The Congregator on Works Vain and Worthwhile
“Fear The [true] God and keep his commandments. For this is the whole [obligation] of man.”—Eccl. 12:13.
1. Since the close of World War I, what two kinds of congregating have been going on, and by whom for each kind?
SINCE the close of World War I in the year 1918 the political rulers and armies of all the nations have been experiencing a gathering together, a congregating, to the “place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” (Rev. 16:14, 16; Ezek. 38:7, 13, AV) There has also been going on a great gathering together, a world-wide congregating, of peace-loving men and women to a place of real safety. Already these make up a congregation that extends all around the earth, and yet daily many others are being gathered together to them. In this troublous period since the first world war they have seen more and more evidence that this world, or system of things, has no future, but will end with the universal conflict at Armageddon. They appreciate how vain and worthless the works of men in support of this old world are. They no longer want to misspend their lives in a chase after mere wind. They want to spend their lives henceforth in worthwhile works that give joy and satisfaction now and that accomplish a good that will not be wiped out by Armageddon but will carry on into a radiant new world. All doers of worthwhile works are being gathered together under a power different from that operating upon this world. The rulers and their armies are being gathered to Armageddon by the influence of demons under the control of Satan the Devil. The men and women doing works worthy of the righteous, peaceful new world are being gathered together by a wise, God-fearing congregator, who instructs and guides them in worthwhile works.
2. How does the congregator identify himself, and why is there no objection to his using a feminine title concerning himself?
2 Who is this congregator? It is possible to know who he is. He was foreshadowed long ago by the wisest ruler of ancient times, King Solomon, who reigned for forty years in the city of Jerusalem. A thousand years before the Christian era King Solomon wrote a book of more than human wisdom, popularly called the book of Ecclesiastes, and in the very opening of this book he speaks of himself in this capacity of congregator, or assembler, saying: “The words of the congregator, the son of David the king in Jerusalem. ‘The greatest vanity!’ the congregator has said, ‘the greatest vanity! Everything is vanity!’ I, the congregator, happened to be king over Israel in Jerusalem.” (Eccl. 1:1, 2, 12) The fact is that, in the language in which King Solomon wrote it, the book is called Qo·helʹeth, which means “Congregator.” It is true that in the Hebrew language the word Qo·helʹeth is in the feminine gender, but so is the Hebrew word for “wisdom”; and yet King Solomon, because of his God-given wisdom, was used as a symbol of wisdom, as if he were wisdom personified. Furthermore, the One whom King Solomon foreshadowed in the days of his wisdom is outstandingly the embodiment of heavenly wisdom.—Prov. 8:12, 22-31.
3. How was King Solomon a congregator, and to what did he do congregating?
3 But how was King Solomon a congregator, and to what did he do congregating? He was a congregator of people, of his people, his subjects, and of other persons of friendliness and good will. He congregated all these to the worship of the God of peace and happiness, Jehovah. For seven and a half years Solomon occupied himself in building a gorgeous temple to the name of Jehovah in Jerusalem, finishing it in the eleventh year of his reign. For the dedication of this temple of worship King Solomon called together or congregated all the people who were specially interested. The history of this says: “At that time Solomon proceeded to call together the older men of Israel, all the heads of the tribes, the chieftains of the fathers, of the sons of Israel, to King Solomon at Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of Jehovah out of the city of David, that is to say, Zion. Then the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of Jehovah to its place, to the innermost room of the house, the Most Holy, to underneath the wings of the cherubs.” (1 Ki. 8:1, 6; 2 Chron. 5:2, 7) Thus Solomon’s congregating of his subjects to the newly completed temple of Jehovah started off their worship of God at the place where he had placed his name.
4. In writing his book, why did he call himself Qo·helʹeth, and to what are we today helped by a study of his book?
4 As the congregator of his people Solomon acted for their highest welfare, to lead them in the worship of the God with whom they had made a national covenant or solemn agreement to love, worship and serve him. Later, when writing the book of Ecclesiastes, he spoke of himself as Qo·helʹeth or “the congregator.” Here he was calling himself thus, not merely because he had first congregated his people and their companions of good will to the dedication of the new temple, but because he was, by his newly written book, seeking to congregate his people away from the vain, fruitless works of this world to the works worthy of the God to whom they as a nation were dedicated. The purpose of his book called Qo·helʹeth was to keep God’s people from drifting away, or to recover them from any drifting away, into the materialistic pursuits of this world. This fact is borne out in the last chapter of the book, where he says: “‘The greatest vanity!’ said the congregator, ‘Everything is vanity!’ And besides the fact that the congregator had become wise, he also taught the people knowledge continually, and he pondered and made a thorough search, that he might arrange many proverbs in order. The congregator sought to find the delightful words and the writing of correct words of truth.” (Eccl. 12:8-10) By a study of the book of Qo·helʹeth and its proverbs written with such well-chosen words and with such correct expressions of truth we ourselves today are helped closer to Jehovah God and to a finer appreciation of his treasurous service.
