Ecclesiastes 11 – Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters

There are many different opinions concerning what the author meant in verse one, but the one that seems clearly correct to us is that he is talking about being benevolent. One good explanation of the phrase “cast your bread upon the waters” is that it means to give generously without expecting anything in return. Verse two continues the thought with “give a portion to seven, or even to eight.” The number seven in scripture is often referred to as the perfect number, representing completeness. “Even to eight,” then , would represent going above and beyond.

sea_003Verse 3 reminds us that there is little of importance in this life of which we are in control, and so verse 4 says that we should be about the work that we should be doing, rather than sitting around trying to analyze things. The remainder of the chapter reminds us that we cannot know the ways of God, and that we should make good and joyful use of the time we have here “under the sun.” That time is short and God will bring us into judgment for what we do with it. Verse 10 means that one should not let one’s problems, trials, or afflictions be the overwhelming focus of one’s attention.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at  


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