Ecclesiastes 4:9-16 “Woe Unto Him Who Is Alone When He Falls”

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Ecc 4:9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.

Ecc 4:10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.

Ecc 4:11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?

Ecc 4:12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ecc 4:13 Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.

Ecc 4:14 For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.

Ecc 4:15 I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead.

Ecc 4:16 There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

Introduction

The last verse of our study last week was this:

Ecc 4:8 There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.

Solomon is the type of who we are before we come to know our Lord and have the hope of a life beyond “the body of this death” (Rom 7:24). He is the type of our dying old man who has no hope. There is no mention in either Proverbs or Ecclesiastes of mankind by nature being born into a marred sinful body of death, in need of a redeemer:

Jer 18:4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

There is no mention of the Lord laying our sins on anyone. That concept was hidden from mankind until the prophets, and even then it was little understood. Isaiah wrote ” the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all”, but Isaiah knew not who was the “Him” on whom the Lord had “laid… the iniquity of us all”. We, too, from our youths have heard of a Savior in Babylon, and we were just as estranged from the True Savior, as was Solomon, who never once mentions mankind’s naturally sinful condition and composition, even though his father, King David, revealed it to him and to us:

Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

King Solomon had both children and brothers, yet as the type of our old man, he sees himself as this desperate man who bemoans not knowing whether he will leave the fruits of all of his own labors to a foolish son.

We have already been told, both by Job and by Solomon, what our old man fears:

Job 3:25 For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.

Job 3:26 I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.

Ecc 2:18 Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.

Ecc 2:19 And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.

Ecc 6:2 A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it: this is vanity, and it is an evil disease.

Ecc 6:12 For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?

What an empty life is a life of pride and materialism! A life that is expressed by the bumper sticker which reads “The man who dies with the most toys wins”. The man with such a mind sees nothing beyond what he can see with his physical eyes and touch with his physical hands. Those are the words of a young man who is ambitious to become someone in the eyes of this vain world. Solomon and many other wealthy men are proof that material possessions do not satisfy a man, and the older he gets, the emptier his life becomes.

1Ki 10:14 Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold,

1Ki 10:21 And all king Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.

1Ki 10:27 And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he to be as the sycomore trees that are in the vale, for abundance.

Still, to that old man within us, even contemplating the spiritual realm is total foolishness.

1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

To the carnal mind, the physical mother and siblings of Jesus were His family, but Jesus saw it differently.

Mat 12:48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?

Mat 12:49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

There is no thought of life beyond this physical realm, and it is this condition which Solomon, the type of our carnal- minded old man, comes to see is not only empty but is also very lonely and vulnerable. What Solomon is showing those who have the eyes to see it is that a selfish, self- centered person is a very lonely and vulnerable person, and that is the person he references when he says:

Ecc 4:8 There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.

He is given to see the benefit of having others who you love and for whom you care and who love and care for you. So he tells us:

Ecc 4:9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.

How true that statement is! Even the most basic joys in life mean very little when there is no one else with whom to enjoy them. The desire to provide for the needs of another is in itself “a good reward” for a man who has been blessed with a wife and family. He drives himself beyond what he would if he were working only for himself, and even a beautiful sunset for a couple in love is “a good reward”.

These are also spiritual principles which also apply to the bride and family of Christ. So it is when we see ourselves for what we really are as the bride of our Lord:

2Co 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

When we live to please our True Husband, Christ and His Christ, our life becomes the exact opposite of the “vanity and vexation of spirit” which characterizes the “under the sun” perspective of the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes. Not only is there great meaning and purpose to every event in life, but there is also ever present help, warmth in a cold world, safety and fellowship and strength:

Ecc 4:10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.

Ecc 4:11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?

Ecc 4:12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

“A threefold cord is not easily broken” lets us know that the more there are with the same mind, the stronger is that group of people, and applied to the body of Christ and to the family of God, we are given this very same principle but in different words in the book of Malachi:

Mal 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

The holy spirit has gone to great lengths to make clear the need we have for each other and for “speaking often one to another. As the single body of Christ. we have many members, and each “joint” nourishes and cares for all the others:

1Co 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

1Co 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

1Co 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.

