Ecclesiastes 9:11

Ecclesiastes 9:11- I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.(KJV)

Time and chance-A devotion from Joseph Prince is what started this series. The study below is informative and is worth your time to read it. When I looked on Bible Gateway most translations used the phrase “time and chance” even though it may not be the best choice of words. The paraphrase Bibles did a better job in rendering this phrase. It was frustrating to actually see the word luck used. I have said, “It is bad luck to be superstitious.” Deuteronomy 8:18 does clarify this- “It is God that gives the ability to gain wealth.” To live in His blessings is better than always hoping for a miracle. I am, however, glad for both.

Under the Sun-Solomon uses this phrase twenty-seven times in Ecclesiastes according to the NIV Bible. It is a novel way to talk about everyone that is living. Ecclesiastes 8:15 and 9:13 carry an uplifting message, while most are pointing to truths about laboring, toil, and evils done by men.

Solomon-He is a classic piece of fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. His great achievement was building the First Temple. Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs are attributed to him. I have no doubt that several Psalms (probably unnamed ones) were written by him; #72 and 127 bear his name. Even with all of this knowledge he chose to do evil and built temples and altars for all of the wives he should not have married. The New Testament list him in the genealogy for “Joseph” found in Matthew, refers to his splendor, and when the Queen of the South came to him, the others refer to the temple he built and the Colonnade named for him in Herod’s temple.

Could it be that Ecclesiastes 9:11 was written by Solomon to describe himself?   

Thought Question

Consider the legacy Solomon left Rehoboam, how did he treat the people of Israel?

Bible 911

My series, Bible 911, will be an opportunity to have fun in a Bible study. I will be looking at the ninth chapter in every Book that has one. Why? There are several personal reasons, but none of my reasons are because of warnings to the U.S.A., that Christians need to be in fear, angel or demon numbers, or any of the other things I found on the internet about this series of numbers. I know that the Holy Spirit was directing the numbering of the Word so there would be order, but to worship, the work of a Jewish rabbi and a French printer is a push.

The initial study has shown me interesting verses that cover a wide variety of topics. Yes, I looked at every chapter 9 and verse 11 in the Bible. Why, because I could.

I will say that the 911, 811, 711, 611, 511, 411, 311, 211, and 111 (New Zealand and others) phone numbers were created to be helpful for people in need and are an easy way to spread pertinent information. It is a shame that people have misused 911 to create false emergencies that send resources to non-emergencies, and to prank people and police departments. I hope and believe that our 911 responders will have wisdom as they answer those calls. Sometimes the caller is the problem and not who they are calling about. I was glad when they came to help me.  

The Ark-Almonds

What do almonds have to do with the Ark of the Covenant Law? There are two connections, Aaron’s staff, and the Menorah or the Golden Lamp.

Numbers 17 tells the tale of God having had enough of the grumbling against Aaron and Moses (vs. 5). Aaron’s staff had leaves, flowers, and fruit of the almond tree on it. This was the sign that God had chosen him to be the leader. The staff was to be put back into the Ark as a sign for Israel.

Numbers 11 to 16 are part of the ten test times that Israel tested God. The story of the manna and the quail, the spies returning and complaining about the land. (I think the people planned to take everyone back to Egypt and conquer the nation. They were not going back as slaves.) The two that directly affect the staff are Miriam and Aaron (Chapter 12) complaining about Moses, and Korah (a close relative of Moses) the Kohath, and Dathan and Abiram (Reubenites or the firstborn) trying to take control of the camp (Chapter 16). By this time, the people had been trained as an army.

Exodus 25 gives the instructions for the making of the Tent of Meeting and the furniture associated with it; Exodus 37 gives the same information, but it seems to be the confirmation that it was done. Details of the Menorah are here. There is much symbolism associated with the branches, bumps, flowers, and lights of this lamp. The simplest truth about the lamp and its artwork is that it is an almond tree. The lamp was to light the area in front of it.

The almond tree is one of the first to bloom in the spring and is used to symbolize someone who is watching over things. The Menorah is a “watcher” that lights the way for those coming to it, or for those who need to see.

