Old Testament Commentary - Ecclesiastes 3

by Don R. Hender

Scriptural Text [& Editorial]
Commentary & Explanation
Footnotes ~ References ~ JST
                 CHAPTER 3                  

To everything there is a season—Whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever—God shall judge the righteous and the wicked.

  1 TO every thing there is a aseason, and a btime to every purpose under the heaven:
  2 A atime to be born, and a time to bdie; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
  3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
  4 A time to weep, and a time to alaugh; a time to bmourn, and a time to dance;
  5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
  6 A time to aget, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
  7 A time to arend, and a time to sew; a time to keep bsilence, and a time to speak;
  8 A time to love, and a time to ahate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
 1a Prov. 15:23
   b TG Time
 2a Acts 17:26; Alma 40:10;
     D&C 138:53-56
   b 2 Kings 20:1-6; D&C 42:48
 4a TG Laughter
   b TG Mourning
 6a OR seek
 7a Gen. 44:13
   b TG Silence
 8a TG Hate

  9 What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he alaboureth?
  10 I have seen the atravail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be bexercised in it.
  11 He hath made every thing abeautiful in his time: also he bhath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the cwork that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
   9a Alma 29:15 (14-16)
 10a OR business, work, occupation, task
     b D&C 122:7 (5-7)
 11a TG Beauty
     b HEB hath set the eternal in their
       heart without which man cannot
       find out the work that God hath
     c Eccl. 8:17

  12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do agood in his life.
  13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the agift of God.
 12a Ps. 34:14
 13a TG God, Gifts of

  14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be afor bever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should cfear before him.
  15 That which hath been is anow; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.
 14a TG Marriage, Celestial
     b 2 Ne. 10:18-19
     c Eccl. 5:7; Heb. 12:28; Mosiah 4:1
 15a Eccl. 1:9

  16 ¶ And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that awickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.
  17 I said in mine heart, God shall ajudge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.
  18 I said in mine heart concerning the aestate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are bbeasts.
 16a 4 Ne. 1:44
 17a TG Jesus Christ, Judge;
       TG Judgment, The Last
 18a OR affairs
     b Ps. 73:22

  19 For that which abefalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanitya.
  20 All go unto one place; all are of the adust, and all turn to dust again.
 19a for all is vanity In this one concept hath Solomon seemed to have errored. Though it is true that all do come to the same end of this mortality, which is to experience death, death is not the end thereof. It is neither the 'end' but a 'means to a greater end' and when Solomon concludes that 'all is vanity' the consideration of what lies beyond the passing of man is what removes man from the realm of this life being but a meaningless fruitless exercise in futility. For man learns and experiences and such rises with him in the next life and in the resurrection. And by a mans works, his life's attainments unto the principles of intelligence and by the intents of his heart is a man so judged and rewarded. And thus this life is not 'vain' unto man except he hath made it so. I fear that Solomon's feeling of loss comes more from his own final wicked state of a darkening mind than from the true reality of having achieved and even become as God is. (see Eccl. 2:16 Commentary)  19a Eccl. 2:16
 20a Gen. 3:19

  21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
  22 Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own aworks; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?
 22a Eccl. 2:10