Let us look at that remarkable verse.  Ecclesiastes 7:1, “A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.”  There are two distinct phrases in this verse, so let’s look at them individually.

“A good name is better than precious ointment.”  Having a ‘good name’ is much more that being well spoken of or having a good reputation.  Often, “…that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15).  Truly, a ‘good name’ reflects the character of a person.  I am reminded of Philippians 4:8 which says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”  A person with a ‘good name’ would be someone who does indeed “think on these things.”  He is led by the Lord and his thoughts reflect an honest and positive character.  This person has a good name before the Lord and his fellow saints because he honors the Lord with his life.

This good character is ‘better than precious ointment.’  Precious ointment represents that which is both costly and fragrant.  It is something to be valued and something that is enjoyed.  The benefits of a good name are eternal while the benefits of precious ointment are temporary…thus making a good name to be far more valuable than precious ointment.

“The day of death than the day of one’s birth.”  I suppose as Solomon looked at these things as one contemplating things ‘under the sun’, to escape the travails and sufferings of this present life is better than the day we were brought into this world.  Thus, the day of death is better than the day of our birth.  However, if we consider Ecclesiastes 7:1 as a whole and distinctive thought, I believe we will get a better understanding of this verse.

Even as a good name is better than precious ointment, for the one who has a good name, the day of his/her death is better than the day of his/ her birth.  Consider the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and TO DIE IS GAIN.”  He also wrote in verse 23, “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; WHICH IS FAR BETTER.”  This faithful servant of the Lord understood that to leave this earth was far greater than remaining here.  Why is the day of our death so precious?  Because at the moment of death, the believer is immediately transported into the very presence of the Lord.  “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8).  What a blessed day that will be when we leave this world of sin, sorrow, and shame and find ourselves in the very presence of our dear savior. 

Dear reader, does Ecclesiastes 7:1 describe you?  Are you a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and in His eyes are a person with a ‘good name’?  It really does not matter how the world views you.  Your good name may cause others to hate you.  The Lord Jesus said in John 15:18, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.”  If, before the Lord, you have a good name, then the day of your death is better than the day of your birth!  At death, you will be able to be in the very presence of your dear savior.  (471.6)