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Date: 10 December 2023

Ecclesiastes – Facing the last enemy

“Oh why do people waste their breath, inventing dainty names for death? On the old tombstones of the past, we do not read ‘At peace at last.’ But simply ‘died,’ or plain ‘departed.’ It’s no good being chicken-hearted. We die; that’s that; our flesh decays or disappears in other ways (John Betjeman).”

So, why do people invent “dainty names for death?” Because they don’t want to confront the reality of death. Sociologist Ernest Becker, claimed “that of all things that move men, one of the principal ones is his terror of death.” Death is a fact of life and as a result, Solomon gave it due attention. He draws two conclusions concerning life and death in Ecclesiastes 9, neither of which will surprise you: Death is unavoidable (9:1-10) and Life is unpredictable (9:11-18).

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