Jeremiah 1:11 and 12 is a play on words when Jeremiah sees an almond branch and the Lord says He is “watching over” His words and Jeremiah.

Ecclesiastes 12:5 also has an almond tree that is showing the start of the year and includes a grasshopper dying that represents the end of the growing cycle or season.

Genesis 28:19 has Jacob running from Esau and resting at Luz (Almond Tree) for the night. Because of the dream of the ladder to Heaven, he asks God to watch over him on this journey and take care of him. He then renames the place Bethel or House of God.

Jacob also uses branches of the almond tree in his ritual in Genesis 30:37 of putting peeled limbs into the water. The poplar and plane tree were abundant and very leafy, so the symbolism is possibly more important than the wood. I had read once that experiments had been carried out on this combination of things and nothing was noticed that would account for Jacob’s results.

The only time that the almond nut (not the tree) is the center of attention is in Genesis 43:11 when Jacob sends almonds to the man in Egypt (Joseph).

The Ark-The Poles

As a type and shadow, the poles of the Ark represent the Holy Spirit. I will narrow the area of that broad statement to the movement of the Trinity among men. The Spirit does many other things that may not come across with the model I will set up.

The Poles

Exodus 25:13 is the description of the poles that were meant for the Ark. They were to be acacia wood and covered with gold. That is it, no length, no amount of gold, nothing super-secret or fancy. The websites below offer some ideas and good guesses and literal interpretations of some numbers we have been given. There is sound reasoning for some guesses, but they are still good guesses. For me, that just shows that there is much about the Trinity we don’t know and I am secure in them not telling everything. Exodus 25:10-15 is an important section for this study.

Why acacia wood? Those types of trees grow in the area. (If you do a search, use acacia trees in Saudi Arabia or Jordan, they also grow in Africa.)

There were other poles that had to be made for the altar, table, menorah, etc. The instructions and descriptions were basically the same, but these poles were not to stay in the other Tabernacle articles. They were to be removed during times of use.

The poles of the Ark were not to be separated from the Ark once they were inserted into the four rings that were attached to the feet of “the box”. What a beautiful representation of the Trinity. Three separate pieces makeup one item and yet they maintain a personal identity and function.

I will offer this from the information and explanations from these two sites. I believe the Ark’s poles may have been up to fifteen feet in length. That would have them “filling” the space of the Holy of Holies but not sticking outside of the tent.

Who Carried the Ark

Numbers 4 is an important chapter that is worth the time to go read so you get the “big picture”. The Kohathites (Moses and Aaron were Kohathites) had the privilege and responsibilities for everything that was used in the acts of worship inside the Tabernacle. They had to carry everything on their shoulders. The Gershonites and Merarites got carts, not the Kohathites.

How Many

One piece of information that is not supplied is how many men carried each item, another mystery. Depending on where the rings were attached to the feet on the Ark, those poles could have allowed 4, 8, 12, or 16 men to carry the Ark. How? A THEORY.  15 feet times 12 inches = 180 inches. 2 ½ cubits equals 45 inches, the long side. 1 ½ cubit equals 27 inches, the short side. You do the math. There was enough space on the short side for four men on each of the 4 parts of the poles sticking away from the Ark. Those numbers (4, 8, 12, and16) are all mentioned in the Bible, sixteen is used the least, but has some important events associated with it.

The bearers holding the poles would have to be the same height (equal) or the Ark would have been uneven. The Mercy Seat (the Father) was solid, pure gold. It sat in a “crown” or trim that went around the “box”, but it may have been top heavy. So, the carrying poles needed to be even.

