Ecclesiastes 8: 1-17

Ecclesiastes 8: 1 – 17

  1. Who should you obey?
  2. What happens when a sentence is not carried out quickly?
  3. What does the author commend?
  4. How does verse 1 contrast the sentiments of the last chapter?
  5. How should you act in the presence of authority?

There is a social etiquette, a civility, that is disappearing in the present age.  The Teacher of Ecclesiastes advocates the authentic expression of emotion in private life, among family.  However, there is a game that we are to play among the rich and the powerful so that we can survive and get out fast.  As Dale Carnegie writes in How to Win Friends and Influence People, the smile is a powerful tool for getting the job done.  Powerful, self-interested people bring hurt and destruction on themselves and others.  It is best not to get in a fight with them.  Smile.  Nod.  Leave.

Going Deeper


  • What does wisdom do to a man’s face and appearance in the context of this passage?
  • What two extremes should a person not follow in the king’s presence?
  • What will the wise in heart know?
  • What did the author see happen to the wicked (king)?
  • What will accompany the man who eats and drinks?


  • How does the wise and godly man put on a facade in front of the king?
  • How were kings of ancient times different from rulers today?
  • How does verse 5 echo the beginning of chapter 3?
  • How does it go better for the God-fearing man in the mind of the author?
  • How is verse 15 representative of the positive message of Ecclesiastes?


  • How should a Christian approach politics?
  • In what arena in your life do you know an uncompramising tyrant?
  • Is it wrong to hide your authentic feelings for a tyrant?
  • How does justice eventually come to bad government?
  • How does citizenship in God’s kingdom interact with national citizenship?


About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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