There is a desire for a moral order, justice, and fairness in the heart of people. Yet, also from the heart of humanity springs forth wickedness, willful power, and oppression. These opening verses (1-3) connect with Chapter 3:16 where we read that in the place of justice and righteousness there is wickedness. Here, we read of the effects of oppression. There are tears, misuse of power, and despair, etc. Evil, which resides in the human heart will also enter the doors and hallways of organizations and governments. And organizations/governments can magnify power and evil desires. While it’s possible for goodness and righteousness to be enlarged; here evil is magnified.
There is wisdom in being satisfied with what one has (verses 4-8) For an endless striving, avarice, acquisitiveness, and grasping for more take a toll on life. Tranquility, peace, and wholeness are exchanged for toil, a “chasing after the wind,” and a restlessness that will never be satisfied.
Companionship, cooperation, and sharing are much better than a success rivalry that sets one against the other, places one above the other and ends in loneliness and estrangement (verses 7-12). It is true, “Two are better than one,…”
Finally, (verses 13-16) we find that eventually even the new young leader runs into the fickle fancy of the mob and faces the loss of fame. Eventually the promise of youth has to face criticism. There will come generations who never saw the leader in their youth and their days of glory.
We are advised to seek justice, righteousness, worthy work, contentment and wisdom. We are counseled and instructed to avoid oppression, acquisitiveness, loneliness, and a foolish striving for fame. May the Lord grant us wisdom.