Questions, Types and Shadows

  • Why two poles? It could have been carried with just one pole. It would have hung from one pole, so the pole would have been over the Mercy Seat. The two poles made it necessary for four groups to carry the Ark. Types here could show priests, prophets, royal line, and people; apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastoring-teachers (that is another study, but the Greek may allow or say the “first four” who teach).
  • Why did rings for the poles have to be on the feet? That would require the Ark to be picked up. It has to be on the shoulders. This placement would have raised it high in the air, over the heads of the bearers. “He was high and lifted up and His train filled the Temple.” (Isaiah 6:1) If you saw the Ark being moved, you have raised your head up to see it clearly.
  • Would the direction (long side vs. the short side) the Ark is carried make a difference? Carrying it from the short side would be more like a throne or chair being moved.
  • Could a priest carry the Ark? I would say no. The Sons of Aaron were Kohathites, but not all Kohathites were Sons of Aaron. The fall of Jerusalem and Jeremiah is the only question mark time I have and they say nothing about moving the Ark.
  • In our Old Testament, the Spirit “rested” on men, just as the Poles rested on men’s shoulders. In the New Testament, things changed. Two Poles, two covenants.
  • The Poles were visible to the people and had to be touched in order to move the Presence of God here on earth. Think about that for a while. Several layers of material covered the Mercy Seat and the Ark during moving, this was to protect the Kohathites.
  • Those who bear the Ark had to be equal, or the Presence of God might fall over or be hard to move. You may hold people in honor, but all are equal who move the Presence on the earth today. 
  • A priest died when David imitated the Philistines and put the Ark on a cart. Move with God His way, and not like how the Philistines thought they should move God.

Thought Questions

  1. David loved God, but how do you know he did not read the Torah as he was supposed to?
  2. What qualities of acacia wood made it suitable for the “box” and poles?
  3. How do those qualities reflect Jesus and the Holy Spirit?
  4. Was Josiah right in 2 Chronicles 35:3?


Firstborn was conceived from this question-How can the firstborn of creation be the Last Adam or Second Man? After a fruitful study, I am now ready to birth this post about the Firstborn. This study started growing into a very complicated child because of all the aspects related to the topic of the firstborn. Maybe I will get to that plethora of information in a future post.

Some about the Firstborn

This is a title as well as a position on a family tree. Part of being the firstborn son was the inheritance and the blessing that went with that honor. These rights of the firstborn are mentioned in the Five Books of Moses. Each book has a slightly different focus. (I am making some very loose points here as rules and requirements are mentioned in Exodus to Deuteronomy.)

  • Genesis-The focus here is Jacob and how he handles the rights of the firstborn. He buys and steals them from Esau, takes them away from Ruben and gives them to Joseph, and transfers them to Ephraim. 1 Chronicles 5:1, Jeremiah 31:9, with Genesis 49:3,4; 48:5 and 14-20 all refer to the story of Ruben.
  • Exodus’ focus is that Egypt/Pharaoh will not let Israel (God’s firstborn) go, so it will cost them their firstborn.
  • Leviticus has only one mention of firstborn-Chapter 27. It states that they belong to the Lord.
  • Numbers-There are many things written about the firstborn in Numbers. The theme I saw was Egypt being traded for Israel, and now Israel would cover the redeeming of the Levites’ firstborn. Zelophehad’s daughters (Numbers 36:11) do set some rules about all-girl families.
  • Deuteronomy restates the rules and requirements of the firstborn. Chapter 21:15 adds a rule for loved and unloved wives, and whose children get the rights of the firstborn. I want to think this adjusts some things Jacob did so as not to be an excuse for later generations.

Firstborn of Creation

Adam was the prototype, while Jesus is the prototokos (Colossians 1:15). Adam was made/created/assembled by God and he received the breath of life (The first CPR:). Jesus came from that amazing creation when the Holy Spirit surrounded Mary with grace (charitoo) and put in the male half of the DNA to form Jesus. So, He was the first man born from the Spirit. (Luke 2:21-He was circumcised.) This sets the example of our born-again experience with the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the firstborn of Creation (Hebrews 1:6, Colossians 1:15, Romans 8:29). He is also the firstborn of/from the dead (Revelation 1:5, Colossians 1:18). Jesus is the head of the church of the firstborn (Colossians 1:18, Hebrews 12:23).

1 Corinthians 15:45 and 46 is discussing the concepts that are also found in Romans 5:15 and 17 (here it is one man). The first Adam, the first man, allowed death into the world by his transgression. The last Adam (Jesus) is a life-giving Spirit that brought grace to us. In 1 Corinthians 15:46, Jesus is referred to as the second man. I believe, because of the Hebrew for Adam and man, being related has caused this to become the title of Second Adam.