he vanity of riches. Also of long life and flourishing
families. (1-6) The little advantage any one has in outward
Verses 1-6: A man often has all he needs for outward enjoyment; yet the
Lord leaves him so to covetousness or evil dispositions, that he
makes no good or comfortable use of what he has. By one means or
other his possessions come to strangers; this is vanity, and an
evil disease. A numerous family was a matter of fond desire and
of high honour among the Hebrews; and long life is the desire of
mankind in general. Even with these additions a man may not be
able to enjoy his riches, family, and life. Such a man, in his
passage through life, seems to have been born for no end or use.
And he who has entered on life only for one moment, to quit it
the next, has a preferable lot to him who has lived long, but
only to suffer.
Verses 7-12: A little will serve to sustain us comfortably, and a great
deal can do no more. The desires of the soul find nothing in the
wealth of the world to give satisfaction. The poor man has
comfort as well as the richest, and is under no real
disadvantage. We cannot say, Better is the sight of the eyes
than the resting of the soul in God; for it is better to live by
faith in things to come, than to live by sense, which dwells
only upon present things. Our lot is appointed. We have what
pleases God, and let that please us. The greatest possessions
and honours cannot set us above the common events of human life.
Seeing that the things men pursue on earth increase vanities,
what is man the better for his worldly devices? Our life upon
earth is to be reckoned by days. It is fleeting and uncertain,
and with little in it to be fond of, or to be depended on. Let
us return to God, trust in his mercy through Jesus Christ, and
submit to his will. Then soon shall we glide through this
vexatious world, and find ourselves in that happy place, where
there is fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore.