No Comfort for the Oppressed: Notes on Ecclesiastes 4:1 (Excerpt)

Vanity of Vanities (cover)Ecclesiastes 4:1

Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them.

After briefly considering eternity (3:11), God’s judgment of man (3:17), and the fact that fact that our spirits will remain after our bodies are dead and buried (3:21), the wise man returns to those things which pertain to life under the sun. In this verse he considers “acts of oppression.” No matter how many generations come and go, there will still be people who are oppressed and in a situation that is nearly or completely hopeless – at least in this life. When the oppressed remember their hope after this life, there is relief. Paul would later make this point to the brethren in Thessalonica who were suffering persecution (2 Thessalonians 1:7). But for those oppressed people who will not or cannot look past this life, there is no comfort. Furthermore, Solomon says there is no comfort for the oppressors either. Though they have power and can abuse and take advantage of others, there is no lasting value or meaning for them. Their satisfaction in life is limited to what they can unjustly take from others.

You can read more comments on the book of Ecclesiastes in Vanity of Vanties: Notes on Ecclesiastes. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

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