Ecclesiastes 4:1–4 – “Envy Motivates, and also Murders“ – J. P. Kang
1. When you are faced witih an uncomfortable truth (such as Qohelet’s observation in 4:1), one that you can not easily explain or dismiss, how do you cope with it? What role do faith and hope play in an honest engagement with injustice and oppression?
2. Given that you are alive, what do you think about Qohelet sayings about death and nonexistence in verses 2 and 3? How does 3:22’s exhortation to "enjoy work" balance his judgment here about the inevitability of witnessing evil that is a part of living?
3. In what ways do you try to “keep up with the Joneses?” What, according to Qohelet in verse 4, is the root of all such striving? If you agree with his diagnosis, how can you confess and seek help with that condition?
4. How does following Jesus give you a different perspective on the troubles and tensions that Qohelet reflects on in this difficult passage? Put another way, what does Jesus ask you to do about oppression and for the oppressed? How does Jesus change your response to evil?