Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.
Solomon’s writings repeatedly encourage diligence and hard work as necessary ingredients of success. Here the wise king adds the perspective that this life is short, and so we must apply our full efforts now. This passage may have been on the apostle Paul’s mind when he wrote, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23).
Many churches dispute Solomon’s assertion that “the dead know nothing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5) and that there is no knowledge or wisdom in the grave. The common teaching is that man has an immortal soul. But is this what the Bible teaches? For more on this, see our article “Immortal Soul.”