Ecclesiastes 3:1. To every thing there is a season. The seasons of the year are four. But the Zodiac, Job 9., divides the times into twelve signs. In a similar manner are the labours of the husbandmen, the shepherds, and the gardeners divided: the text refers to the actions of men.
Ecclesiastes 3:11. He hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh. “Que l' homme puisse comprendre l' œuvre que Dieu a faite,” that man may comprehend the work that God hath made, from one end to the other; yea, that they may see the wisdom, love, and power of the Creator in all his works. This reading is preferable to the English version.
Ecclesiastes 3:14. I know that whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever. He will preserve the plants in the vegetable kingdom; the birds, beasts and fishes in the animal kingdom, with unremitting care: “none of them shall want his mate.” It is nevertheless a fact, we must confess, that many plants and living beings existed in the world before the flood, which now are nowhere to be found.
Ecclesiastes 3:21. Who knoweth the spirit of [the sons of] men that goeth upward: whether it return or ascend to God, as it descended from him at first. Genesis 2:7. This is a point the brutish man could not define, though Solomon himself had no doubt. He says in Ecclesiastes 3:17, that God shall judge the righteous and the wicked. He also affirms “that the spirit returns to God who gave it:” Ecclesiastes 12:7.
The natural or animal man, receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. 1 Corinthians 2:14, He talks here of births and deaths, of sorrow and joy, of gain and loss, without any regard to God, or providence, or a future state. He sees no moral connection between the actions of men and their Maker. But Solomon draws a just conclusion, in advising a man to be happy in studying such works as are open to contemplation; to be happy in his labour, in his food, and family enjoyments, and to receive with hallowed delight the good things of the present life. While Solomon was contemplating the character of the brutish man, he saw in the bottom of his heart a source of wickedness which excited his indignation. I saw, he says, in the place of judgment, wickedness, bribery, and corruption. I saw in the place of righteousness, where equity should be done, iniquity defiling the hands of the judges. Therefore I said in my heart, God will judge the judges; that he would open out and make manifest their wickedness. My estimate was, that the sons of men are themselves but brutes, and shall perish like the beasts of the earth.