Ecclesiastes 8:12—Are the lives of the wicked prolonged or shortened?

Problem: According to this verse, “the sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged” (cf. Job 21:7). Yet elsewhere the Bible says, “the years of the wicked will be shortened” (Prov. 10:27; cf. Ecc. 8:13).

Solution: The texts that speak of the wicked living short lives affirm the general principle that such living tends to shorten human life. Whatever exceptions there are prove the general rule. The texts that speak of the wicked living long lives speak only of some, not all. These become the occasion of the godly cry as to why? The answer, of course, is that not all justice is accomplished in this life.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.