The Puritan Exegesis Project: John Trapp on Ecclesiastes 11:6
John Trappâ€™s (1601 â€“ 1669) commentaries were Spurgeonâ€™s personal treasure. As biblical scholarship progresses the minister and serious student continue to benefit greatly from consulting Trappâ€™s thought, suggestions and devotional contributions.Â For years I waited patiently for a set of Trapp. After finally obtaining one, my dad--equally thrilled at my find--asked to borrow it. Now, having waited so long, I've finally re-obtained the set and hope to add Trapp to our project on Puritan exegesis.
Ecclesiastes 11:6 has a peculiar phrase not found elsewhere in the OT: â€œThis or thatâ€ (hazeh Ê¾ow-zeh). The labor of sowing seed as a literal representation of agricultural life or figurative of procreation does not contain certainty. We canâ€™t know, says Qoheleth, the intimate details of the work of God, (i.e. we canâ€™t predict the success or failure of our work.) The knowing or not knowing the outcome of oneâ€™s industry Â in â€˜this or thatâ€™ is here compared to Godâ€™s knowledge. The human perspective is drastically limited: one act or another may succeed, or perhaps both will. There's reason to diversify.
For Trapp the solution to lifeâ€™s uncertainty is simple. â€œAt all times be prepared for every good work (Tit. 3:1) â€¦ sow mercy in the morning, so it likewise in the evening, as those bountiful Macedonians did, to the shame of those richer but harder Corinthians (2 Co. 8:3; Phil. 4:16).â€ Nothing is more certain, says Trapp, than the fruits of loveâ€™s labor. The advance of blessedness is accompanied by Godâ€™s superintendence (Heb. 6:10) even if only one leper in ten returns the favor.