Youth, Aging, and Wise Words, Ecc 12:1-14

Youth, Aging and Death

Youth, Ecc 12:1

Remembering your Creator in the days of your youth is essential. Yet, every attempt has been made in our society to talk youth out of believing that God is the creator.  The condition of our society is evidence that youth do not retain God in their knowledge.  See Rom 1:20-32.  They are not remembering their Creator.

If you live a full life, evil days are coming and days in which you have no pleasure.  See Ps 90:10, and Job 14:22.  There is certainly no pleasure in Alzheimers, Dementia, Cardiovascular disease, Cancer, Parkinson’s, and the like.

Aging, Ecc 12:2-5

What follows is a metaphor describing our physical condition while aging.

  • Light is darkened, v.2.  Job 15:23 and Ecc 11:8.
  • Clouds return after rain, v.2.  Days are gloomy and depressing.
  • Keepers of the house tremble, v.3.  Your arms and legs become feeble and unsteady; they often shake.
  • Strong men bow, v.3.  Older people often stoop.
  • Grinders cease and are few, v.3.  Fewer teeth in old age.
  • Those that look out of the windows be darkened, v.3.  Eyesight starts failing, Gen 27:1.
  • Doors shut, grinding low, v.4.  Fall asleep early.
  • Rise at the voice of the bird, v.4.  Can’t sleep late, rise when the roosters crow before dawn.
  • Daughters of music brought low, v.4.  Hearing gone.  See Barzillai in 2 Sam 19:35.
  • Afraid of that which is high, v.5.  Avoiding ladders and step stools.  Very careful on stairs.
  • Fears in the way, v.5.  Old age paranoia about many things like finances, health, family, safety, mental capacity, etc.
  • Almond tree flourish, v.5.  Almond tree flowers are beautifully white with pink.  They picture the gray head of old age.
  • Grasshopper a burden, v.5.  Worry about small things.  Things you used to just deal with are now a chore.
  • Desire shall fail, v.5.  Job 17:11.  Hard to get excited or motivated about anything.
  • His long home, v.5.  Most people will spend much more time in the grave after death than on earth in life, Job 17:13.
  • Mourners in the streets, v.5.  See Jer 9:17-18.  Wailing the death of their loved one.

Death, Ecc 12:6-7

Death is metaphorically described by four similitudes.  When people die, there are several things you can see that indicate they are dying or are dead.  They are pictured as:

  • A loosed silver cord – When dying, people “lose” consciousness.  Doctors can tell a person is dead when there is no brain activity.
  • A broken golden bowl – When dead, people have no pulse.  Their heart stops beating.  Nurses will check for a pulse to determine that a person is dead.
  • A broken pitcher at the fountain – If the pitcher is broken at the fountain, you can’t fill it to get a drink.  When dying, people quit drinking and eating.  This is what happens during “comfort care”.
  • A broken wheel at the cistern – The wheel of a cistern contains buckets which are filled with water and emptied into a trough as the wheel turns. This can picture the heart or the lungs.  When dying, people quit breathing (filling their lungs with air when they inhale and emptying them when they exhale).

Of course, after death, our spirit returns to God who gave it, Ecc 3:21, and our bodies return to the dust from which we were made, Gen 3:19.

Vanity and Wise Words

All is Vanity, Ecc 12:8

Solomon ends his book where he began.  He comes full circle.  He repeats what he said at the beginning, Ecc 1:2, that all is vanity.

Wise Words, Ecc 12:9-14

But then Solomon records that there are somethings down here that are not vanity.  He calls these “the words of the wise”, Ecc 12:11.

With these wise words, he taught the people knowledge, Ecc 12:9.

  • He gave good heed to these words.  He listened carefully.
  • He sought out these words.  He “dug” them out.
  • Then, he set in order many proverbs.  So he could present them.

He found out acceptable words Ecc 12:10.  Prov 10:32 “the lips of the righteous know what is acceptable”.  He spoke words that God would accept and people would receive.  Obviously, he did this because they are now recorded as God’s words in God’s Holy Bible.  These words are upright; they are the words of truth.  Ps 119:160; Jn 17:17.

These wise words are likened to two things:

  • Goads.  A goad is a pointed rod used to prod animals.  Cattle prods are similar, yet produce a shock rather than a prick.  The idea is that these words are to be preached, not just taught.  They are to stir you to act upon that which you have heard.
  • Nails. Nails are sharp, pointed fasteners, designed with a head so that they can be pounded in.  We often say of preachers that we need to “drive the truth home”.  The preaching of the words should make permanent changes in you, just like nails are designed to fasten things together so they hold permanently.

The masters of assemblies are preachers preaching these words before people assembled together in congregations.  And the one shepherd is none other than the Lord, himself, Jn 10.  These words are his words.

By these words, people are to be admonished, Ecc 12:12.  To admonish is to express warning or disapproval in a gentle, earnest manner.  The one book you need is the KJV.  Yet, there are innumerable other books that have been written.  And more are yet to come since “there is no end”.

With these wise words and all these books, it’s astonishing that more people don’t know the words of truth.  The reason is simple according to Solomon.  “Much study is a weariness of the flesh”.  We are told to study in 2 Tim 2:15, but even most believers don’t obey this command.  They get worn out before they learn to rightly divide.

In Ecc 12:13-14, Solomon brings this matter to a conclusion.  He says, simply, “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man”.  This is every man’s duty and every man is accountable to God for what he does with his duty, v.14.  We taught much on God’s judgment in the prior lesson.  These duties bracket the requirements God gave to Israel in Deut 10:12-13.

To study the prior lesson, see Lessons from Nature, Sunlight, and Youth.