5. Besides having the book of Qo·helʹeth, what else more important do we have, and why is it so important that we listen now?
5 However, today not only do we have the book of Qo·helʹeth, which the Greek translators mistakenly called Ecclesiastes, but we have a Congregator greater than King Solomon. He is the Lord Jesus Christ, who was foreshadowed by King Solomon. It was very important that the people listen to Jesus Christ when he was on earth, for, as he said, “the queen of the south will be raised up in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it; because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, but, look! something more than Solomon is here.” (Matt. 12:42) Today it is still more important that we listen to Jesus Christ now that he is in heaven, reigning at the right hand of his heavenly Father, Jehovah God. We are the generation of mankind that is living in the “time of the end” of this old world. To us the visible evidences of his reign begun are increasing more and more each day since 1914. We are in the time of judgment not only of the congregation of the holy ones, of whom the King Jesus Christ is the Head, but also of the nations of this world, who are being congregated to the battleground of Armageddon.
6. How may we know whether the queen of Sheba is better than we are today, and whom specially did she prefigure?
6 The faithful example of the queen of Sheba from the south will condemn us today if we do not appreciate the Greater Solomon in heaven and come to him to learn of his wisdom and of his godly works. She, not a Jew, was better than most Jews of Jesus’ day, because of her appreciation of Solomon. Is she better than we are today? She is, if we fail to appreciate the One now here who is far greater than King Solomon. A great crowd of people of good will, prefigured by the queen of Sheba, the Congregator, Jesus Christ, is gathering together today, that he might be the royal Shepherd of these “other sheep.” This he has been doing since he has gathered the remaining ones on earth of the “little flock,” the congregation of 144,000 sheep, of which he himself is the heavenly Head. All such sheeplike followers of his in this day he has congregated to the side of God’s kingdom and to the spiritual temple of God’s worship. Concerning this it is written: “In order that the children of God who are scattered about he might also gather together in one.”—John 11:52; Rev. 7:1-17; John 10:16.
“EVERYTHING IS VANITY”
7. By crying out, “Everything is vanity!” what was King Solomon including and not including?
7 To the congregation under the King Jesus Christ the apostle Paul writes: “My beloved brothers, become steadfast, unmovable, always having plenty to do in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in connection with the Lord.” (1 Cor. 15:58) But at the very beginning of the book of Ecclesiastes King Solomon cries out: “The greatest vanity! Everything is vanity!” (Eccl. 1:2) Now if King Solomon is a prophetic type of the King Jesus Christ, why does he do this? King Solomon was here making no reference to the work of serving Jehovah God and his anointed King. He was not including this in his sweeping expression “everything.” By “everything” he meant everything that he takes under survey, everything that he directly points out in his book by one example after another. These things have to do with this world, not with the kingdom of God, the kingdom of the heavens, which will rule forever in God’s new world of righteousness. As God’s anointed king sitting then upon the “throne of Jehovah” and who had specially asked God for wisdom to judge Jehovah’s people, Solomon was in a most favorable position to study the behavior and activities of men, even to test them out for himself. He himself tells us:
8. What does he tell us about his indulgence in things and of the conclusion at which he arrived?
8 “I, the congregator, happened to be king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I set my heart to seek and explore wisdom in relation to everything that has been done under the heavens—the calamitous occupation that God has given to the sons of mankind in which to be occupied. I saw all the works that were done under the sun, and, look! everything was vanity and a striving after wind. And anything that my eyes asked for I did not keep away from them. I did not hold back my heart from any sort of rejoicing, for my heart was joyful because of all my toil, and this came to be my portion from all my toil. And I, even I, turned toward all the works of mine that my hands had done and toward the toil that I had toiled to accomplish, and, look! everything was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing of advantage under the sun. With a man there is nothing better [than] that he should eat and indeed drink and cause his soul to see good because of his toil. This too I have seen, even I, that this is from the hand of The [true] God [Jehovah, Syriac Version; Targum]. For who eats and who drinks better than I do?”—Eccl. 1:12-14; 2:10, 11, 24, 25.
