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Again I observed all the oppression that is done under the sun. Look!

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Look at the tears of the oppressed. But they have no comforter because power is on the side of their oppressors.

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I also observed all

the oppression that happens

here on earth. Wow! The number of tears shed by the oppressed is amazing. The problem is that they have no one to feel their pain with them and console them, and that is because the structures of society have placed all the power in the hands of their oppressors.


1: “Look!”

This is the word that is translated by the KJV as “behold,” which is a good rendering of it, but is now considered archaic. At its root it expresses amazement. Rather than using the same English word every time, I choose to express the amazement denoted by this Hebrew word in a variety of ways depending on the context.


Was Solomon one of the oppressors? He definitely had power. We know that he also had large work forces which included foreigners that had been subjected and made to work in his work camps. These were basically slaves, although they were not called that. Maybe Solomon now felt a tinge of guilt over the oppression he had caused, or maybe this is just a general statement. However, in the next verse we see that he does not see any solution to the problem. He knows there will always be people with power and he knows human nature well enough to know that those with power will always abuse others to get what they want. So he doesn’t offer a solution for the oppressed; he is just using them as an example.