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The Sage sought to find delightful words and what was written uprightly, words of truth. Bible

“delightful words.” “Delightful words” are not necessarily words that made one feel good, but words that bring a person closer to God. The words of the wise are goads (Ecc. 12:11), and so they can hurt, but they are delightful in the end (cp. Heb. 12:11).

There are scholars who say that some of the Sage’s words in Ecclesiastes are not “delightful,” but in saying that they use “delightful” in a modern sense that means it makes people feel good and gives them a “warm fuzzy feeling.” But there is no justification for using “delightful” in a way that agrees with the majority opinion and “modern sensibilities.” God, and God’s prophets and sages, use vocabulary in a way that fits with God’s purpose and actions, which is not the purpose and actions of most of the people on planet earth today.

God uses vocabulary according to His standards, not the standards of the world. For example, God says, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; (Isa. 5:20). That verse, written over 2,700 years ago, certainly applies today, and the people who are calling “good” evil, and “evil” good, call God and His rules “evil,” and also “dictatorial,” “narrow-minded,” “outdated,” and much more. Tom Jacobs, writing for Pacific Standard news, correctly stated, “…we quite literally create God in our own image, and envision him in ways that imply he is meeting our emotional needs. That means the God of liberals has a different look than his conservative counterpart” (“Conservatives and Liberals Have Differing Mental Images of God,” psmag.com.; Tom Jacobs, June 13, 2018).

But the problem with creating God in our own image is that we did not create God, He created us. Furthermore, on Judgment Day, we will not be the judge, God will be. Also, as much as some people may deny it, the Bible is crystal clear that on Judgment Day those people who have been “evil” by God’s standards will be thrown into the Lake of fire while those people who have been “good” according to God’s standards and have gotten saved will be escorted into a wonderful everlasting life.

We do not “naturally” think and act in a godly manner because the natural heart is selfish and corrupt (Jer. 17:9). However, the wise person realizes that thinking and living in a way that pleases God leads to a wonderful life and so makes a diligent effort to conform their thoughts and actions to God’s ways.

[For more on how to be saved and live forever, see Rom. 10:9. For more on the destiny of the wicked, see Appendix 5, “Annihilation in the Lake of Fire”].

“what was written uprightly.” The Sage not only wrote proverbs, but he also sought and studied the words of others, as per Ecclesiastes 12:11. There is no need to see “what was written” as an active, “what he wrote,” as many scholars do. The most natural reading of the Hebrew text and the reading of the Septuagint are passive (cp. ASV; DBY; GNV; JPS; KJV; YLT).


Commentary for: Ecclesiastes 12:10