9. Why did Solomon, when thus speaking, not have the temple and the heartfelt worship of God in mind?
9 When saying that his personally trying out various things showed that “everything was vanity and a striving after wind,” King Solomon was not including his building of the temple of Jehovah on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. This was the greatest thing he ever did. He does not mention it when telling of the more extensive works in which he engaged, the houses he built, the vineyards he planted, the gardens and parks he made, the pools he made for irrigating purposes, the vast body of menservants and maidservants that he acquired, for all these were, as he said, “for myself,” and not for Jehovah God and his worship. These were things that King Solomon saw other men engaging in and trying to enjoy, but no other man of his time built a temple to the name of Jehovah God as King Solomon did. By building this temple he did not copy or make a test of what other men were doing. This, his greatest work of construction, was not the “greatest vanity,” for the building of the temple by Solomon was foretold by God and was accomplished by the help and guidance of God. It also served Jehovah’s purpose for as long as he chose to use this material temple as a type of his grander spiritual temple. (2 Sam. 7:12, 13; 1 Ki. 8:15-21) So in speaking of everything as vanity and a chasing after the wind Solomon did not have the temple and the heartfelt worship of God in mind; nor should we have such in mind.
10. In Ecclesiastes, what does Solomon say is God’s gift to us?
10 Jehovah God the Creator desires his human creatures to be happy and to enjoy life on earth. This is his gift to us, if we will accept it. Notice how King Solomon calls attention to this gift of God: “I have come to know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good during one’s life, and also that every man should eat and indeed drink and see good for all his toil. It is the gift of God.” Also: “Look! the best thing that I myself have seen, which is beautiful, is that one should eat and drink and see good for all his toil with which he toils under the sun for the number of the days of his life that The [true] God has given him, for that is his portion. Also every man to whom The [true] God has given riches and material possessions, he has even empowered him to eat from it and to carry off his portion and to rejoice in his toil. This is the gift of God. For not often will he remember the days of his life, because The [true] God is preoccupying [him] with the rejoicing of his heart.” Again: “I myself commended rejoicing because mankind have nothing better under the sun than to eat and drink and rejoice, and that it should accompany them in their toil for the days of their life, which The [true] God has given them under the sun.”—Eccl. 3:12, 13; 5:18-20; 8:15.
11. How can we enjoy this “gift of God” now, and does this contradict the fact that God has given a “calamitous occupation” to men?
11 We can enjoy this “gift of God” now as faithful and obedient subjects of the reigning King Jesus Christ, the Congregator, by acting according to the heavenly wisdom that he imparts to the humble and teachable ones. Why, then, does Solomon say that he sought to explore and gain wisdom in relation to the “calamitous occupation that God has given to the sons of mankind in which to be occupied”? Is there not contradiction here? No! How, then, has God given a “calamitous occupation,” and to whom?
12. What does Solomon say laid the basis for the “calamitous occupation,” and how has God given it to men?
12 Solomon himself explains that, saying: “See! This only I have found, that The [true] God made mankind upright, but they themselves have sought out many plans.” (Eccl. 7:29) About 6,000 years ago, in the garden of Eden, Jehovah God made the man Adam upright, perfect, in the image and likeness of the perfect God. He also gave Adam a wife. Under temptation by the original Serpent, Satan the Devil, they sought out other plans to make themselves “wise as God” without dying. Even when Jehovah God destroyed the old world with the flood of Noah’s day he preserved alive an upright family, Noah and his wife and their three married sons, that mankind might have a new start in uprightness and godliness. But in the passage of time mankind again sought out many plans in opposition to God’s will and commands. For that reason, merely by executing his judgment against sinful, straying mankind, God has brought what has proved calamitous in their selfish lives. He informed Adam that the punishment of sin would be by death; and when Adam sinned, the condemnation to death came also upon his unborn offspring in his loins. (Gen. 2:16, 17; Rom. 5:12) They began to die as mere beasts do.
