I. Oppression’s reality [1a]
Oppression is life: The preacher recognizes the depravity of man. Men are evil and, as a testimony, oppression is rampant. People suffer all over the place and most of it is due to people, not providence (i.e. Job’s situation).
He saw “all the oppressions done under the sun.” List as many oppressions as you can.
The Hebrew word can indicate any and all injuries done to people, property, name
II. Oppression’s misery [1b-3]
Misery is life! He laments how terrible it is to be oppressed –
How does he highlight the misery of oppression?
Interestingly, he contradicts himself. The book would stop here if he was consistent. But he continues on. He recognizes there is some need/ inherent goodness in life. The reason for life and the ability to cope with it though is lacking.
How do we as Christians deal with life’s miseries? When we experience some kind of oppression, what is the godly response?
III. Oppression’s Source 
There are two ways to we can take this verse. Both are legit translations. Give examples of both
1. Envy produces the work (ESV): “Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man's envy of his neighbor.”
We want to outdo our neighbor; we are selfish. Through it we enslave and oppress others.
Examples: Corporate trap; cronyism, sweat shops
2. Work/success produces the envy (KJV) “Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour.”
People see your success and seek to undermine it through slander & oppression.
Examples: Redistribution of the wealth, vandalism,
IV. Oppression’s Destiny 
The oppressor is ultimately the foolish sluggard who lives off of others and destroys the nation’s means of production & wealth. Tyranny will always lead to economic depressions. (Marxism, Detroit ghettos, etc.)
Sluggards can be quite industrious and intelligent. They are just working hard at taking other people’s stuff.
Example: Prisoners I see at RiCHI! They are sluggardly in that they are not personally productive and obedient to the charge to work in a righteous manner.
V. Oppression’s relief 
(come back to this point at end, see chiasm below)
How do you best deal with oppression? What is the best remedy to this evil situation? It is by being happy with what you have.
Simple contentment with the little that you have is the real means to happiness. Contentment will prevent people from oppressing others for what they have. It will also give you some semblence of peace when everyone is seeking to take from you and make your life miserable.
In sum, Solomon repeats what Paul says in the New Testament: Godliness with contentment is great gain.
I. Companionship is needed [7-8]
What do you see going on here?
Despite all the cutthroat problems of envy that companionship causes, loneliness is not the answer. Seeking solitude may make you have a few less headaches, but it has its own problems. All he has is his work. He accumulates and is successful, but there is no enjoyment of his productivity because there is no one to share it with. Going to a movie alone is pretty sad. Going to the bar without a drinking buddy is downright depressing. So keep working, keep amassing, keep avoiding the reality that your lonely little life stinks.
II. Companionship is practical [9-12]
There are three practical reasons for wanting to have a friend or family. What are they?
The end result: when it comes to living in community, you’re damned if you do & damned if you don’t.
KINGS COME AND GO
I. The old oppressor (i.e. foolish king) will eventually meet his end – he will be removed from office 
Solomon looks at things from the other side. He’s been looking at things from the side of the people who are oppressed. But now he turns to look at them from the side of the oppressor. The brief bio is here set forth. He gets what’s coming to him; he himself will eventually be oppressed!
II. The wise king will rise, but eventually he will grow old & forget wisdom [14-16]
It’s a vicious cycle. Power will make people destroy themselves. Time is, to some degree, a person’s greatest enemy.
Men are evil! Left to their own devices they will destroy and be destroyed.
Lesson: Fear God & keep His commandments. Law of love is only way to life and happiness. Holiness is happiness. There is only peace through His precepts!
A. Oppression [1a]
B. Blessing of companionship is needed for comfort [1b-2]
C. Futility of work 
D. Fool’s hands destroy (i.e. is futile) 
E. A handful of quietness - i.e. contentment is best
D. Fool’s Hands working futilely [6b]
C. Futility of work [7-8]
B. Blessing of companionship is needed for life’s comforts [9-12]
A. Oppressor [13-16]
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