Ecclesiastes 9:2

All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.

All things come alike to all,.... That is, all outward things in this life, good and bad men share in alike; which proves that neither love nor hatred can be known by them: so the emperor Mark Antonine, in speaking of life and death, of honour and dishonour, of pain and pleasure, riches and poverty, says {s}, all these things happen alike to good men and bad men;

there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked; the same prosperous ones happen to one as to another, as riches, honour, health, wisdom and learning, fame and reputation: if Abraham was rich in cattle, gold, and silver, so was Nabal, and the rich fool in the Gospel; if Joseph was advanced to great dignity in Pharaoh's court, so was Haman in the court of Ahasuerus; if Caleb was as hearty and strong at fourscore and five as ever, it is true of many wicked men, that there are no bands in their death, and their strength is firm to the last; if Moses, Solomon, and Daniel, were wise men, and of great learning, so were the idolatrous Egyptians, and so are many God is not pleased to call by his grace; if Demetrius had a good report of all men, so had the false prophets of old: and the same adverse things happen to one as to another as the instances of Job, Lazarus, and the good figs, the Jews carried into captivity, show; of whom the Midrash, and Jarchi from that, interpret this and the following clauses: "to the righteous and to the wicked": to Noah the righteous, and to Pharaoh, not Necho, as Jarchi, but he whose daughter Solomon married, who, the Jews say, were both lame;

to the good, and to the clean, and to the unclean; who are "good", not naturally, and in and of themselves, but by the grace of God; and who are "clean", not by nature, nor by their own power, but through the clean water of divine grace being sprinkled on them, and through the blood and righteousness of Christ applied to them; and who are "unclean", through the corruption of nature, and the pollution of actual sins, they live in. Some understand this of a ceremonial cleanness and uncleanness. The above Jews apply these characters to Moses, who was good; to Aaron, who was clean; and to the spies, who were unclean; and the same thing happened to them all, exclusion from the land of Canaan;

to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: that serves and worships the Lord, and who does not, one branch of service and worship being put for all; and whether they offer themselves, their contrite hearts and spiritual sacrifices, or not. The Jews exemplify this Josiah, who sacrificed to the Lord; and in Ahab, who made sacrifice to cease; and both were slain with arrows;

as is the good, so is the sinner; alike in their outward condition and circumstances, whether as to prosperity or adversity;

and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath; the common swearer, or he that is perjured, and has no reverence of God, nor regard to truth, nor any concern to make good his oath; and he that is cautious about taking one does it with awe and reverence of the divine Being, and is careful of keeping, it, even to his own hurt. The Jews stance in Zedekiah and Samson; the former broke his oath with the king of Babylon, and the latter was a religious observer of an oath; and yet both had their eyes put out; but it does not appear that Samson ever took an oath: the opposition in the text seems to be between one that is ready to take an oath on every occasion, without considering the solemnity of one, and without due care of what he swore to; and one that is cautious about taking an oath, and chooses to be excused from taking one, on any account, could he be excused; preferring such advice as is given, Matthew 5:34, "swear not at all"; the counsel about swearing, which Isocrates {t} gives, seems worthy of notice;

"take an oath required on two accounts; either to purge thyself from a foul crime charged with, or to save friends in danger, and deliver them out of it; but on account of money (or goods) swear not by any deity, no, not even if thou canst take an oath safely; for by some thou wilt be thought to be perjured, and by others to be covetous.''

The word in Hebrew for swearing is always passive, because a man should not swear, unless obliged; and the same form of language is used by Latin writers {u}; and the Hebrew word for it comes from a root which signifies "seven", in allusion, as some think, to seven witnesses required to an oath; the Arabians, when they swore, anointed "seven" stones with blood; and, while anointing them, called on their deities {w}; see Genesis 21:30. It may be observed, that all men are here divided into good and bad; this has been the distinction from the beginning, and continues, and ever will.

{s} De scipso, l. 2. c. 11.
{t} Paraenes Demonic. p. 10.
{u} "Juratus sum", Plauti Corculio, Act. 3. v. 88. "Fui juratus", ib. Act 4. Sc. 4. v. 10. "Non tu juratus mihi es? juratus sum", ib. Rudens, Act. 5. Sc. 3. v. 16, 17.
{w} Herodot. Thalia, sive l. 3. c. 8.