THE WORD: Eat, drink and be merry

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The final chapters of Ecclesiastes provide some long-known truths and a final conclusion on the meaning of life. Ecclesiastes is full of wise sayings and words of truth. The conclusions in chapters 9-11 say that life is fleeting and death comes to the good and the bad. While the teacher had already explored the folly of finding life’s meaning in pleasure and entertainment, he tells us to enjoy this short life as much as we can.

Just as death comes to all people, the teacher also makes reference to chance and fortune, concluding that we don’t have total control of our destiny. In the final verses of Ecclesiastes, the teacher encourages man to enjoy his years. The concept of eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die is introduced in longer prose in Ecclesiastes. In the scheme of forever, death is tomorrow.

The teacher ends his journey into the meaning of life with a final conclusion that “the whole matter” comes down to keeping the commandments of God as “the whole duty of man.”

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.