Thoughts and Reflection
Today in the readings we are starting to read from a new book – Ecclesiastes. In this book, we learn from the preacher and vanity. Vanity is translated to something that is meaningless or like vapor or smoke. We may think we don’t experience that in our lives, but this is nothing that is new and these are challenges that we have all faced but perhaps in different ways.
The preacher decides to self-indulgence to maximize happiness. He soon discovers that this is vanity because the human heart always seeks more. It is never satisfied. He also pursues wisdom. He sees that it is better to be wise, but both the wise man and the fool meet the same end.
One day no one will know are names. If we are living for a legacy to be remembered, this vanity is meaningless. The preacher highlights this for us: if we are living in this world for this world, it is meaningless. Time will erase everything if we are living apart from God. There is more to life.
About This Project
For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!
1 Kings 7
1 As regards his palace, Solomon spent thirteen years on it before the building was completed.
2 He built the House of the Forest of Lebanon, a hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide, and thirty cubits high, on four rows of cedar-wood pillars,
3 with lengths of cedar wood laid horizontally on the pillars. The upper part was panelled with cedar right down to the tie-beams on forty-five pillars, fifteen in each row.
4 There were three rows of window-frames, with the windows corresponding to one another at three levels.
5 All the doorways and windows were rectangular, with the windows corresponding to one another at three levels.
6 He also made the Colonnade, fifty cubits long and thirty cubits broad, with a cornice in front.
7 He also made the Hall of the Throne where he used to dispense justice, that is, the Hall of Justice; it was panelled in cedar from floor to beams.
8 His own living quarters, in the other court and inwards from the Hall, were of the same construction. And there was a house similar to this Hall for Pharaoh’s daughter whom he had taken in marriage.
9 All these buildings were of special stones cut to measure, trimmed on the inner and outer sides with the saw, from the foundations to the coping-
10 the foundations were of special stones, huge stones, of ten and eight cubits,
11 and, above these, special stones, cut to measure, and cedar wood-
12 and, on the outside, the great court had three courses of dressed stone round it and one course of cedar beams; so also had the inner court of the Temple of Yahweh and the vestibule of the Temple.
13 King Solomon sent for Hiram of Tyre;
14 he was the son of a widow of the tribe of Naphtali, but his father had been a Tyrian, a bronzeworker. He was a highly intelligent craftsman, skilled in all types of bronzework. He came to King Solomon and did all this work for him.
15 He cast the two bronze pillars; the height of one pillar was eighteen cubits, and a cord twelve cubits long gave the measurement of its girth; so also was the second pillar.
16 He made two capitals of cast bronze for the tops of the pillars; the height of one capital was five cubits, and the height of the other five cubits.
17 He made two sets of filigree to cover the moulding of the two capitals surmounting the pillars, one filigree for one capital and one filigree for the other.
18 He also made pomegranates: two rows of them round each filigree,four hundred in all,
19 The capitals surrounding the pillars were lily-shaped.
20 applied on the raised moulding behind the filigree; there were two hundred pomegranates round one capital and the same round the other capital.
21 He erected the pillars in front of the portico of the Temple, he erected the right-hand pillar and named it Jachin; he erected the left-hand pillar and named it Boaz.
22 Thus, the work on the pillars was completed.
23 He made the Sea of cast metal, ten cubits from rim to rim, circular in shape and five cubits high; a cord thirty cubits long gave the measurement of its girth.
24 Under its rim and completely encircling it were gourds surrounding the Sea; over a length of thirty cubits the gourds were in two rows, of one and the same casting with the rest.
25 It rested on twelve oxen, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, three facing east; on these, their hindquarters all turned inwards, stood the Sea.
26 It was a hand’s breadth in thickness, and its rim was shaped like the rim of a cup, lily-shaped. It could hold two thousand measures.
27 He made the ten bronze stands; each stand was four cubits long, four cubits wide, and three high.
28 They were designed as follows; they had an undercarriage and crosspieces to the undercarriage.
29 On the crosspieces of the undercarriage were lions and bulls and winged creatures, and on top of the undercarriage was a support; under the lions and oxen there were scrolls in the style of. . .
