1. As Ec 11:9, 10 showed what youths are to shun, so this
verse shows what they are to follow.
Creator—"Remember" that thou art not
thine own, but God's property; for He has created thee (Ps 100:3). Therefore serve Him with thy "all"
12:30), and with thy
best days, not with the dregs of them (Pr
8:17; 22:6; Jer 3:4; La 3:27). The Hebrew is "Creators,"
plural, implying the plurality of persons, as in Ge 1:26; so Hebrew, "Makers" (Isa 54:5).
while … not—that is, before
8:26) the evil days come;
namely, calamity and old age, when one can no longer serve God, as in
no pleasure—of a sensual kind (2Sa
19:35; Ps 90:10). Pleasure in
God continues to the godly old (Isa 46:4).
2. Illustrating "the evil days" (Jer 13:16). "Light," "sun," &c., express
prosperity; "darkness," pain and calamity (Isa 13:10;
clouds … after …
rain—After rain sunshine (comfort) might be looked for, but
only a brief glimpse of it is given, and the gloomy clouds (pains)
3. keepers of the house—namely, the
hands and arms which protected the body, as guards do a
palace (Ge 49:24; Job 4:19; 2Co 5:1), are now palsied.
strong men … bow—(Jud 16:25, 30). Like supporting pillars, the
feet and knees (So 5:15); the
strongest members (Ps 147:10).
grinders—the molar teeth.
those that look out of the windows—the
eyes; the powers of vision, looking out from beneath the eyelids, which
open and shut like the casement of a window.
4. doors—the lips, which are
closely shut together as doors, by old men in eating,
for, if they did not do so, the food would drop out (Job
41:14; Ps 141:3; Mic 7:5).
in the streets—that is, toward the
street, "the outer doors" [Maurer
sound of … grinding—The teeth
being almost gone, and the lips "shut" in eating, the sound of
mastication is scarcely heard.
the bird—the cock. In the East all
mostly rise with the dawn. But the old are glad to rise from their
sleepless couch, or painful slumbers still earlier, namely, when the
cock crows, before dawn (Job 7:4)
[Holden]. The least noise awakens them
daughters of music—the organs that
produce and that enjoy music; the voice and ear.
5. that which is high—The old are afraid
of ascending a hill.
fears … in the way—Even on the
level highway they are full of fears of falling, &c.
almond … flourish—In the East
the hair is mostly dark. The white head of the old among the
dark-haired is like an almond tree, with its white blossoms,
among the dark trees around [Holden].
The almond tree flowers on a leafless stock in winter
(answering to old age, in which all the powers are dormant),
while the other trees are flowerless. Gesenius takes the Hebrew for
flourishes from a different root, casts off; when the old
man loses his gray hairs, as the almond tree casts its
grasshoppers—the dry, shrivelled, old
man, his backbone sticking out, his knees projecting forwards, his arms
backwards, his head down, and the apophyses enlarged, is like that
insect. Hence arose the fable, that Tithonus in very old age was
changed into a grasshopper [Parkhurst].
"The locust raises itself to fly"; the old man about to leave
the body is like a locust when it is assuming its winged form, and is
about to fly [Maurer].
a burden—namely, to himself.
desire shall fail—satisfaction shall
be abolished. For "desire," Vulgate has "the caper tree,"
provocative of lust; not so well.
long home—(Job 16:22;
mourners—(Jer 9:17-20), hired for the occasion (Mt 9:23).
6. A double image to represent death,
as in Ec
12:1-5, old age: (1) A
lamp of frail material, but gilded over, often in the
East hung from roofs by a cord of silk and silver
interwoven; as the lamp is dashed down and broken, when the cord
breaks, so man at death; the golden bowl of the lamp answers to the
skull, which, from the vital preciousness of its contents, may be
called "golden"; "the silver cord" is the spinal marrow, which
is white and precious as silver, and is attached to the brain. (2) A
fountain, from which water is drawn by a pitcher let down by
a rope wound round a wheel; as, when the pitcher and wheel are
broken, water can no more be drawn, so life ceases when the vital
energies are gone. The "fountain" may mean the right ventricle
of the heart; the "cistern," the left; the pitcher, the veins; the
wheel, the aorta, or great artery [Smith]. The circulation of the blood, whether known
or not to Solomon, seems to be implied in the language put by
the Holy Ghost into his mouth. This gloomy picture of old age applies
to those who have not "remembered their Creator in youth." They have
none of the consolations of God, which they might have obtained in
youth; it is now too late to seek them. A good old age is a blessing to
the godly (Ge 15:15; Job 5:26; Pr 16:31; 20:29).
7. dust—the dust-formed body.
spirit—surviving the body; implying
its immortality (Ec 3:11).
8-12. A summary of the first part.
Vanity, &c.—Resumption of the
sentiment with which the book began (Ec 1:2; 1Jo 2:17).
9. gave good heed—literally, "he
weighed." The "teaching the people" seems to have been oral; the
"proverbs," in writing. There must then have been auditories
assembled to hear the inspired wisdom of the Preacher.
See the explanation of Koheleth in the Introduction, and chapter
that which is written, &c.—rather,
(he sought) "to write down uprightly (or, 'aright') words of
truth" [Holden and Weiss]. "Acceptable" means an agreeable style;
"uprightly … truth," correct sentiment.
11. goads—piercing deeply into the mind
(Ac 2:37; 9:5; Heb 4:12); evidently inspired words, as
the end of the verse proves.
fastened—rather, on account of the
Hebrew genders, (The words) "are fastened (in the memory) like
masters of assemblies—rather, "the
masters of collections (that is, collectors of inspired sayings, Pr 25:1), are given ('have published them
as proceeding' [Holden]) from one
Shepherd," namely, the Spirit of Jesus Christ [Weiss], (Eze 37:24).
However, the mention of "goads" favors the English Version,
"masters of assemblies," namely, under-shepherds, inspired by
the Chief Shepherd (1Pe 5:2-4).
Schmidt translates, "The masters of
assemblies are fastened (made sure) as nails," so Isa 22:23.
12. (See on Ec
many books—of mere human
composition, opposed to "by these"; these inspired writings are
the only sure source of "admonition."
(over much) study—in mere human books,
wearies the body, without solidly profiting the soul.
13. The grand inference of the whole book.
Fear God—The antidote to following
creature idols, and "vanities," whether self-righteousness (Ec 7:16,
18), or wicked oppression and
other evils (Ec 8:12, 13), or mad mirth (Ec 2:2; 7:2-5), or self-mortifying avarice
17), or youth spent without
this is the whole duty of
man—literally, "this is the whole man," the full ideal of
man, as originally contemplated, realized wholly by Jesus Christ alone;
and, through Him, by saints now in part, hereafter perfectly (1Jo
3:22-24; Re 22:14).
14. For God shall bring every work into
judgment—The future judgment is the test of what is "vanity,"
what solid, as regards the chief good, the grand subject of the