Ecclesiastes Proverbs And Psalms Bible Analysis Essay
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Bible Analysis: Ecclesiastes, Proverbs and Psalms
Ecclesiastes, Proverbs and Psalms: Bible Analysis
The books of Psalms, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes provide crucial insights to Christians about daily living and the struggle to find meaning and satisfaction. This text provides an analysis of the ten discourses of Ecclesiastes, as well as an exogenesis of various other pieces including Psalms 27, Psalm 119, and Proverbs 3: 1-12.
Analysis of Ecclesiastes
Summary of the Ten Discourses of Ecclesiastes
The book of Ecclesiastes is divided into ten distinct divisions focusing on the themes of joy and sorrow, vanity and gain, and life and death. These divisions can be summarized as follows (Leopold, 1974):
Chapters 1 and 2: Wealth, Work, Pleasure, and spiritual satisfaction
Despite having so much wealth, Solomon still felt dissatisfied and unfulfilled. He began a mission to determine what exactly would bring fulfillment and satisfaction in life. In chapter 1, he tries to experiment with pleasure to see how much satisfaction it would bring -- he surrounds himself with beautiful women, singers and jesters; and buys more herds, flocks and slaves. This, however, still does not grant him satisfaction; in verse 14, he refers to it as 'chasing after the wind' meaning that in as much as one can feel pleasure, they can neither grasp nor keep hold of it. Solomon then concluded that our accomplishments and material wealth can never bring true happiness because they become meaningless after death; true happiness can only be found in God.
Chapter 3: The Concept of God's Timing
Solomon believed that everything had its own appropriate time; God has his purpose in our lives well-planned out and at his own time, He will make everything beautiful. It is not prudent, therefore, to question God or dictate how we want Him to act in our lives; on the contrary, we need to seek God's guidance to know exactly what His will and purpose in our lives is.
Chapter 4: Human Labor is often without real purpose
Solomon cautions that going to the extremes of being a workaholic or lazy is irresponsible and foolish. He advises that human beings should learn to work with moderation so that they find time to enjoy other gifts given to them by God. Solomon reckons that most people work and tire themselves out completely to gain recognition from man; yet they do not realize the it is God that gives them all these assignments, rewards, the gift of life, and the energy to work. As such, humans should shift their efforts towards gaining God's approval and recognition, and not that of their fellow men.
Chapter 5: Respect for God and Love for Money
Christians are advised to respect God -- be ready to listen, slow to dictate, and cautious to only make vows that they can keep. Moreover, Solomon advises Christians not to be lovers of money or people who dedicate their entire lives to grow their wealth and riches. Loving money is a premonition for sin; thus, Christians should avoid being money-driven or depending on material wealth for happiness as true happiness only comes from God.
Chapter 6: Material Accomplishments are not a source of spiritual welfare
Solomon maintains that a person could live a prosperous life, full of coveted accomplishments; however, as long as their spiritual welfare is not intact, then all that he has amassed is meaningless. He cautions Christians against going out of their way to maintain good physical health and prolong their lives, arguing that humans have no control over their destiny, and all their material wealth will be left behind when they die. Christians, therefore, need to focus more on nourishing their spiritual lives because their spiritual destiny is the only one that they can take charge of.
Chapter 7, 8, and 9: The Concept of True Wisdom
Solomon maintains that life is short and humans should enjoy it to the best of their ability; however, they should also understand that death and judgment are inevitable. They should plan to obtain God's mercy and not His judgment; and obtaining mercy begins with seeking true
Ch 10: Earthly Possessions and God's Work
Solomon points out that although wisdom is important, it, on its own, cannot bring about justice. Material wealth and possessions are nothing without God; however, when we allow God to take charge of our possessions, they can become all that we could ever need. Towards this end, Christians should use their possessions and wealth for God's work in order for them to gain fulfillment.
