In the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon meditates on the ever-changing character of our time here in this life. Good things come and go, as do our challenges. The first eight verses of the chapter are familiar to many as the basis for the 1965 hit “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by the American folk band The Byrds. Peter Seeger wrote the song a few years before and wanted people to see a message of peace and hope — that a period of peace could follow their period of war.
A more serious interpretation to the chapter can be taken, too, with Solomon saying in Verse 17: “I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.” Solomon, whose writings largely focused on wisdom, is therefore reminding us that as the world turns and the seasons of life present us with a variety of mixed experiences, the wise try to see it all through the lens of eternity as God’s plan, not as random and meaningless chasing after wind.
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; 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 laugh; a time to mourn, 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 get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.