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My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. Bible

“My son.” This is the first time we see that the Sage has included his son in the audience he is addressing.

“beware of anything beyond these.” People are to beware of words that are beyond the words of the wise. There are many “words” and “voices” in life, calling out for us to leave God’s straight and narrow path and be “independent,” to “do our own thing,” and to “obey our own heart,” but humankind was not designed to live without God and we cannot please God by defying or ignoring Him. Our hearts are not essentially godly, they are corrupt, which is why so many people live in defiance of God, or just plain ignore Him. Jeremiah says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt; (Jer. 17:9). It takes discipline to overcome the natural desires of the heart and obey God.

Paul spoke of leaders in the Church, that they must hold firmly to the faithful word that they had been taught (Titus 1:9). God’s people are not to be distracted by fables and things that give rise to speculation (1 Tim. 1:3-6; 2 Tim. 4:2-4).

“much study is a weariness of the flesh.” Although mental effort must be punctuated by breaks, and intense study can be tiring, in the context of Ecclesiastes, the “much study” mainly seems to refer to studying and trying to find out things that are beyond human comprehension and thus just leads to speculation. Ecclesiastes 3:10-11 speak of the business that God has given people to be busy with, and how although God has set eternity in people’s hearts, yet we cannot find out the work of God from beginning to end.


Commentary for: Ecclesiastes 12:12