1. Ecclesiastes 4:1 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

Summary of Ecclesiastes 4:1

Ecclesiastes 4:1 (ESV)

1 Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them.

The Preacher has seen that injustice often reigns in the place of justice. Now he sees something else that is very unjust. He observes that many people oppress others, and that in many cases the survival of the fittest or the law of the jungle appears to prevail.

People are oppressed because of what they believe. People are oppressed because of their skin colour, or because of their gender. It may be because they belong to a certain nation. The stronger group imposes their will on the other. They treat the others unfairly. The other is discriminated and oppressed.

It is not wrong for people to rule over other people. It is the Lord himself who ensures that certain people have authority over others. We read this, for example, in Romans 13:1–2: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”

Authority is not wrong. However, people often use it incorrectly. Many abuse their power and as a result others are tortured and set back. They are discarded and become destitute. People have suddenly disappeared, never to be found again. When people protest against this, they are oppressed even more. The result is that people become desperate. They can’t go anywhere with their complaints and grief. The result is that oppressed people huddle together full of fear with tears in their eyes and heavy hearts. The people in power don’t extend a helping hand or any sympathy to them. No one comforts them with word and deed. The oppressors are so powerful that it seems that the oppression will never end.