Study Guide

Ecclesiastes Mortality

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Ecclesiastes is pretty determined to keep reminding you that you're going to die. He's not as freaked out as this kid, but he's definitely concerned about death. While Genesis puts human beings above animals, Ecclesiastes says that human beings are animals (it's an unusually modern position to take). And like animals, human beings are doomed to die.

But since Ecclesiastes knows that life is going to end—the same way the "golden bowl" is going to break at some point in time, and the "silver cord" is going to snap—he keeps telling people to make the most of life. Since life comes to a stop, there's all the more reason to put it to use. He tells young people to rejoice in being young—because eventually that's going to all fall apart.

Questions About Mortality

  1. Does the fact that death is inevitable make you want to live life up more? Or do you think it makes life seem sadder and more difficult to deal with?
  2. Does Ecclesiastes see any hope on the other side of death? How do you reconcile the contradictory things he says about it?
  3. Ecclesiastes says that "you can't take it with you"—you'll go out of the world the same way you came in: naked and penniless. Since this is obviously true, how do you think you should live life? How does Ecclesiastes think you should live it?
  4. What do you make of Ecclesiastes's final allegorical poem in 12:1-8? Why does he compare the death of every individual person with the death of the world itself?

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