30 Each stand had four bronze wheels with bronze axles; its four feet had shoulderings under the basin, and the shoulderings were cast. . .
31 Its mouth measured one and a half cubits from where the shoulderings met to the top; its mouth was round like a stand for a vessel, and on the mouth there were engravings too; the crosspieces, however, were rectangular and not round.
32 The four wheels were under the crosspieces. The axles of the wheels were inside the stands; the height of the wheels was one and a half cubits.
33 The wheels were designed like chariot wheels: their axles, felloes, spokes and naves had all been cast.
34 There were four shoulderings at the four corners of each stand: the stand and the shoulderings were all of a piece.
35 At the top of the stand there was a support, circular in shape and half a cubit high; and on top of the stand there were lugs. The crosspieces were of a piece with the stand.
36 On the bands he engraved winged creatures and lions and palm leaves. . . and scrolls right round.
37 He made the ten stands like this: the same casting and the same measurements for all.
38 He made ten bronze basins; each basin held forty measures and each basin measured four cubits, one basin to each of the ten stands.
39 He arranged the stands, five on the right-hand side of the Temple, five on the left-hand side of the Temple; the Sea he placed on the right-hand side of the Temple, to the south east.
40 Hiram made the ash containers, the scoops and the sprinkling bowls. He finished all the work that he did for King Solomon on the Temple of Yahweh:
41 Two pillars; the two mouldings of the capitals surrounding the pillars; the two sets of filigree to cover the two mouldings of the capitals surmounting the pillars;
42 the four hundred pomegranates for the two sets of filigree — two rows of pomegranates for each set of filigree;
43 the ten stands and the ten basins on the stands;
44 the one Sea and the twelve oxen beneath the Sea;
45 the ash containers, the scoops, and sprinkling bowls. All these objects made by Hiram for King Solomon for the Temple of Yahwehwere of burnished bronze.
46 He made them by the process of sand casting, in the plain of the Jordan between Succoth and Zarethan.
47 There were so many of them, that the weight of the bronze was never calculated.
48 Solomon made all the objects designed for the Temple of Yahweh: the golden altar and the gold table for the loaves of permanent offering;
49 the lamp-stands, five on the right and five on the left in front of the Debir, of pure gold; the floral work, the lamps, the tongs, of gold;
50 the basins, the snuffers, the sprinkling bowls, the incense ladles and the pans, of real gold; the door panels — for the inner shrine — that is, the Holy of Holies — and for the Hekal, of gold.
51 Thus all the work done by King Solomon for the Temple of Yahweh was completed, and Solomon brought in the gifts which his father David had consecrated; and he had the silver, the gold and the utensils put into the treasuries of the Temple of Yahweh.
1 Composition of Qoheleth son of David, king in Jerusalem.
2 Sheer futility, Qoheleth says. Sheer futility: everything is futile!
3 What profit can we show for all our toil, toiling under the sun?
4 A generation goes, a generation comes, yet the earth stands firm for ever.
5 The sun rises, the sun sets; then to its place it speeds and there it rises.
6 Southward goes the wind, then turns to the north; it turns and turns again; then back to its circling goes the wind.
7 Into the sea go all the rivers, and yet the sea is never filled, and still to their goal the rivers go.
8 All things are wearisome. No one can say that eyes have not had enough of seeing, ears their fill of hearing.
9 What was, will be again, what has been done, will be done again, and there is nothing new under the sun!
10 Take anything which people acclaim as being new: it existed in the centuries preceding us.
11 No memory remains of the past, and so it will be for the centuries to come — they will not be remembered by their successors.
12 I, Qoheleth, have reigned over Israel in Jerusalem.
13 Wisely I have applied myself to investigation and exploration of everything that happens under heaven. What a wearisome task Godhas given humanity to keep us busy!
14 I have seen everything that is done under the sun: how futile it all is, mere chasing after the wind!
15 What is twisted cannot be straightened, what is not there cannot be counted.
16 I thought to myself: I have acquired a greater stock of wisdom than anyone before me in Jerusalem. I myself have mastered every kind of wisdom and science.