13. How does Solomon show that men are like beasts in this respect?
13 Said Solomon: “I, even I, have said in my heart with regard to the sons of mankind that The [true] God is going to select them, that they may see that they themselves are beasts. For there is an eventuality as respects the sons of mankind and an eventuality as respects the beast, and they have the same eventuality. As the one dies, so the other dies; and they all have but one spirit, so that there is no superiority of the man over the beast, for everything is vanity. All are going to one place. They have all come to be from the dust, and they are all returning to the dust. Who is there knowing the spirit of the sons of mankind, whether it is ascending upward; and the spirit of the beast, whether it is descending downward to the earth?”—Eccl. 3:18-21.
14. Why have men been unable to enjoy the benefit of their personal works continually, and if we yet die, of what should we now try to prove worthy?
14 Death is a calamity, but Adam could have spared himself and us his offspring from that by fearing God and keeping his command. Death is an enemy (1 Cor. 15:26), but Adam could have kept us from the clutches of that enemy by remaining the friend of God through loving obedience to him. Because of death no man or woman has been able to enjoy the benefit of his personal works and labors continually, without interruption. All mankind would die off perpetually, just like the beasts, were it not for the fact that God, through the Congregator, Jesus Christ, has lovingly provided a way for lifting the punishment of death and resurrecting all those who are dead in the memorial tombs. (1 Cor. 15:17-24) Those who, in the love of sin, choose to disobey Jehovah God willfully will perish forever like brute beasts. Like beasts, they choose to eat and drink and live according to their animal desires in outright materialism, without thought or regard for God. Since they prefer to live like beasts, not even serving God’s purposes as beasts do, let them perish like beasts. Why should we be beastlike and merely live selfishly like animals and die off with them? If we yet die, why not try now to prove worthy of a resurrection to life in God’s new world and thus be rated better than mere beasts?
15. How may there occur a calamity regarding an inheritance for a son, and how may we act wiser in passing on an inheritance?
15 Needless to say, the invasion of death among mankind has led up to many calamitous and ironical things for those who do not know or choose to know Jehovah God. A materially-minded father may work hard to lay up an inheritance for his son, say, money in the bank or property of some kind. Along comes a bank failure or some other disaster and the father loses all and has nothing to pass on down to his son. Would not an earthly-minded man view it as a calamity? Says Solomon: “There exists a grave calamity that I have seen under the sun: riches being kept for their grand owner to his calamity. And those riches have perished because of a calamitous occupation, and he has become father to a son when there is nothing at all in his hand.” (Eccl. 5:13, 14) How fleeting and uncertain earthly riches are, and how suddenly they can be lost or even be spiritually harmful to their owner or to the child to whom he bequeaths such riches! Far better and wiser is it, then, to seek to hand on to our children spiritual riches, which are permanent, a good name, a faithful example of godliness as a parent, a good disciplinary bringing up to manhood or womanhood, a home education in the truth of God and a theocratic training in how to serve that truth out to others as a minister of God. A material calamity cannot rob us of these spiritual values and, though we die, we do not leave behind children that do not have an inheritance of real richness.
16. How does Solomon describe another calamity certain to befall the materially rich, and so why should one not make oneself a slave to Riches?
16 The materially rich should remember another calamity that is certain to befall them. Solomon described it this way: “Just as one has come forth from his mother’s belly, naked will one go away again, just as one came; and nothing at all can one carry away for his toil, which he can take along with his hand. And this too is a grave calamity: exactly as one has come, so one will go away; and what profit is there to the one who keeps toiling for the wind? Also, all his days he eats in darkness itself, with a great deal of vexation, with sickness on his part and [cause for] indignation.” (Eccl. 5:15-17) Why, then, should one make oneself a slave to selfish riches, to Mammon, with all the darkness concerning God’s purpose, all the vexation, all the disappointment, all the temptations and snares, and all the stabbing pains that this causes one? We cannot be slaves to God and at the same time be slaves to Riches or Mammon. (Matt. 6:24) A man may selfishly become superrich, a multimillionaire, and at his death they may put into his tomb all kinds of household furnishings, and valuable jewels and clothing, and a sky-boat, and even the dead bodies of slaves whom they killed to bury with him, and yet he cannot take anything with him to enjoy. He brought nothing into this world and he can carry nothing out. He has died like a brute beast, and he has laid no foundation for real life and freedom in a world to come. What a calamity to such a man who has not been a slave to God! “For what benefit will it be to a man if he gains the whole world but forfeits his soul? or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” That question of Jesus Christ answers itself.—Matt. 16:26.
