“What Is Good For Man?” An Exposition Of Ecclesiastes 7:1-14 -- By: Jay K. Hollinshead

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 170:677 (Jan 2013)
Article: “What Is Good For Man?” An Exposition Of Ecclesiastes 7:1-14
Author: Jay K. Hollinshead

“What Is Good For Man?” An Exposition Of Ecclesiastes 7:1-14

Jay K. Hollinshead

Jay K. Hollinshead is Senior Pastor, Community Fellowship Church, Washington, DC.

Qohelet’s deep musings about life’s inequities and enigmas take a decidedly different turn in chapter 7 with a change to terse proverbial “good” (טוֹב) and “better than” (טוֹב מִן) sayings. Qohelet’s new direction begins with the transition of 6:10-12, as Longman observes: “This short section marks the middle of the book according to Masoretic marginal notation. It also marks a transition in Qohelet’s focus . . . here he leaves his explicit search for meaning and in the second half of the book focuses on advice and commentary about the future.”1 Kruger concurs: “The section 6:10-12 can be read as an introduction to the critical discussion of various bits of advice for the conduct of life in 7:1-14 (but beyond that also through 10:20),” even though he sees this in a negative light.2 Schrader’s chiastic outline makes this transition clear by noting that the second discourse of Qohelet begins with 6:10.

A. Introductory Title (1:1)

B. Opening Poem (1:2-11)

C. First Discourse (1:12-6:9)

C.´ Second Discourse (6:10-11:6)

B.´ Concluding Poem (11:7-12:8)

A.´ Conclusion (12:9-14)3

So 6:10-12 sets the tone for much of the second half of Ecclesiastes. The expressions denoting “inscrutability” and/or “ignorance” are characteristic of this second half of the book as seen in the phrases “does not know” or “cannot know” (6:12; 9:1,12; 10:14;

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