very many in need
(Job 5:19; Mic 5:5).
evil—The day may be near, when you
will need the help of those whom you have bound to you by kindnesses
16:9). The very argument
which covetous men use against liberality (namely, that bad times may
come), the wise man uses for it.
3. clouds—answering to "evil" (Ec 11:2), meaning, When the times of evil
are fully ripe, evil must come; and speculations about it
beforehand, so as to prevent one sowing seed of liberality, are vain
tree—Once the storm uproots it, it
lies either northward or southward, according as it fell. So man's
character is unchangeable, whether for hell or heaven, once that death
overtakes him (Re 22:11, 14, 15). Now is his time for liberality,
before the evil days come (Ec 12:1).
4. Therefore sow thy charity in faith, without
hesitancy or speculation as to results, because they may not seem
promising (Ec 9:10). So
11:1, man is told to "cast
his bread corn" on the seemingly unpromising "waters" (Ps 126:5, 6). The farmer would get on badly,
who, instead of sowing and reaping, spent his time in watching the wind
5. spirit—How the soul animates
the body! Thus the transition to the formation of the body "in
the womb" is more natural, than if with Maurer we translate it "wind" (Ec 1:6; Joh
bones … grow—(Job
10:8, 9; Ps 139:15, 16).
knowest not the works of God—(Ec 3:11;
6. morning … evening—early and
late; when young and when old; in sunshine and under clouds.
seed—of godly works (Ho
10:12; 2Co 9:10; Ga 6:7).
prosper—(Isa 55:10, 11).
both … alike—Both the
unpromising and the promising sowing may bear good fruit in
others; certainly they shall to the faithful sower.
7. light—of life (Ec 7:11; Ps
49:19). Life is enjoyable,
especially to the godly.
8. But while man thankfully enjoys life, "let
him remember" it will not last for ever. The "many days of darkness,"
that is, the unseen world (Job 10:21, 22; Ps 88:12), also days of "evil" in this world
11:2), are coming; therefore
sow the good seed while life and good days last, which are not too long
for accomplishing life's duties.
All that cometh—that is, All that
followeth in the evil and dark days is vain, as far as
work for God is concerned (Ec 9:10).
9. Rejoice—not advice, but
warning. So 1Ki 22:15,
is irony; if thou dost rejoice (carnally, Ec 2:2; 7:2, not moderately, as in
Ec 5:18), &c., then "know that …
God will bring thee into judgment" (Ec 3:17; 12:14).
youth … youth—distinct
Hebrew words, adolescence or boyhood (before Ec 11:10), and full-grown youth. It marks
the gradual progress in self-indulgence, to which the young especially
are prone; they see the roses, but do not discover the thorns, until
pierced by them. Religion will cost self-denial, but the want of it
infinitely more (Lu 14:28).
10. sorrow—that is, the lusts
that end in "sorrow," opposed to "rejoice," and "heart cheer thee"
"anger," that is, all "ways of thine heart"; "remove," &c., is thus
opposed to "walk in," &c. (Ec 11:9).
flesh—the bodily organ by which the
sensual thoughts of the "heart" are embodied in acts.
childhood—rather, "boyhood"; the same
Hebrew word as the first, "youth" in Ec 11:9. A motive for self-restraint; the time
is coming when the vigor of youth on which thou reliest, will seem
vain, except in so far as it has been given to God (Ec 12:1).
youth—literally, the dawn of