A Commentary on Ecclesiastes 8:9-17 - Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

I have thought deeply about all that goes on here under the sun, where people have the -power to hurt each other. I have seen wicked people buried with honor. Yet they were the very ones who frequented the Temple and are now praised in the same city where they committed their crimes! This, too, is meaningless. When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong. But even though a person sins a hundred times and still lives a long time, I know that those who fear God will be better off. The wicked will not prosper, for they do not fear God. Their days will never grow long like the evening shadows.


And this is not all that is meaningless in our world. In this life, good people are often treated as though they were wicked, and wicked people are often treated as though they were good. This is so meaningless!


So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.


In my search for wisdom and in my observation of people’s burdens here on earth, I discovered that there is ceaseless activity, day and night. I realized that no one can discover everything God is doing under the sun. Not even the wisest people discover everything, no matter what they claim. - Ecclesiastes 8:9-17


Why do bad things happen to good people?


How often have you heard that question? Probably pretty often. You might have even asked it yourself before. In fact, many people use it as an excuse as to why they don't believe in God - how could a loving God turn a blind eye to good people?


We see bad things happening to good people all the time in this world. And we see the opposite as true as well: good things happening to bad people. But is this question worth worrying about or doubting God over?


Through the entire Bible, life is often equated as a "fading breath." Job talks about it during his despair in Job 7:16. David mentions it several times in the Psalms, but specifically in Psalm 39:11. And Solomon, the wisest person on earth according to God, mentions it many times throughout the book of Ecclesiastes.


Solomon argues that life spans compared to eternity are practically nothing.. which makes complete sense. The average person lives for 75 years. 75 years compared to eternity really would be similar to a "breath." So when Solomon continually mentions this fact in Ecclesiastes, he wasn't saying it to depress his readers! He was explaining to people about the awesomeness of eternity and the fleetingness of earthly life "under the sun."