Ecclesiastes 4 Commentary

Ecclesiastes 4 Commentary

The oppressed have no comforter, so lamented the teacher. Of course, this scripture does contradict the fact that the LORD God is a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows. But this statement of fact is meant to shine a light on humanity’s hopeless situation in the hope that humanity begins to see the need for salvation.

Humanity is in greatest danger when they think there is hope; when they think they still have options. Ecclesiastes is written to discount all hope and show it as it exactly is. The oppressor has power and zero love.

All achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. Verse 4. Isn’t the scripture calling the saint to examine her ambitions? How terrible to discover that envy and greediness have motivated your efforts! Meaningless! A chase after wind!

But it’s foolishness not to work at all. The scripture commands less with the peace of the LORD than more with wickedness.

Relentless ambition, all work with zero care for anything else, and fatty income; this too is meaningless. What for? Who hasn’t been at this point? The teacher called it a punishment from the LORD. Comparable with a mule chasing a carrot it can never get!

This chapter showcases the author’s style: quick switching from poetry to straight teaching. Two are better than one. It is a no-brainer! A careful reader will however see more. The author has brilliantly driven us to this section with one point in mind.  

The first section lamented the fate of the oppressed. They don’t have a comforter. And then there was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. The talk of men’s achievement being motivated by envy may yet point to the same thing: a lack of the standard on the other side – a companion, a hero to look up to. A standard measure of character.

This chapter has exposed man’s need for a companion. Genesis would call it the image – the standard by which both the person and the character should be judged. The man Jesus Christ fits the bill. An individual must wake up every morning thinking and this hero.

The last section may yet again expose the folly of human wisdom. Yes, it makes sense in time but ultimately, it zeroes down to nothingness. What is wise today may not be wise tomorrow. The old king is kicked out for lacking wisdom. The new and young king takes his place. But he is viewed as an old king by the new generation and suffers the fate of the ‘old’ king. The loop continues.

A great product that makes you ‘walk the moon’ today will earn you a nickname tomorrow. Meaningless. Yes. A chase after wind. If we can see it for what it is, then this book will have achieved its purpose.

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Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

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