Ecclesiastes 4:1 Commentary

Part of the ongoing Verse Quick Reference project.

Ecc 4:1 Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them.

In Ecclesiastes 4:1 the author is stressing the level of evil he has seen in his lifetime. His immediate point is that he is experiencing in man’s inhumanity. His statement is hyperbolic. He states that he has seen “all oppressions that are done under the sun.”

Similar verses are used in support of God’s omniscience of all things past, present, and future. MacAurthur, in his Biblical Doctrine, lists Jeremiah 16:17 as a prooftext after explaining God’s knowledge is an eternal and simple act:

Jer 16:17 For my eyes are on all their ways. They are not hidden from me, nor is their iniquity concealed from my eyes.

MacAurthur also cites Psalms 69:5, Jeremiah 18:23 and Jeremiah 32:19 on God’s knowledge of the wicked.

Obviously, the Ecclesiastes verse is hyperbolic, but no doubt it would have been included in MacAurthur’s prooftexts if it were about God. This shows the assumptions built into Systematic Theology prooftexts. Similar phrases are attributed to man without the metaphysical speculation.

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