Ecclesiastes 12:13 - The Whole Duty Of Man Is:

Ecclesiastes 12:13 The Whole Duty Of Man Is:

CONTENT; What's in the verse; Translations; Paraphrase; Word 

Eccl 12:13 (KJV)  Let us hear the conclusion of the whole 
matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty 
of man. 

Ecclesiastes 12:13 (AMP)  All has been heard; the end of the 
matter is: Fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is] and 
keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man [the full, 
original purpose of his creation, the object of God's providence, the 
root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to 
all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the 
whole [duty] for every man. 

Eccl 12:13 (CWR)  After all is said and done, there is only one 
thing that really matters: Reverence your heavenly Father and do what 
He says.  That's the only thing that has meaning and lasts.  So 
love God and keep His commandments. He loves you and has told you all 
you need to know. 


Fear the Lord. The Hebrew word "to fear" means "to stand in awe 
of," "to reverence," "to honor" (see Deu. 4:10). [SDA Commentary re 
Deu. 6:2] 

Fear me. To "fear" God is to regard Him with profound and 
reverent respect (Ex. 19:10-13; 20:20) and to have proper regard for His 
will (Deut. 8:6; Prov. 3:7; Eccl. 12:13; Isa. 11:2, 3; 33:6). [SDA 
Commentary re Deu. 4:10] 


Commandments. Heb. mis\wah, a common word for all God's 
requirements, including, to be sure, the moral law. [SDA Commentary] 

CONTEXT; What's around the verse; Overview; Topic:

The purpose of Ecclesiastes was to prod people into thought and 
action so they would reverence and serve God, [Disciple SB] 

The Book of Ecclesiastes underlines strongly the dark side of 
existence lived according to human understanding and worldly desires. Life 
lived without considering God is evil and without meaning. Purpose 
comes only as we seize the opportunities for joy God gives and follow 
the path of worship and obedience He has set out. [Disciple SB] 

The book of Ecclesiastes cannot be interpreted correctly without 
reading these final verses. No matter what the mysteries and apparent 
contradictions of life are, we must work toward the single purpose of knowing 
God.  [Life Application SB] 

In this verse is the author's own statement of the overall theme 
of the entire book. Amid all the difficulties and inequities of 
life, as well as in the midst of all life's blessings and prosperity, 
one duty remains primary and unchanging: man's honor and obedience 
to the Creator God. This alone will merit and secure happiness and 
fruitfulness on earth and throughout eternity.  [Believer's SB] 

In his conclusion, Solomon presents his antidotes for the two 
main ailments presented in this book. Those who lack purpose and 
direction in life should fear God and keep his commandments. Those who 
think life is unfair should remember that God will review every 
person's life to determine how he or she has responded to him, and he 
will bring every deed into judgment. [Life Application SB] 

Epilogue  (12:9-14)
The Final Word  (12:9-14)
Conclusion: Honor God
Fear God and Keep His Commandments  (12:9-14)
Lifelong Duty--Fear God and Keep His Commands

CROSS REFERENCES; What's in verses elsewhere.

Deut. 10:12 (KJV)  And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God 
require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, 
and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart 
and with all thy soul,  

Proverbs 1:7 (KJV)  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of 
knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.  

Psalm 111:10 (KJV)  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of 
wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his 
praise endureth for ever.  

Job 28:28 (KJV)  And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the 
Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.  

Psalm 112:1 (KJV)  Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that 
feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.  

Psalm 115:13-15 (KJV)  He will bless them that fear the Lord, 
both small and great. [14] The Lord shall increase you more and more, 
you and your children. [15] Ye are blessed of the Lord which made 
heaven and earth.  

Psalm 145:19 (KJV)  He will fulfil the desire of them that fear 
him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.  

Psalm 147:11 (KJV)  The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear 
him, in those that hope in his mercy.  

Proverbs 19:23 (KJV)  The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and 
he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with 

Proverbs 23:17 (KJV)  Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be 
thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long.  

Luke 1:50 (KJV)  And his mercy is on them that fear him from 
generation to generation.  

Rev. 14:6-7 (KJV)  And I saw another angel fly in the midst of 
heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on 
the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 
[7] Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for 
the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, 
and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.  

COMMENTARY / APPLICATION: Moving From The Head To The Heart
What is God teaching here? What does it teach about Jesus?


Fear God. Loving reverence is the foundation of wisdom (Ps 
111:10; Pr 1:7; 9:10), as well as its content (Job 28:28) and its goal 
and conclusion. [NIV SB] 

To fear God is one of the major themes of this book and of 
wisdom literature in the Old Testament. To fear God is to respond to 
Him in awe, reverence, and wonder, to serve Him in purity of action, 
and to shun evil and any worship of anything else in His universe. 
[Nelson SB] 


"Keep his commandments" implies a definite revelation, for the 
commandments are God-given, not man-made. So Solomon, after showing 
throughout this book the meaninglessness of worldly things, ends by 
pointing his people to the commandments. This conclusion accords with 
both the O.T. and the N.T. in presenting (1) faith ("Fear God") and 
(2) works ("keep his commandments"). Cp. Eph 2:8 - 10. Only the life 
of faith issuing in works prepares man, when judged, to stand 
before God. [Scofield SB] 

The commandments of God are comprehensive and far reaching; in a 
few words they unfold the whole duty of man. "Thou shalt love the 
Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all 
thy mind, and with all thy strength. . . . Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour as  thyself" (Mark 12:30, 31). 1SM320,1 

The command to fear God is coordinate with the command to keep 
His commandments, indicating that true reverence toward God is to be 
manifested by obedience to Him. [Ryrie SB] 

Now what is essential is to fear God, which will be evident 
through obedience to his commandments, [Cambridge Annotated SB] 


Whole duty. Solomon here thinks of the recognition of God and 
obedience to His wise requirements as the supreme objective of life. Paul 
states the same truth in Acts 17:24-31; Rom. 1:20-23. It is man's duty, 
his destiny, to obey God, and in so doing he will find supreme 
happiness. Whatever his lot may be, whether cast in adversity or 
prosperity, it remains his duty to yield loving obedience to his Maker. [SDA 

The whole duty of man is summed up by the Saviour. He says, 
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy 
soul, and with all thy mind. . . . Thou shalt love thy neighbor as 
thyself." FE186,7 

The duty to worship God is based upon the fact that He is the 
Creator and that to Him all other beings owe their existence. GC436,7 

The whole [duty] of man. Here is our fulfillment, our all--a far 
cry from "meaninglessness." [NIV SB] 


Every day I have the honor of sitting down with a book that 
contains the words of the One who created me. Every day I have the 
opportunity to let him give me a thought or two on how to live. If I don't 
do what he says, he doesn't burn the book or cancel my 
subscription. If I disagree with what he says, lightning doesn't split my 
swivel chair or an angel doesn't mark my name off the holy list. If I 
don't understand what he says, he doesn't call me a dummy. In fact, he 
calls me "Son," and on a different page explains what I don't 
understand. In the Eye of the Storm by Max Lucado [Inspirational SB]