Ch 11: The Uncertainty of Life
Christians are reminded that life is uncertain, and that they should, therefore, make full use of it while they can. However, they must do so in a righteous manner, remembering that judgment and punishment are inevitable.
Ch 12: Maintaining the Right Relationship with God
Solomon reminds Christians that the only way to prepare for God's judgment is by maintaining the right relationship with Him. That is what all Christians need to do as they enjoy the gift of life given to them by God.
ii) The Struggle to Find Meaning and Satisfaction
The book of Ecclesiastes provides crucial insight on what exactly Christians need to do to find meaning and satisfaction in life. In Ecclesiastes 6, Solomon advises that in order to find fulfillment and satisfaction in life, Christians need to (Lee, 1958):
i) Putting God in the middle of the blessings He has given (verses 1-6)
God has given us numerous blessings in the form of material wealth and achievements, children and the gift of life. Solomon acknowledges in verse 2 that these gifts are wonderful; however, unless we put God in the midst of them, we can never derive satisfaction or fulfillment from them. A perfect example is that of tycoon Howard Hughes - he amassed so much wealth during his lifetime, owning some of the most renowned hotels, only to waste away, helpless and hooked on drugs at the age of 67. Despite having so much wealth, life had no meaning for him. This is exactly what happens when one decides to enjoy their God-given blessings without putting God in the equation. Towards this end, it is prudent that Christians enjoy God-given blessings as much as they can; however, they need to keep respecting and praying to God to grant them wisdom to enjoy the same in the manner that pleases Him.
ii) Strive for spiritual as opposed to physical nourishment (verses 7-12).
Solomon uses the example of hunger to drive his point home -- no matter how much you eat today, you will still fall hungry and need to eat more tomorrow. This is a perfect indication that physical things cannot grant us satisfaction or fulfillment in life. What we need to strive to achieve, therefore, is spiritual nourishment by submitting to God and allowing Him to drive His own purpose in our lives.
By observing these things, Christians will be better-placed to find meaning, satisfaction and fulfillment in their lives (Lee, 1958).
Part 2: Analysis of Selected Psalms and Proverbs
Historical Context: This is the longest chapter in the entire Bible, consisting of a total of 176 verses. The authorship is unknown and there is no heading indicating the circumstances or context within which the psalm was written. Most scholars, however, believe that the same could have been written by Daniel, Ezra or David. It is believed that the book may have been authored by any of these three individuals at a time when they had encountered serious difficulties, but had just managed to get through it with a deep understanding of God's compassionate nature (Reynolds, 2010). The difficulties encountered by the author are well-captured throughout the script in the descriptions of the afflictions (119:67, 71, 143), persecutions (119: 86, 95, 110, 161), and taunts (119: 42, 51, 150) committed against him by his fellow men. Towards this end, the psalm provides crucial insight, from which Christians can draw hope and strength when faced with troubles and afflictions (Reynolds, 2010).
Poetical Structure: Psalm 119 is arranged as an alphabetic acrostic, falling in the genre of Torah poems along with Psalm 19. The psalm is referred to as an acrostic poem because the first letters in each set of eight lines follow alphabetically. In other words, the first eight lines all begin with the letter 'Aleph', the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet; the subsequent 8 lines begin with the letter 'Beth', and so on. The message inherent in this structure is that as Christians, we are expected to lead a life of order, just as our Lord is a God of order, and not one of chaos.
Themes: there are a number of critical themes inherent in Psalm 119. The first is that of the affliction and persecution of the man or woman of God (Jones, 1961). The Psalm demonstrates that the righteous man…
Sources Used in Documents:
Jones, E. (1961). Proverbs and Ecclesiastes: Introduction and Commentary. New York, NY: MacMillan.
Kidner, D. (1995). The Proverbs: An Introduction and Commentary. London: Inter-Varsity Press.
Lee, G. A. (1958). Preaching from Ecclesiastes. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.
Leopold, H. C. (1974). Exposition of Ecclesiastes. Grand Rapids, NY: Baker Book House.
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