Time and Chance: Notes on Ecclesiastes 9:11 (Excerpt)

Vanity of Vanities (cover)Ecclesiastes 9:11

I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all.

This verse emphasizes the uncertainty of life. While we may work, prepare, learn, and gain experience – as mentioned in the previous verse – we cannot predict what will happen. At times, the faster runner is beaten, and the stronger warrior is defeated. Wisdom and talent do not guarantee favor or success. So while we ought to do the best we can (9:10), we must not become arrogant and ignore the uncertain nature of life. But it is important to notice why Solomon says unexpected things happen. It is not necessarily because God has some direct involvement in producing certain results (though that did happen at various times throughout the Bible). Rather, time and chance produce uncertain outcomes. Some want to attribute every event and circumstance in life to God, but the wise man clearly tells us that various outcomes in life are the result of coincidence and happenstance.

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!

Share Button