Online Bible Commentary
Ecclesiastes 6:1 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men: 2 A man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor, so that he lacks nothing for himself of all he desires; yet God does not give him power to eat of it, but a foreigner consumes it. This is vanity, and it is an evil affliction. 3 If a man begets a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with goodness, or indeed he has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better than he-- 4 for it comes in vanity and departs in darkness, and its name is covered with darkness. 5 Though it has not seen the sun or known anything, this has more rest than that man, 6 even if he lives a thousand years twice--but has not seen goodness. Do not all go to one place? 7 All the labor of man is for his mouth, And yet the soul is not satisfied. 8 For what more has the wise man than the fool? What does the poor man have, Who knows how to walk before the living? 9 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind. (NKJV)
Solomon, son of David, was the king of Israel for some forty years from 970 B.C. until his death at the age of fifty-nine in 931 B.C. He wrote the book of Ecclesiastes likely near the end of his life, about 935 B.C.
Solomon, being the son of a king, had received the best education known to man at the time. He learned the best of human wisdom. He also was blessed by God with true wisdom, the wisdom from God. He was considered to be the wisest man ever to live.
In this passage, Solomon continues to write about how we should handle our money. He writes of a common evil he sees in this world (v. 1). That evil is that God blesses some people with wealth, and yet He does not give them the ability to enjoy their wealth (v. 2a). Even upon their death their wealth goes to strangers oftentimes, instead of to their loved ones (v. 2b). Their life has been in vain, which Solomon calls “evil” (v. 2c).
A man can live a long life and have many children, but if he never finds satisfaction in life, or even closure, he is worse off than a “stillborn child” (v. 3). The stillborn child is never known (v. 4), and has never “seen the sun or known anything”, yet the stillborn child has more peace “than that man” (v. 5). The man dies not knowing peace. Even in the end, he is still struggling, still grasping for the wind. No matter how long this man lives if he does not find satisfaction he is no better off than the stillborn child (v. 6a). They both go to the grave in the end (v. 6b). Solomon is not writing of the spiritual here, but of what happens to the physical body.
Solomon concludes this passage by offering three proverbs in verses 7-9. A man works hard his whole life to have things, and yet the thing he needs the most, peace, eludes him (v. 7). For without peace, the wise man is no better off than the fool and the rich man is no better off than the poor man who has learned how to live life (v. 8). It is better to enjoy what you have than to always be wanting for more, which is a life lived in vain, always “grasping for the wind” (v. 9).
In 1965 the Rolling Stones recorded the song “Satisfaction”. The lyric that stands out is “I can’t get no satisfaction”. The song was about how satisfaction can not be found in the things of this world. Solomon is essentially saying the same thing.
Satisfaction can only be found in achieving peace of mind. True, lasting, peace only comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ, from becoming a Christian. It is the most important decision you will ever make. You need to get it right.
If you are not a Christian, I urge you to click on the “About Us” section of our website which will tell you how you can become a Christian. Please do this so that you can find true peace, true satisfaction.