Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ecclesiastes, Day 2 Readings

A Time for Everything and the Limits of Oppression, Money, and Youth  

Today's first reading is the explanation of Qoheleth's primary answer to the question, "What is the meaning of life?"  There is a right time and place for many worthwhile human activities, so there are a lot of ways that people can spend their time and energy in life.  However, a life well-lived is one in which different activities are done in the correct times.

The beginning of this passage was made famous in the song "Turn, Turn, Turn."  That song, which was meant to be an anti-war folk song, though, seemed to find hope that eventually a time of war would become a time of peace.  Rather, Biblical point seems to be deeper than war and peace -- doing the right things in the right moments is the way to a good and meaningful life.

Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-22  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

The second reading continues Qoheleth's exploration of other possible answers.  Is meaning and purpose to be found in having power over others?  No, even those with the most power die with no guarantee that their work will last.  Worse, these people are most likely to try to become the wealthiest, and all wealthy people seem to do is want to claim even more money.

Qoheleth briefly considers that youth might be better than old age -- after all, the younger are further from death.  However, they tend to be poorer.  Even if they can gain influence, they cannot stop growing older.  Others who are younger will then take their places.

Read Ecclesiastes 4:1-16  (NIV)   (NRSV)   (CEB)
[links to Bible Gateway open in a new window]

Reading the Bible in Its Entirety

If you are planning to read the Bible in its entirety, you should read Ecclesiastes 3-5 today.