Chapter 10-16 reading questions
Chapter 10 p. 62-66
ALL- 1. What happens in this chapter that could foreshadow something to come?
- What is Wolf’s background?
Chapter 11 p. 67-71
ALL- 1. What is Hump like now? (p. 68 middle)
- Where was a Bible found? (p.68)
Do you think this detail has any significance? If so, what?
- On bottom of page 68-69, re-read the first three quotes from Ecclesiastes. This is taken from Ecclesiastes 2:8-11. What message does Wolf think the Preacher who was King of Israel was saying? (See pg. 69 where Wolf sums up what he thinks the Bible was saying.)
Now read those verses in context below—what conclusion did the Preacher and King really come to believe? (verses 24-26)
8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces; I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, man’s delight.9 So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom remained with me. 10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them; I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all m`y toil. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
12 ¶ So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly; for what can the man do who comes after the king? Only what he has already done. 13 Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. 14 The wise man has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness; and yet I perceived that one fate comes to all of them. 15 Then I said to myself, “What befalls the fool will befall me also; why then have I been so very wise?” And I said to myself that this also is vanity. 16 For of the wise man as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise man dies just like the fool!
17 ¶ So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me; for all is vanity and a striving after wind. 18 I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me; 19 and who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21 because sometimes a man who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by a man who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 What has a man from all the toil and strain with which he toils beneath the sun? 23 For all his days are full of pain, and his work is a vexation; even in the night his mind does not rest. This also is vanity. 24 There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God; 25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 26 For to the man who pleases him God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy; but to the sinner he gives the work of gathering and heaping, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.
NOTE FOR ALL- Jack London also quotes Ecclesiastes 9:2-6, but fails to give the full story. Even the context of the chapter is not enough, as you’ll read below, because it doesn’t accurately reflect the Preacher (Solomon’s) final conclusion and it does not take into account the full context of the book as the commentator’s note on the text points out.
ALL-Read Ecclesiastes 9:1-10 below, then read the commentator’s notes on this section. (You’ll find it in the box under verses 1-10.)
Jrs/Srs- After doing so, look up one of the passages referred to by the commentator about what really happens after death, write the reference of the passage you choose and then summarize what it says.
1 ¶ But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God; whether it is love or hate man does not know. Everything before them is vanity, 2 since one fate comes to all, to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As is the good man, so is the sinner; and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. 3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that one fate comes to all; also the hearts of men are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.
4 ¶ But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward; but the memory of them is lost. 6 Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and they have no more for ever any share in all that is done under the sun. 7 Go, eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has already approved what you do. 8 Let your garments be always white; let not oil be lacking on your head. 9 Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life which he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
COMMENTATOR’S NOTES for Eccles. 9:10: FROM ONLINE BIBLE SOFTWARE
“Verse 10 is no more a divine revelation concerning the state of the dead than any other conclusion of “the Preacher” #Ec 1:1 is such a revelation. Reasoning from the standpoint of man “under the sun” the natural man can see no difference between a dead man and a dead lion. #Ec 9:4. A living dog is better than either. No one would quote verse 2 as a divine revelation. These reasonings of man apart from divine revelation are set down by inspiration just as the words of Satan #Ge 3:4 Job 2:4,5 are so set down. But that life and consciousness continue between death and resurrection is directly affirmed in Scripture. #Isa 14:9-11 Mt 22:32 Mr 9:43-48 Lu 16:19-31 Joh 11:26 2Co 5:6-8 #Php 1:21-23 Re 6:9-11.
Sheol is, in the O.T., the place to which the dead go.
(1) Often, therefore, it is spoken of as the equivalent of the grave, merely, where all human activities cease; the terminus toward which all human life moves (e.g. #Ge 42:38 grave #Job 14:13 grave #Ps 88:3 grave
(2) To the man “under the sun,” the natural man, who of necessity judges from appearances, sheol seems no more than the grave—the end and total cessation, not only of the activities of life, but of life itself. #Ec 9:5,10
(3) But Scripture reveals sheol as a place of sorrow #2Sa 22:6 Ps 18:5,116:3 in which the wicked are turned #Ps 9:17 and where they are fully conscious #Isa 14:9-17 #Eze 32:21 see, especially, #Jon 2:2 what the belly of the great fish was to Jonah that sheol is to those who are therein). The sheol of the O.T. and hades of the N.T. See Scofield “Lu 16:23” are identical.”
ALL-5. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 sum up the Preacher’s final conclusion after all his searching and striving, pleasure seeking and depression, unbelieving times and return to faith. He says: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
ALL-How is this a completely different conclusion from Wolf’s, or Jack London’s for that matter? What does this teach you about taking scripture in context?
Chapter 12 pg. 72-79
Jrs/Srs. 1. What does Wolf call morals like righteousness and honesty? (p. 74)
9th/10th 2. How does Hump stand up for Johnson and his “fictions”? (p. 74)
9th/10th 3. What happens to Johnson for standing up to Wolf?
What does Leach do in response?
Why does Leach attack Mugridge beating him almost to death?
Jrs./Srs. 4. Re-read Hump’s inner-wrestlings found on p.78-79.
What assumptions is he beginning to buy into—why?
Is there anything more going on than “brutality following brutality”?
Is this brutal behavior that Hump calls the “animality of man” really proof for Wolf Larsen’s philosophy of life? If not, refute it.
Chapter 13 p.80-83
See short article on Jack London’s Religious beliefs. It was e-mailed with these questions.
9th/10th 1a. What is Mugridge’s assessment of God’s thoughts towards him because of the life he’s had? (p. 80)
b. How is this more of London’s worldview coming through? (Though he professed not to believe in God or an afterlife.) Quote something that London said regarding his beliefs.
Jrs/Srs. 2. Do you think this view of God might be part of why London rejected God? What truth could you speak to Mugridge to help him see God as He is and God’s heart toward Mugridge despite his difficult life?
THINK ABOUT THESE CLASS DISCUSSION ?’s:
How is Louis somewhat like Cook in Captains Courageous?
What seems to possibly the source of his foretelling?
How might this be different than Cooks?
What type of ceremony did Cook lead the boys into after their encounter with the dead Frenchman?
What do Louis’ prophesies seem to have to do with?
- What is Hump’s evaluation of women?
- What did he use to think of his mom and sisters?
- What does he think of them now?
- What does he think of men being totally separate from women? (p. 97)
NOTE: P.85-90 is rather confusing. There is a mutiny going on and Johansen, the first mate, is murdered and Wolf is knocked overboard in an attempt on his life, but he is able to crawl back on board and take on the 7 men who try to overcome him. Leach and Johnson have led the mutiny and Wolf will make them pay.
Chapter 15 p.91-95
ALL- 1. In the 2nd sentence of the last paragraph on P. 94 what three things does Hump call Wolf? Keep this in mind for your understanding of one of London’s themes.
Jrs/Srs. 2. What does Wolf think his body was made for? How do his descriptions flow from an evolutionary belief?
9th/10th 3. What “promotion” does Hump get?
Chapter 16 p.96-101
- Write a discussion question for this chapter: