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The Access Bible New Revised Standard Bible, written and edited with first-time Bible readers in mind.

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Commentary on Ecclesiastes

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9.1–12 :

In God's hands.

2 :

Clean and unclean, sacrifice and not sacrifice: References to ritual practices, verifying that the Teacher is not opposed to traditional religion. Those who swear are evil. Those who shun the oath are good, avoiding unnecessary words ( 5.2 ).

3 :

Less a concept of complete sinfulness than a cry of despair in face of human frailty and mortality.

4 :

Dog: a despised animal in ancient Israel (Prov 26.11 ). The valuing of life over death is either a contradiction or a development beyond the contrary statements in 6.3–6 .

8 :

White: a color for festivals; contrast 7.3–4 .

9 :

Wife: Literally, “woman.”

10 :

Sheol * : See comment on 3.20 .

9.13–18 :

The goodness and limits of wisdom. The parable-like * story, followed by traditional sayings, makes the Teacher's point: While wisdom is better than folly, it does not guarantee fame or respect.

16 :

While the poor man apparently saved the city, people did not listen to his advice.

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