17 I have applied myself to understanding philosophy and science, stupidity and folly, and I now realise that all this too is chasing after the wind.
18 Much wisdom, much grief; the more knowledge, the more sorrow.
1 I thought to myself, ‘Very well, I will try pleasure and see what enjoyment has to offer.’ And this was futile too.
2 This laughter, I reflected, is a madness, this pleasure no use at all.
3 I decided to hand my body over to drinking wine, my mind still guiding me in wisdom; I resolved to embrace folly, to discover the best way for people to spend their days under the sun.
4 I worked on a grand scale: built myself palaces, planted vineyards;
5 made myself gardens and orchards, planting every kind of fruit tree in them;
6 had pools made for watering the young trees of my plantations.
7 I bought slaves, male and female, had home-born slaves as well; herds and flocks I had too, more than anyone in Jerusalem before me.
8 I amassed silver and gold, the treasures of kings and provinces; acquired singers, men and women, and every human luxury, chest upon chest of it.
9 So I grew great, greater than anyone in Jerusalem before me; nor did my wisdom leave me.
10 I denied my eyes nothing that they desired, refused my heart no pleasure, for I found all my hard work a pleasure, such was the return for all my efforts.
11 I then reflected on all that my hands had achieved and all the effort I had put into its achieving. What futility it all was, what chasing after the wind! There is nothing to be gained under the sun.
12 My reflections then turned to wisdom, stupidity and folly. For instance, what can the successor of a king do? What has been done already.
13 More is to be gained from wisdom than from folly, just as one gains more from light than from darkness; this, of course, I see:
14 The wise have their eyes open, the fool walks in the dark. No doubt! But I know, too, that one fate awaits them both.
15 ‘Since the fool’s fate’, I thought to myself, ‘will be my fate too, what is the point of my having been wise?’ I realised that this too is futile.
16 For there is no lasting memory for the wise or the fool, and in the days to come both will be forgotten; the wise, no less than the fool, must die.
17 Life I have come to hate, for what is done under the sun disgusts me, since all is futility and chasing after the wind.
18 All I have toiled for under the sun and now bequeath to my successor I have come to hate;
19 who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all the work into which I have put my efforts and wisdom under the sun. That is futile too.
20 I have come to despair of all the efforts I have expended under the sun.
21 For here is one who has laboured wisely, skilfully and successfully and must leave what is his own to someone who has not toiled for it at all. This is futile too, and grossly unjust;
22 for what does he gain for all the toil and strain that he has undergone under the sun-
23 since his days are full of sorrow, his work is full of stress and even at night he has no peace of mind? This is futile too.
24 There is no happiness except in eating and drinking, and in enjoying one’s achievements; and I see that this too comes from God’s hand;
25 for who would get anything to eat or drink, unless all this came from him?
26 Wisdom, knowledge and joy, God gives to those who please him, but on the sinner he lays the task of gathering and storing up for someone else who is pleasing to him. This too is futility and chasing after the wind.
1 [For the choirmaster For flutes Psalm Of David] Give ear to my words, Yahweh, spare a thought for my sighing.
2 Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God! To you I pray,
3 Yahweh. At daybreak you hear my voice; at daybreak I lay my case before you and fix my eyes on you.
4 You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil, no sinner can be your guest.
5 Boasters cannot stand their ground under your gaze. You hate evil-doers,
6 liars you destroy; the violent and deceitful Yahweh detests.
7 But, so great is your faithful love, I may come into your house, and before your holy temple bow down in reverence of you.
8 In your saving justice, Yahweh, lead me, because of those who lie in wait for me; make your way plain before me.
9 Not a word from their lips can be trusted, through and through they are destruction, their throats are wide — open graves, their tongues seductive.
10 Lay the guilt on them, God, make their intrigues their own downfall; for their countless offences, thrust them from you, since they have rebelled against you.
11 But joy for all who take refuge in you, endless songs of gladness! You shelter them, they rejoice in you, those who love your name.
12 It is you who bless the upright, Yahweh, you surround them with favour as with a shield.