- Joe Norton
On Losing All Hope (2/6/2022)
Second of a two-part study of Ecclesiastes 9:4-5 “For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten” (Ecclesiastes 9:5).
Continuing his philosophical statement about life “under the sun,” Solomon states the obvious in this passage. All hope is not lost as long as a person is alive—he or she knows there are opportunities remaining—at least, the opportunity of making changes before death.
The dead do not have that advantage. All hope for experiencing life—all hope for improvement—all hope for enjoying the benefits and rewards of living a good life every day—all hope for changing our eternal destination—all of these are gone.
In death, not only have the opportunities of life vanished, but even the memory of us fades quickly—we disappear as a vapor that appears for a time and then vanishes away, as the preacher says.
What is Solomon’s point? As he amplifies later in this chapter, he advises taking full advantage of the life God has given, finding joy, working diligently, exercising wisdom, and living righteously.