James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.Ecclesiastes 7:1-9:11
The interval between this chapter and the preceding represents a pause in the writer’s thought, and now he seems to set out on a new quest for the chief good in life. He will seek it in wise conduct. He will renounce feasting and trying the opposite (Ecclesiastes 7:1-6); he will avoid extremes (Ecclesiastes 7:15-18); no one is perfectly righteous (Ecclesiastes 7:19-22); the worst thing he has found is woman (Ecclesiastes 7:23-26); and the conclusion is that man is indeed a fallen creature (Ecclesiastes 7:27-29). “Inventions” in this last verse is to be taken in the sense of “tricks, evil artifices, and conceits.”
The wise conduct which the preacher now proposes is to be exercised against temptations to disloyalty and rebellion in national and civic relations (Ecclesiastes 8:1-8); and against the oppressions of tyrants and other injustices (Ecclesiastes 8:9-13); and yet after considering it all, in his accustomed despair he reports to his favorite conclusion that there is “nothing in it,” and he had better enjoy himself anyway (Ecclesiastes 8:14-17).
This idea is carried over into chapter nine. The providence of God in human affairs in inscrutable (Ecclesiastes 9:1-3), therefore the only thing to do is to enjoy this life cheerfully, and use it as profitably as possible Ecclesiastes 8:7-12).