Solomon is coming to the close of his book and he’s had one central message throughout, which he states in 12:8, “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, all is vanity” (NKJV). He had stated this conclusion at the very beginning of the book, “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. ‘Vanity of vanities,’ says the Preacher; Vanity of vanities, all is vanity’.” At the same time he had chosen many words to impart knowledge to the people that would not only teach them about the vanity of life, but also to guide them through life until the day they would be called upon to meet their Creator. He pondered carefully his subjects and conclusions, and then chose the exact words, which he put forth in proverbs, to teach his people the truth as he knew it. We see this in verses 9-10, “And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out and set in order many proverbs. The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright—words of truth.” He used GRACIOUS WORDS without compromising WORDS OF TRUTH. In this sense, he was like the Lord Jesus for we are told in John 1:17 that “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

His teachings were meant to have a real effect on his students. Verse 11 states, “The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd.” GOADS were “long sticks that were used for getting cattle to move in the right direction.” Solomon’s words would hopefully stir his people to action so they would live according to the “words of wisdom” that he was imparting to them. NAILS were “pins that were used to give stability to a tent.” Thus his desire was for his words to give stability to his readers as they made their way through life. God’s Word should have these same effects on us, dear fellow-believers. Like goads His Word leads and guides us, for we read in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” And as with nails, His Word establishes us and keeps us grounded. 2nd Timothy 3:16-17 declare: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” If God’s Word is abiding in us we will “no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine.” His Word will indeed keep us grounded as Paul writes in Colossians 2:7, “Rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith.”

But Solomon adds a needed word in verse 12, “And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is not end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh.” We stated earlier that he “pondered carefully his subjects and conclusions” and here he admits that he could have written even more. But he had “said enough” and to multiply words would only bog the reader down. So he says, “be admonished by these”; take to heart the words I have written and apply them to your life. (266.3) (DO)