Search The Scriptures —Study 0 — The Book of Ecclesiastes

Study 0 From the Book of Ecclesiastes is:  The Introduction of the Book of Ecclesiastes

This book speaks through the mouth of Solomon, but does not in any way build on his authority. In the earlier part, the writer describes human life as seen by a shrewd observer, who disputes the arguments of those who find a satisfactory aim in life either in intellectual labour, or in the gathering of riches, or in pleasures, or even in the attainment of an ethical ideal, seeing that death terminates all, and comes to all alike.

Man cannot by searching find oat the deep things of God (3:11) but must bow before His sovereignty (3”14). Whatever appearances may indicate, God judges righteously, though judgment may be long delayed (8:12, 13).

The recurring phrase ‘under the sun’ may be regarded as indicating the purely human standpoint adopted by the writer in the earlier chapters, and as roughly equivalent to ‘in the world as man sees it’. It is salutary for the Christian to contrast the vanity and meaningless of this world, its business and pleasures, as set forth in Ecclesiastes, with our glorious heritage in Christ as set forth in the New Testament.

The book is the record of a spiritual pilgrimage, reaching its culmination in chapter 12 (cf. 12:13, 14 with Rom. 2:16. In Ecclesiastes, perhaps more than in any other book of the Old Testament, the standpoint of the writer should be borne in mind, and particularly the fact that he saw nothing for man beyond death save judgment. His attention is concentrated upon this life, for ‘our Saviour Christ. Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to fight through the gospel’ (2 Tim. 1:10) had not yet appeared.

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Search The Scriptures —Study 7 — Esther 9 and 10

Study 7 From the Book of Esther is:  Esther 9 and 10

With this study we end the book of Ester. Tomorrow we will start the book of Ecclesiastes.

      1-    Select from these and earlier chapters the outstanding features of Mordecai’s character. What was the source of his moral strength?

      2-    Notice here the severity of the judgment on the wicked. Are we in danger of underestimating this part of ‘the whole counsel of God’ (Acts 20:27)? Cf. Heb. 10:30, 31; 1 Pet4:17, 18; Rev. 20:12-15.

       3-    Why was the Feast of Purim instituted? See 9:22; cf. Ex. 12; 14-17. Do we ever encourage and challenge ourselves by the remembrance of God’s mercies to us? Cf. Dt. 8:2; 1 Cor. 11:24-26.

Note. 9:26. ‘Purim… Pur’: these words are derived from the Assyrian puru, meaning a small stone, which was used to cast lots. See 3:7; 9:24. 

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Search The Scriptures —Study 6 — Esther 7 and 8

Study 6 From the Book of Esther is: Esther 7 and 8

      1-    How does chapter 7 illustrate the theme of certain psalms? See, e. g., Pss. 73:17-19; 94:1-7, 21-23. How should this influence our faith?

       2-    After the fall of Haman what did (a) Esther and (b) the Jews still have to do to obtain the deliverance promised by the king? See especially 8:3-8, 11, 12. What parallel is there in Christian experience? Cf. Phil. 2:12, 13.

Notes

             1-    7:3. ‘My life … and my people…’: for the first time Ester acknowledges her nationality.

            2-    7:9. Notice how often the king’s decisions are influence by those around him.

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Search The Scriptures —Study 5 — Esther 5 and 6

Study 5 From the Book of Esther is:  Esther  5 and 6

      1-    Mordecai could reasonably have expected a substantial reward for saving the king’s life (2:21-23). However, his service was acknowledged only after a long delay and by an apparent coincidence. In what ways does this help us to understand delays and disappointments in our own life? Cf. Ps. 37:7; Is. 55:8, 9

       2-    Consider the developments in the story of Haman as illustrations of such verses as Ps. 34:15, 16; Pr. 16:18. What ought we to learn from such a record?

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Search The Scriptures —Study 4 — Esther 4

Study 4 From the Book of Esther is:  Esther  4

      1-    The Jews mourn Haman’s decree, but for Ester the situation requires personal action. Consider (a) what factors influenced the decision she reached (see particularly verses 4, 8, 13, 14, 16), and (b) whether verse 14 is relevant to your own immediate situation.

       2-    Esther made careful preparations to enter the king’s presence. In our own approach to the King of kings, what parallels and contrasts can you find? See also 5:1, 2; cf. Ps. 33:8; Heb. 10:19-22.

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Search The Scriptures —Study 3 — Esther 2:19 – 3:15

Study 3 From the Book of Esther is: Esther 2:19 – 3:15

      1-    Mordecai made no secret of his Jewish faith, yet advised Ester to remain silent. What does this teach us for our own witness? Why did Mordecai not obey the king’s command? Cf. Ec. 3:1, 7b; Dn. 3:8-12, 16-18; Acts 5:28, 29.

      2-    What do we learn of Haman’s character in chapter 3? See particularly verses 5:9 and 15. To what was he blind in the schemes that he made?

Notes

            1-    2:19. ‘Sitting at the king’s gate’: the phrase may imply that he was in the king’s service in some way.

           2-    2:21. ‘Who guarded the threshold…’: i.e., of the king’s sleeping apartments.

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Search The Scriptures —Study 2 — Esther 2:1-18

Study 2 From the Book of Esther is:  Esther 2: 1-18

        1-    By what steps did Ester become queen? Consider the events and the timing in terms of God’s overruling care for His people. See Note on verse 16; cf. Rom. 8:28; Is. 65:24

        2-    How far should a Christian conform to the laws and customs of his country? Cf. Dn. 1:8; 1 Pet. 2:13, 14.

Notes

1-    Verses 5, 6. ‘Who had been carried away …’: this refers not to Mordecai, but to Kish his grandfather. 

2-    Verse 16. Cf. 1:3. Four years had elapsed since Vashti was deposed.

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