Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Ecclesiastes 12:7

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God -

5. Putrefaction and solution take place; the whole mass becomes decomposed, and in process of time is reduced to dust, from which it was originally made; while the spirit, הרוח haruach, that spirit, which God at first breathed into the nostrils of man, when he in consequence became a Living Soul, an intelligent, rational, discoursing animal, returns to God who gave it. Here the wise man makes a most evident distinction between the body and the soul: they are not the same; they are not both matter. The body, which is matter, returns to dust, its original; but the spirit, which is immaterial, returns to God. It is impossible that two natures can be more distinct, or more emphatically distinguished. The author of this book was not a materialist.

Thus ends this affecting, yet elegant and finished, picture of Old Age and Death. See a description of old age similar, but much inferior, to this, in the Agamemnon of Aeschylus, 5:76-82.

It has been often remarked that the circulation of the blood, which has been deemed a modern discovery by our countryman Dr. Harvey, in 1616, was known to Solomon, or whoever was the author of this book: the fountains, cisterns, pitcher, and wheel, giving sufficient countenance to the conclusion.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The spirit - i. e., The spirit separated unto God from the body at death. No more is said here of its future destiny. To return to God, who is the fountain Psalm 36:9 of Life, certainly means to continue to live. The doctrine of life after death is implied here as in Exodus 3:6 (compare Mark 12:26), Psalm 17:15 (see the note), and in many other passages of Scripture earlier than the age of Solomon. The inference that the soul loses its personality and is absorbed into something else has no warrant in this or any other statement in this book, and would be inconsistent with the announcement of a judgment after death Ecclesiastes 12:14.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
We should remember our sins against our Creator, repent, and seek forgiveness. We should remember our duties, and set about them, looking to him for grace and strength. This should be done early, while the body is strong, and the spirits active. When a man has the pain of reviewing a misspent life, his not having given up sin and worldly vanities till he is forced to say, I have no pleasure in them, renders his sincerity very questionable. Then follows a figurative description of old age and its infirmities, which has some difficulties; but the meaning is plain, to show how uncomfortable, generally, the days of old age are. As the four verses,
Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 81-2

“Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth,
While the evil days come not,
Nor the years draw nigh,
When thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
PK 81.1

“While the sun,
Or the light,
Or the moon,
Or the stars,
Be not darkened,
Nor the clouds return after the rain:
PK 81.2

“In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble,
And the strong men shall bow themselves,
And the grinders cease because they are few,
And those that look out of the windows be darkened,
And the doors shall be shut in the streets,
PK 81.3

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Ellen G. White
Lift Him Up, 376.4

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is”.... Can any earthly promotion confer honor equal to this—to be sons of God, children of the heavenly King, members of the royal family? Man may be ambitious of the honor that his finite fellowman can bestow; but what will it avail? The nobility of earth are but men; they die, and return to dust; and there is no lasting satisfaction in their praise and honor. But the honor that comes from God is lasting. To be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, is to be entitled to unsearchable riches—treasures of such value that in comparison with them the gold and silver, the gems and precious stones of earth, sink into insignificance. Through Christ we are offered joy unspeakable, an eternal weight of glory. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” LHU 376.4

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Ellen G. White
Maranatha, 302.4

“In him [Christ] was life; and the life was the light of men.” It is not physical life that is here specified, but immortality, the life which is exclusively the property of God. The Word, who was with God, and who was God, had this life. Physical life is something which each individual receives. It is not eternal or immortal; for God, the Life-giver, takes it again. Man has no control over his life. But the life of Christ was unborrowed. No one can take this life from Him. “I lay it down of myself,” He said. In Him was life, original, unborrowed, underived. This life is not inherent in man. He can possess it only through Christ. Mar 302.4

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