We might as well enjoy it

Ecclesiastes, the small book near the end of the Hebrew Bible, is the work of an sceptical middle-aged man who questions the meaning of worldly success and failure.

“In my own life I have seen that a good man perishes in spite of his goodness and a wicked man endures in spite of his wickedness, so do not exert yourself to be especially good, for you may be dumbfounded.”

The author, possibly King Solomon, recounts the paths he follows in an attempt to make some sense of life — selfishness and self-interest, renouncing all bodily pleasures, avoiding all feelings, and, finally, spiritual surrender to the notion that he may never find the definitive answer in this world.

In the end, his answer to life’s meaning is this: “Go, eat your bread and drink your wine in joy, for your action was long ago approved by God. Let your clothes be freshly washed and your head never lack ointment.

“Enjoy happiness with a woman you love all the fleeting days of your life that have been granted to you under the sun. Whatever it is in your power to do, do with all your might. For there is no doing, no learning, no wisdom in the grave.”

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7 thoughts on “We might as well enjoy it

  1. Surely shows well the state of this world where everything ‘under the sun’, observable, is meaningless. Only the recognition of what is not observable, a spiritual dimension, gives meaning.

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    • ….but that’s NOT what he says: it’s YOUR opinion.

      As Lazarus Long put it:-
      ” Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavour of life, take big bites.
      Moderation is for monks.”

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      • It is an old Rabbinical proverb that at the ‘judgement’ man will be held to account for not taking advantage of all the lawful joys and pleasures that fell to his lot.

        Rian;.

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      • Rian
        Have you not read the scripture which says:
        “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
        For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…”
        (Jesus Christ on the value of rabbinical opinions)

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      • Davinci old mate,
        I’d remind you that Rabbinical Judaism is based on both the written Torah and the oral tradition.
        Christianity is likewise based on the Biblical authority as interpreted by the Fathers and the Councils, and then developed by the different denominations, each going its own way too and reconsidered through something like oral tradition.. (otherwise why for heavens sake do we have just so darned many denominations today?
        You would be battling to recreate anything like our modern Christianity if all you had to go on was a copy of the Scriptures.
        Heck man, you sound just like a Christian version of the hide-bound Jewish Sadducee. A little Pharisaic gentleness with less hard core dogmatism would do you an awful lot of good.

        Rian.

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  2. Clever lad….
    “In the end, his answer to life’s meaning is this: “Go, eat your bread and drink your wine in joy, for your action was long ago approved by God. Let your clothes be freshly washed and your head never lack ointment.

    “Enjoy happiness with a woman you love all the fleeting days of your life that have been granted to you under the sun. Whatever it is in your power to do, do with all your might. For there is no doing, no learning, no wisdom in the grave.”

    ….he agrees with me! 🙂

    But I notice your embedded bias in:- “… ‘the’ definitive answer in this world.”
    It’s an assumption that the author of Ecclesiastes didn’t make; he was searching for ‘a’ answer, understanding there may not BE one.

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    • No Dabbles, Bryan and others.

      The end of the book of Ecclesiates ends up with the following advice:
      “Remember now thy creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come when you shall have no pleasure in them…”
      And this:
      “Let us hear the conclusion of this matter, fear God and keep his commandmentss for this is the whole duty of man.”
      In fact whoever wrote the book of Ecclesiates ended up in being so negative because he left God out of the equation.

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