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For example, Solomon keeps saying things like:

For who knows what is good for a person in life, during the few and meaningless days they pass through like a shadow? Who can tell them what will happen under the sun after they are gone?
-- Ecclesiastes 6:12 (KJV)

It is perplexing to me that Solomon seems unsure because David knew of the resurrection as well as others in the OT. It also seems to give fodder to those who argue about contradictions in the scripture, and how can we really know what happens after death.

Scripture is clear to me about our death and resurrection, and then the judgement that determines the eternal destiny of believers and unbelievers.

Please help me understand what Solomon is saying in these verses from Ecclesiastes.

  • Welcome to BH.SE! Please take the tour to get a feel for how the site functions. I have edited your question to fix the image, add the full text of the quote you have given, and clarify what you are asking. You can re-edit if you think I have misunderstood.
    – enegue
    Dec 4, 2017 at 20:21
  • The first thing that comes to my notice is, Solomon's question "Who can tell them what will happen under the sun after they are gone?" is not a query about what happens to him when he dies, but about life on earth. Dead people are disconnected from life "under the sun".
    – enegue
    Dec 4, 2017 at 20:48
  • In verse 21 pictured above, the word "whether" does not appear in the Hebrew text. The verse reads: מִ֣י יוֹדֵ֗עַ ר֚וּחַ בְּנֵ֣י הָאָדָ֔ם הָעֹלָ֥ה הִ֖יא לְמָ֑עְלָה וְר֙וּחַ֙ הַבְּהֵמָ֔ה הַיֹּרֶ֥דֶת הִ֖יא לְמַ֥טָּה לָאָֽרֶץ Dec 5, 2017 at 17:09
  • Solomon appears to be unsure about where man goes after death. Why? - Because he didn't know. And, by the looks of it, neither did his readers.
    – Lucian
    Dec 8, 2017 at 5:18
  • 1
    Source that David and others in the OT knew of the resurrection?
    – Alex
    May 6, 2018 at 1:40

1 Answer 1


Solomon is not unsure about the afterlife he is asking who can tell the dead about what happens under the sun which is the realm of the living, not the dead.

If he was speaking on the after life he would not have said "under the sun" regarding the location of the events unknown to the dead.

BTW, the chances of Solomon being the actual author are low to none, I would not worry about it, rest assured Solomon was more wise than any man who ever lived, maybe Jesus was more wise and definitely greater, but wisdom and Solomon are like bread and bread.

  • Actually, the Sadducces did not believe in the resurrection prior to Jesus and the Pharisees did, the resurrection of the dead possibly was/is definitely now, a shared belief with Zoroaster's disciples known as Parsees in India, some living in Persia still today, known in the West as Zoroastrians. It is known in the Gospels that the Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead and not because of Jesus.
    – Gazali
    Dec 6, 2017 at 6:10
  • 1
    I hope you are not suggesting that the words "Pharisees" and "Parsees" (=Persians) are in any way related.
    – fdb
    Dec 6, 2017 at 23:59
  • Why do you hope that? I was not or I would have said that, but I did not. However if I did I would not be the first person to suggest the possibility that the Parsees of Persia, which was a town or city in modern Iran at the time, were the source of the name Pharisees, as the Persian Empire's lingua franca was Aramaic and the Persians play a huge role in the Bible in liberating the Jews, Cyrus even called a Messiah. It is far from improbable that Pharisee was derived from Parsees, they even believed in the resurrection of the dead while the Sadducces did not, like Parsees.
    – Gazali
    Dec 8, 2017 at 2:11
  • Nobody can say for sure the origin of the word Pharisees as we can with Parsees today, or tell for sure what they called themselves at the time of the Pharisees existence as a sect, but the idea is intriguing and not unlikely at all that the Jews borrowed the name of a place in Persia /Iran as the name of their sect, as the Babylonian Talmud was written by Jews under Parthian patronage in Aramaic, as they had been citizens of Persia and Mesopotamia for centuries. The similarity in sound between Pharisee and Parsee may be a coincidence, but it also may not be. C.W. King is my source.
    – Gazali
    Dec 8, 2017 at 2:21
  • Also Parsee does not mean Persian it is the self designation of a religion called in the West "Zoroastrianism" after the Prophet Zoroaster, who the early Syrian Christians equated with Baruch for some reason (Book of the Bee) while other literature equateshim withNimrod which Eusebius mentioned was erroneous, this was actually believed by the early Freemasons oddly enough. Nevertheless Parsee is not a word meaning Persian rather,it refers to a town in Persia, but is the name of the a religion, not an ethnicity, which is just Persian, which Parsees are, endogamous, Persians are not all Parsee.
    – Gazali
    Dec 8, 2017 at 2:59

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