Verse 1 – Then I returned and considered all the oppression that is done under the sun: And look! The tears of the oppressed, but they have no comforter – on the side of the their oppressors there was power, but they had no comforter.
This is political corruption because it does not allow common people to enjoy their days “under the sun.” Some people live in oppressed areas and have for decades, but yet they continue to vote the same politicians into office year after year. Change who you place in charge to someone who has a heart after God and watch things change.
Verse 2 – Therefore I praised the dead who were already dead, more than the living who are still alive.
Verse 3 – Yet, better than both is he who has never existed, who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
Solomon was simply saying that the ones who were never born, will never see all the sorrows that come with life.
Verse 4 – Again, I saw that for all toil and every skillful work a man is envied by his neighbor. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.
Verse 5 – The fool folds his hands and consumes his own flesh.
Verse 6 – Better is a handful with quietness than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind.
It is better to have little with peace in your life than to be a workaholic who never enjoys what God has so freely given.
Verse 7 – Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun:
Verse 8 – There is one alone, without companion: He has neither son nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his labors, nor is his eye satisfied with riches. But he never asks, “For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?”
Verse 9 – Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.
Verse 10 – For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.
Verse 11 – Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone?
Verse 12 – Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Friendship is the theme of these verses. Some have maybe only one true friend, but Jesus had 3. There’s always advantages to having a close friend. Sometimes close friends are hard to find, but when you do, you will cherish that relationship. In verse 11, it is talking about two friends keeping warm while traveling.
Verse 13 – Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who will be admonished no more.
Verse 14 – For he comes out of prison to be king, although he was born poor in his kingdom.
Verse 15 – I saw all the living who walk under the sun; they were with the second youth who stands in his place.
Verse 16 – There was no end of all the people over whom he was made king; yet those who come afterward will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and grasping for the wind.
There are two people in these verses. The first person is an old king who in his youth was poor, but rose to power through skill and perseverance. The king is now old and foolish. He has been in power so long he has lost touch with political changes. The second person is a youth who possessing the political skills the king once had, is ready to take his place. But even though the youth is successful for a time and pleases the crowd, he will eventually get old, lose touch, and be abandoned. Political power and popularity are by nature fleeting.