Go, eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has long ago approved what you do.
Eat, drink, and be merry: For tomorrow, we may die. Pretty much the whole of Ecclesiastes summed up right there.
Now hold it right there, Mister Clark! This verse, if taken seriously, seems to be advising the 1% to just relax and enjoy their ill-gotten gains. (And in fact to be assuring first-worlders like me, who are, while not rich, quite comfortable compared to an awful lot of the world’s population, that it’s just fine to go back to the Best Buy ad I was reading and get myself a little something. Or a big something.)
Ha! A compose-your-own-sermon exercise.
Well, you’ll notice that the goods mentioned are bread and wine, not meat. Not luxury foods in the ancient world.
But yes, every verse can be interpreted very differently depending on the context you choose to give it. It reads one way from the point of view of a rich first-worlder, but quite differently from the point of view of an overstressed oppressed person who doesn’t ever get a chance to sit down and enjoy a meal.
Ecclesiastes does indeed have quite a different atmosphere to the rest of the Bible, though. More of a Monday morning book.
And it will read differently to the same person at different times, depending on what their concerns are. That’s why I identified it as a “write-your-own-sermon” verse. My point–not well explained, alas (actually, not explained at all, come to think of it)–was that one could take it as a “go ahead and do what you want” verse. But obviously, that’s not consistent with the rest of the Bible, so one must look for a better interpretation. Thought required, as you point out.
According to the URL, this is Fred’s 52nd Sunday Favorites post.
Happy Anniversary, Fred!
Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.
Hmm, I spent my Sunday at a folk music fest with a bunch of lesbians and hippies, and went swimming in the river before reading a Bujold novel. I personally feel this verse is entirely appropriate…especially since this was Pride Sunday here! Choose your own sermon indeed.
I just got into Bujold. She’s awesome.
Yes, I’m reading the Miles Vorkosigan books for the veryfirsttime right now. So extremely excellent.