The vine was of great importance in the religion of Israel. It was used as a symbol of the religious life of Israel itself, and a carving of a bunch of grapes often adorned the front exterior of the synagogue. The symbolism was based upon passages such as Psalm 80 and Isaiah 5:1-5 where Israel is God’s vine.
Solomon investigated hard work as a possible way of supplying meaning to life. He realized, however, that if he worked, at the end of his life he would have to leave all the fruit of his labors to people who had not worked. He concluded that this would be foolish and extremely unfair.
Times of misfortune are also likened to the unexpected and inescapable nature of a trap: “Makeover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them” (Eccles 9:12). These harsh times could be the product of their own making, as in the case of the exile of God’s people from the Promised Land that entrapped them (Isa 42:22; Lam 4:20; Ezek 19:8).
If we tear our clothing, it is generally by accident unless we are tearing up an old garment for rags. This was not true in the culture of Bible times where the tearing of one’s garment was an external sign of one’s internal pain. The average person of the era did not have multiple changes of clothing like we do in our closets and dressers; consequently, they took great care to prevent accident tearing of their clothing (Exod 28:32; Matt 9:16; Mark 2:21). But there was “a time to tear and a time to mend” (Eccles 3:7); the time to intentionally tear was a time of intense grief that might have included repentance.
Solomon’s list of times and “seasons” must be viewed within the larger context of life an history. He is not necessarily saying, “Hey, it’s twelve o’clock, time to kill-so go out and bump someone off.” Rather, Solomon insists that human life takes place within a larger framework of events that repeat down through history: laughter, tears, killing, healing, destruction, building, death, birth.
The vine was of great importance in the religion of Israel. It was used as a symbol of the religious life of Israel itself, and a carving of a bunch of grapes often adorned the front exterior of the synagogue. The symbolism was based upon passages such as Psalm 80 and Isaiah 5:1-5 where Israel is God’s vine. The importance of the vine is why the Pharisees took the point so angrily when Jesus told the story of the wicked tenants in the vineyard (Matthew 21:33-41, 45-46). As the fulfilment of all that Israel should be to God, Jesus was the true vine (John 15:5-7).
The Bible provides examples of both effective and ineffective financial planning in the face of economic adversity. Examples of good financial planning include Joseph’s preparation for famine in Egypt (Gen 41:34-36), the servants who wisely invested their master’s money (Luke 19:13-19), and the Corinthian believers who laid aside money to help others (1 Cor 16:1-2; cp 2 Cor 9:1-5). Proverbs 27:23-27 counsels a shepherd to know well the condition of his flocks so that they will provide for him in the future, Diversification of investments is advised in Eccles 11:2. Continue reading DEFINITION OF THE DAY (FINANCIAL PLANNING)→