Useful Bible Studies > Ecclesiastes Commentary > chapter 8

When you appeal to a king

Ecclesiastes 8:2-4

The author of Ecclesiastes has already advised how a person may appeal to God for help (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7). Now the author explains how a person should appeal for the king’s help.

In ancient Israel, the kings had complete authority. The king was not just the ruler, but also the judge. His word was the law, and everyone had to obey it. Nobody would speak against the king’s word unless that person wanted to fight against the king. And Israel’s people had promised in front of God to be loyal to their king.

So of course a person would be very afraid to appeal to the king. Many Bible translations have the words ‘do not hurry’ in Ecclesiastes 8:3. But in the original language, that means, ‘Do not tremble because you are so afraid.’ The king has allowed you to appeal to him. So do not be afraid to stand in front of him. When he permits you, tell him about your troubles. He will do whatever he considers right.

But evil people should be afraid of the king. They should not imagine that they can persuade him to support their wicked schemes. The king has complete authority, and he will use that authority to punish them.

The work of those kings teaches us something about God’s work as judge (Ecclesiastes 3:17). Even evil rulers and judges are serving God when they use their power properly (Romans 13:1-7). But even the best rulers and judges make some wrong decisions. And in this world, judgements and laws are often wicked (Ecclesiastes 3:16).

God has authority over all, including kings, rulers and judges (Revelation 20:11-12). He alone is perfect, and all his judgements are right (Deuteronomy 32:4).

Next part: When we must wait for judgement (Ecclesiastes 8:5-6)


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© 2019, Keith Simons.