Ecclesiastes 8
Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? a man's wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face shall be changed.
Ecclesiastes 8:8

Compare Ruskin's Time and Tide (Letter xxiv.) for an application of the words, There is no discharge in that war; also Kipling's The Five Nations, pp. 185 f.

References.—VIII. 8.—S. H. Tying, American Pulpit of Today, vol. i. p. 623. VIII. 10.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iv. No. 200.

Ecclesiastes 8:11. Cf. Ecclesiastes 7:7, etc.

Swift once asked Delany whether the 'corruptions and villanies of men in power did not eat his flesh and exhaust his spirits?' 'No,' said Delany. 'Why, how can you help it?' said Swift. 'Because,' replied Delany, 'I am commanded to the contrary—fret not thyself because of the ungodly.' That, like other wise maxims, is capable of an ambiguous application. As Delany took it, Swift might perhaps have replied that it was a very comfortable maxim—for the ungodly. His own application of Scripture is different. It tells us, he says, in his proposal for using Irish manufactures, that 'oppression makes a wise man mad'. If, therefore, some men are not mad, it must be because they are not wise. In truth, it is characteristic of Swift that he could never learn the great lesson of submission even to the inevitable. His rage, which could find no better outlet, burnt inwardly and drove him mad.

—Leslie Stephen's Swift, pp. 165, 166.

Compare Sterne's Sermons (No. XXXIII.).

References.—VIII. 11.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy ScriptureEcclesiastes, p. 367. VIII. 12.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iii. No. 1487. VIII. 16.—A. W. Momerie, Agnosticism, p. 252.

I counsel thee to keep the king's commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.
Be not hasty to go out of his sight: stand not in an evil thing; for he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him.
Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?
Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment.
Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him.
For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?
There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.
All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: there is a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt.
And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done: this is also vanity.
Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him:
But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.
There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity.
Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.
When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:)
Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.
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