1Co 12:15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 1Co 12:16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

1Co 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

1Co 12:18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

1Co 12:19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

1Co 12:20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.

1Co 12:21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

1Co 12:22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:

1Co 12:23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

1Co 12:24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:

1Co 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.

1Co 12:26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

1Co 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

Do you know who is and who is not a part of the body when you claim to be one of its members? If you do, then these are the benefits of being either a necessary or more feeble, an honorable, or less honorable, a comely or less comely part of a body which suffers with all it members and honors and rejoices with all of its members:

Eph 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

Eph 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Do you love God? How do you know you love God? If you love God, you will love and want to care for Christ and His Christ according to these verses:

Mat 26:10 When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me.

Mat 26:11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.

Mat 26:12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.

Joh 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Gal 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

That is the meaning of:

1Co 12:26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

That is also the amplified meaning of:

Ecc 4:10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.

When we are granted to see and to know and to apply the principle of the two Adams (1Co 15:45), then these next verses will mean much more to us:

Ecc 4:13 Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.

Ecc 4:14 For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.

“He that is born in his kingdom” is not to be understood as a peasant born under the rule of a foolish king, rather it is speaking of a foolish son, like Solomon’s son Rehaboam, who was born in his kingdom and became poor because he could not be admonished, and he foolishly listened to the counsel of the young men of his acquaintance instead of the wise men who had advised his father. Because he had no fear of God, and because he could not be admonished, he lost ten of the tribes of Israel to a wise servant, who came out of prison – in this case, out of exile – to reign over those ten tribes.

So who is this “poor and wise child [ who] comes out of prison to reign”?

James contrasts these two men:

Jas 3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

Jas 3:14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

Jas 3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

Jas 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

Jas 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

Jas 3:18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

I want to read this in the English Standard Version:

Jas 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.

Jas 3:14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.

Jas 3:15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

Jas 3:16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

Jas 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

Jas 3:18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

This same principle had earlier taken Joseph out of prison and placed him on the throne of Egypt. It took David, the youngest of his family and a keeper of sheep, and took the kingdom away from a foolish King Saul, who could not be admonished, and placed David in King Saul’s stead on the throne of Israel. It was this principle also which took Daniel and his three friends out of the captivity of Judah and placed them as governors over all the province of Babylon.

Ecc 4:15 I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child [ Hebrew, son] that shall stand up in his stead.

“The second child”, for those with “eyes that see”, is “the last Adam”, who is called “the second man” and who will indeed stand up in the stead of “the first man Adam”.

1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

1Co 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

1Co 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.

1Co 15:48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

1Co 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

Ecc 4:16 There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

The “him” in whom “all the people… shall not rejoice” is the first, foolish king who is the type of our “first man Adam” who is carnally minded, and is “enmity against God” and who cannot be admonished and cannot understand “the things of the spirit… because they are foolishness unto him”. He it is whose doom is predestinated and whose destruction is sure and of whom it is said, “they also that come after shall not rejoice in him”.

Rom 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

It is the ability of the new man to rejoice in his sufferings, to “love [ his] enemies”, and to “resist not evil”, among all the rest of the commandments of our Lord, which is the “vexation of [ the] spirit” of the “old king who cannot be admonished”, our “old… first man Adam”.

Next week we will learn that not all dreams are prophecies, and we will see the need to always “try the spirits to see whether they are of God” when we are considering the significance of our dreams. We will also see the wisdom of being slow to speak and quick to hear.

Here are the verses we will be covering next week:

Ecc 5:1 Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.

Ecc 5:2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.

Ecc 5:3 For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.

Ecc 5:4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.

Ecc 5:5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.

Ecc 5:6 Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?

Ecc 5:7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.

Ecc 5:8 If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.

Ecc 5:9 Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.

Ecc 5:10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.

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