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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



ECCLESIASTES 8

 

CHAPTER VIII.

 

Ver. 1.  Most.  Sept. "he whose face is impudent, shall be hated."  The truly wise and virtuous man is always polite and affable.  C. --- As we may form a probable conjecture of a person's disposition from his countenance, so we may judge of man's virtue by their actions.  They are right and meritorious when the intention is good, (W.) and the works themselves blameless.

 

Ver. 2.  I.  Prot. add, "counsel thee, to keep, &c.  "Obey the king and God."  H.  1 Pet. ii. 17. --- Solomon proposes his own example, or speaks in the name of the just. --- God.  The law of Moses, confirmed with an oath, or the engagement to be faithful to the king.  2 K. v. 3. 1 Par. xxix. 24.

 

Ver. 3.  Face.  This courtiers observe, while many Christians neglect God. --- Work.  Defend not what has been said or done amiss.

 

Ver. 4.  So?  The eastern kings rule with absolute sway.  Prov. xvi. 14.

 

Ver. 5.  Answer.  Heb. "judgment."  He knows when to reprove even kings with effect; like Nathan, Elias, or S. Ambrose.  2 K. xii. 1. and 3 K. xviii. 17.

 

Ver. 6.  Man.  Solomon often reminds him of his misery.  Sept. and Theod. "man is possessed of much knowledge," as they read dahth for rahth.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Past.  Prot. and Sept. "that shall be."  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Spirit from leaving the body, or the wind from blowing.  There is no quarter given by death; so the wicked cannot escape vengeance.

 

Ver. 9.  Hurt.  Those who are despised in elevated situations, might have been happy in obscurity.

 

Ver. 10.  Works.  In life and death hypocrites are mixed with the unjust; and this excites indignation.

 

Ver. 11.  Fear.  Thus they abuse the patience of God, and grow worse, because he is good.  His time will come.  Apoc. xvi. 15  Eccli. v. 4.  2 Pet. iii. 10.

 

Ver. 12.  Face.  If God shew such clemency to the wicked, will he disregard his servants?  Greek interpreters have read in a different meaning.  C. --- Sept. "the sinner has done evil from that time, and for a long while," (T.) &c.  See S. Jer.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Let.  Or, Heb. "it shall not," &c.  Prot.  H. --- Faith evinces that the wicked will be punished. --- But.  Heb. "like a shadow."  Sept. "under the shade," in prosperity.

 

Ver. 14.  Vain, or afflicting.  Hence some have denied Providence.  Jer. xii. 1.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  No good for a man, &c.  Some commentators think the wise man here speaks in the person of the libertine, representing the objections of these men against divine Providence, and the inferences they draw from thence, which he takes care afterwards to refute.  But it may also be said, that his meaning is to commend the moderate use of the goods of this world, preferably to the cares and solicitudes of worldlings, their attachment to vanity and curiosity, and presumptuously diving into the unsearchable ways of divine providence.  Ch.  C. ii. 24. and iii. 12.  Eccli. xv.  C. --- Felicity is not attached to temporal prosperity, nor are the afflicted always miserable.  W.

 

Ver. 16.  Distraction of politicians, (Grot.) and of all human affairs.

 

Ver. 17.  Reason.  We know in general that God does all for his own glory, and for the welfare of his elect.  But we cannot account for his treatment of mankind in particular cases.  Rom. xi. 33.  S. Jer.   C. --- Say.  Sept. "speak what thing soever, that he may know he," &c.  H.

 

 








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