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Anything that is, has already been, and that which is to come, has already been,

and GOD seeks

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what is pursued.

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You can’t try anything that hasn’t been tried already in a slightly different form; history repeats itself.  But don’t think this is a random process without intervention from God. In reality THE RULER OVER ALL THINGS is behind the events of history either directly or indirectly.



The main idea of this verb is “to seek, pursue or chase after.” It is sometimes rendered “require or request,” but the main idea is “seek.”


“God seeks what is pursued” is the most simple rendering without any attempt at interpretation. Questions naturally arise – What is being pursued? Is it a person, a physical object, or an action? Also, who is doing the pursuing? Is it God, or someone else?

The context points to a temporal interpretation meaning that time, and things done at certain moments in time, are quickly replaced by other moments and other events that follow on their heels. We can also be confident that God has a role in this process. However, that is about all we can be sure of because this phrase is challenging to translate, and the English translations vary a great deal. Because of the different uses of the active verb “seek” and the passive verb “pursued,” the possible translations fall along these lines: “God will call the past to account”(NIV),  “God will seek to do again what has occurred in the past” (NET), “God seeks justice for the persecuted” (CEV).

It is noteworthy that the word for “seek” also means to “chase or pursue,” implying that “God chases what is being chased” and “He pursues what is being pursued.” Although Solomon uses different words here, they mean something similar. He often employs this type of repetition to tie things together. If it is indeed time and the development of history that is being chased by more time and more events, as the context implies, then God is behind everything that happens. In the Jewish mind, God was behind everything, either directly or indirectly. Consider the confrontations between Moses and Pharaoh recorded in Exodus chapters 7 through 12. Did God harden Pharaoh’s heart? Yes (Ex 10:1 says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and Romans 9:16-18 echoes that). Did Pharaoh harden his own heart? Yes (Ex 8:32 says that Pharaoh hardened his heart). Is it possible for both God and Pharaoh to be responsible for the action at the same time? In the Jewish mind, Yes. They accepted both human responsibility and God’s ultimate control, without having to fully understand what seems to be an irreconcilable difference.

In summary, this passage is about the flow of human history and the role that God plays in it; He is involved, either directly or indirectly in every part of it, yet without violating our will to choose. This is hard to fully understand and that is why entire theological systems have been developed which pull in precisely opposite directions, yet we are reading the same Bible. I think we should let God be God and stop trying to put God in a box; He never fits in any of our boxes anyway.