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Ecclesiastes 11:9 seems to be encouraging sin in terms of doing whatever you want, but Ecclesiastes 11:10 seems to make it clear that sin/evil is forbidden. This “seems” like a contradiction in the authors flow of thought, we read:

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the ways of your heart, And in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment. Ecclesiastes 11:9

I’m aware that God will bring people into judgment for this, but it sounds like the author is saying “go ahead & sin, God will get you later!”.

Next we read:

Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, And put away evil from your flesh, For childhood and youth are vanity. Ecclesiastes 11:10

So the 2 verses go hand in hand, & yes, Ecclesiastes 11:9 does mention God’s judgment.

Q: Is the author of Ecclesiastes in anyway encouraging sin in 11:9?

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    Eccl is a very stern warning about simple moral cause and effect - live the way you want to live BUT there will be consequences!!!
    – Dottard
    Commented Feb 4, 2022 at 22:07

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The Bible teaches that doing God's will is what makes a person happy.

       4       Delight yourself in the LORD, 
  and he will give you the desires of your heart. 
        5       Commit your way to the LORD; 
  trust in him, and he will act. 
        6       He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, 
  and your justice as the noonday. 
                (Psalm 37:4–6, ESV)


  Happy are those whose way is blameless, 
     who follow the teaching of the LORD. 
  Happy are those who observe His decrees, 
     who turn to Him wholeheartedly. 
            (Psalm 119:1–2, JPS Tanakh)

Thus, we should not see the two parts of Ecc. 11:9 as contradictory. The second half is both a warning and reminder that true happiness follows God's will.

O youth, enjoy yourself while you are young! Let your heart lead you to enjoyment in the days of your youth. Follow the desires of your heart and the glances of your eyes — but know well that God will call you to account for all such things — and banish care from your mind, and pluck sorrow out of your flesh! For youth and black hair are fleeting. (Ecc. 11:9–10, JPS Tanakh)

P.S. There is no intent to say doing God's will makes life easy, but it makes life fulfilling with purpose rather than empty and vain. It makes life rewarding rather than facing discipline.

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  • Noted on your answer, +1
    – Cork88
    Commented Feb 4, 2022 at 22:22

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