17. What calamity concerning self-satisfaction does Solomon also list, and how was this illustrated in Nebuchadnezzar’s case?
17 Solomon continues with his list of calamities: “There exists a calamity that I have seen under the sun, and it is frequent among mankind: a man to whom The [true] God gives riches and material possessions and glory and who, for his soul, is in no need of anything that he shows himself longing for, and yet The [true] God does not enable him to eat from it, although a mere foreigner may eat it. This is vanity and it is a severe malady.” (Eccl. 6:1, 2) To get possession of something and not be able to enjoy it is heartbreaking if one thinks only of oneself. To have tasty food and yet through some stomach or bowel disorder one is unable to enjoy it is like being mocked at. Jehovah God permitted Nebuchadnezzar to become a world ruler at Babylon; and yet when God humiliated him for his pride, boasting and self-exaltation and he became crazy, thinking he had turned into a beast, the rich foods and drinks of his imperial palace did not suit him. He preferred to eat grass like an ox. What a calamity, a severe malady, this was to Nebuchadnezzar for seven years!—Dan. 4:28-37, AV.
18. Better than whom does Solomon say a stillborn child is, and from what does all this come?
18 Long life without personal enjoyment of what one comes to possess, and where one even longs for the grave, leaves one unsatisfied, feeling frustrated, with so much to be desired. “If a man should become a father a hundred times and he should live many years, though numerous the days of his years should become, yet his own soul is not satisfied with good things and even the grave has not become his, I must say that one prematurely born is better off than he is. For in vain has this one [prematurely born] come and in darkness he goes away, and with darkness his own name will be covered. Even the sun itself he has not seen, neither known. This one has rest rather than the former one [having long life]. Even supposing that he has lived a thousand years twice over and yet he has not seen what is good, is it not to just one place that everyone is going?” (Eccl. 6:3-6) With no hope other than in this life, better it is for one to be stillborn and not get started in this world of materialism than to survive through a long life and have no real satisfaction out of it, only suffering chagrin and vexation. This all comes from not taking advantage of things other than the material benefits of this earth or the selfish pursuits of this world.
19. What calamity regarding government does Solomon describe, and why will this result in calamity for the supporters of such government at Armageddon?
19 Another calamitous thing that Solomon describes is where a man or a form of government gets control of a country. Then it undertakes the responsibility of dictating to the people and of keeping them away from God, leading the people in a mistaken way. The people submitting to such false leadership and obeying it rather than God are taking upon themselves a responsibility for the governmental mistakes and the governmental fight against God. With their ruler they become responsible for foolishness in government. Says Solomon: “There exists something calamitous that I have seen under the sun, as when there is a mistake going forth on account of the one in power: Foolishness has been put in many high positions, but the rich ones themselves keep dwelling merely in a low condition. I have seen servants on horses but princes walking on the earth just like servants.” (Eccl. 10:5-7) In this “time of the end” the nations of this world are on judgment before the established kingdom of God. Hence his counsel through his Word and his witnesses has been for the political rulers and judges to act wisely, to fear Jehovah and to kiss his Son in obedience. But the rulers and leaders of the people continue to act foolishly toward Jehovah God, and their governments will be dashed to pieces at Armageddon by Jehovah’s Son Jesus Christ. That will spell a world calamity not only to the governments and their rulers but also to the people who have supported the bad mistakes of their governments in fighting against Jehovah God and his kingdom by Christ.—Ps. 2:1-12.
20. Because death is the common end of all, what is the heart condition of men, and how do they put themselves in a helpless and comfortless position?
20 Because men have no hope of a resurrection of the dead but think that death ends all for everybody, they further another calamity under the sun: “This is what is calamitous in all that has been done under the sun, that, because there is one eventuality to all, the heart of the sons of men is also full of bad, and there is madness in their heart during their lifetime, and after it—to the dead ones.” (Eccl. 9:3) The democratic governments of the West look at Hungary and call what has happened to it since 1956 a terrible calamity. But there are oppressions going on in other parts of the world too. The poor people are helpless in themselves. Yet if they do not turn to Jehovah God and his kingdom, what other source of help to them is there? The ancient congregator remarked on this calamitous situation, saying: “I myself returned that I might see all the acts of oppression that are being done under the sun and, look! the tears of those being oppressed, but they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power, so that they had no comforter. And I congratulated the dead who had already died rather than the living who were still alive. So better than both of them [is] the one that has not yet come to be, who has not seen the calamitous work that is being done under the sun.”—Eccl. 4:1-3.
