What did Solomon mean when he spoke of “a time to keep silence” in Ecclesiastes 3:7?

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; (KJV)

Ecclesiastes 3:7

ESV - 7 A time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.

Clarify Share Report Asked September 04 2020 My picture Jack Gutknecht

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Mini Grant Abbott Child of Father, Follower of Son, Student of Spirit
God gives us another reason to keep quiet in Amos 5:13.
"Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times, for the times are evil."

We live in evil times and we are not called by God to fight against every form of evil we see around us. When God calls us to take a stand against a particular wickedness then we must obey. We will know it is God's leading because he will place such a zeal in our hearts for justice and righteousness, that we won't be able to think of anything else (we may not be able to sleep at night) until we engage in that particular fight.

I think Noah provides us with a great example to follow. In Genesis chapter 6, there is so much evil in the world that God decides to wipe out the human race and start over with Noah, a righteous man, and his family. God commands Noah to build an ark to save his family and all the animals. Noah obeys God and the work took him about 100 years.

There is no record in the bible that Noah preached against the evil and wickedness so prevalent around him, but his building of the ark was a powerful prophetic word of God's judgement to come. 

We will likely encounter some form of evil or wickedness around us and we need to know what God's will is; how should we respond. So we take these things to the Lord in prayer. When he clearly tells us to take a stand for justice and righteousness, then we need to act and obey what God tells us to do. Otherwise, we should remain silent and continue doing those things that God has called us to do, like Noah built the ark.

September 08 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
Perhaps Solomon had in mind the type of occasion mentioned in the book of Job, when Job's three friends came to him after all the suffering that God had allowed Satan to visit upon him, and the Bible says in Job 2:13, "Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was." That silence was an expression of communion with him in his grief.

September 04 2020 1 response Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
I can think of another passage of Scripture that ties in here, 1 Peter 3:1, that “If any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” -- i.e. married women should depend upon their lives more than their lips in testifying to their unsaved husbands.

I know that this is much easier said than done when you consider that the wife would have to have much restraint and denial of instinctual behavior in accomplishing this. But this is the time to keep silent.

If we do not learn to practice this kind of restraint, we will speak injurious words that stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1) and use harsh, uncontrolled language (Prov. 21:23).

My late Aunt June sent me these in the mail either while I was preparing for the ministry or already in it: Unguarded lips always lead to serious consequences. Someone has listed six mischievous “Misses” that result: Miss Information, Miss Quotation, Miss Representation, Miss Interpretation, Miss Construction, and Miss Understanding. They are the result of talking when we should be quiet.

One writer answers this question by pointing out that there is “a foolish silence, a sullen silence, a cowardly silence, and a despairing silence. None of these is to recommended. However, there is a prudent, holy, gracious silence to which Scripture enjoins us.” ODB, May 9

September 05 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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