21. Why could Solomon well comment on the condition under governments of men who did not worship Jehovah?
21 King Solomon was not here describing what was going on in his realm, in the typical kingdom of God on earth. As long as he ruled as a wise king there was no governmental oppression: They were “eating and drinking and rejoicing,” dwelling “in security, everyone under his own vine and under his own fig tree, from Dan to Beer-sheba.” (1 Ki. 4:20-25) The kingdom of the ancient congregator stood out in different colors from the oppressive governments of men who did not worship Jehovah. So Solomon could well comment on the calamitous situation under them.
22. Because of what knowledge do Jehovah’s witnesses under such oppressive governments not pity themselves, and how do they express pity for those to be pitied?
22 But Jehovah’s witnesses who today live under suchlike oppressive governments of faithless, materialistic men do not pity themselves. They have a comforter. They know Jehovah helps them daily. They understand that their integrity toward Jehovah, whose witnesses they are, is now on trial under such oppressive conditions. They know what the congregator of old said: “If you see any oppression of the one of little means and the violent taking away of judgment and of righteousness in a jurisdictional district, do not be amazed over the affair, for one that is higher than the high one is watching, and there are those who are high above them.” (Eccl. 5:8) We know that above the Supreme Presidium or the Supreme Court, or whatever men call supreme on earth, there are those infinitely higher, Jehovah God the Most High and his King Jesus Christ, who reigns at his right hand. They are the Divine Judges, whom no Iron Curtain or Bamboo Curtain can keep from watching and seeing, and their judgments will be executed against all oppressors at Armageddon. For action by these Judges of the highest Court of the universe the oppressed witnesses of Jehovah wait with confident patience. Sustained by God’s Word and spirit and with God’s love filling their hearts, they pity the poor people who find themselves hopelessly and helplessly under such calamitous conditions. To those with hearing ears they courageously preach the good news of God’s kingdom as the only hope and the only help for mankind.
A HATED KIND OF LIFE
23. Because of what uncertainty as to the future did Solomon express a hatred of life for its calamitousness?
23 Having in mind all the human calamities outside the kingdom of God, and not knowing even what kind of successor he, the wisest man then on earth, might have in his throne, King Solomon said: “I hated life, because the work that has been done under the sun was calamitous from my standpoint, for everything was vanity and a striving after wind. And I, even I, hated all the toil of mine in which I was toiling [experimentally] under the sun, that I would leave behind for the man who would come to be after me. And who is there knowing whether he will prove to be wise or foolish? Yet he will take control over all my toil at which I toiled and at which I showed wisdom under the sun. This too is vanity. And I myself turned around toward making my heart despair over all the toil at which I had toiled under the sun. For there exists the man whose toil has been with wisdom and with knowledge and with proficiency, but to a man that has not toiled with such a thing will be given the portion of that one. This too is vanity and a big calamity.”—Eccl. 2:17-21.
24. How do the Hindus view life, and if life held only such calamities as Solomon described, what attitude would we have reason to hold toward life?
24 The Hindus profess to hate life because they religiously think that life in the midst of a material, physical world means nothing but continuous suffering. So they seek to be blotted out of existence by being absorbed into an everlasting nothingness, a nirvana, at the very time that they think they are at their best and having the greatest merit. If life in this old world held nothing but such calamities as Solomon described, then he had reason for hating such a worldly, materialistic life. There would be no purpose in living Nothing of eternal value would be served by one’s living. One’s existence on earth, with a repetition of minor calamities of one kind or another, would end up in the great calamity of dying like everybody else and like beasts, the grave becoming the common place to which the body goes. And what does the grave, the common grave or Sheʹol, hold for the dead? Listen:
25. What does Solomon say is the difference between the living and the dead, and what does Sheol hold for the dead?
25 “A live dog is better off than a dead lion. For the living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all, neither do they any more have wages, because the remembrance of them has been forgotten. Also their love and their hate and their jealousy have already perished, and they have no portion any more to time indefinite in anything that has to be done under the sun. All that your hand finds to do, do with your very power, for there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol, the place to which you are going.”—Eccl. 9:4-6, 10.