by Jackie Houchin
How many of you have ever read the Book (or parts of the book) of Ecclesiastes in the Bible? It’s in the Old Testament, right after Psalms and Proverbs (other excellent books to read!).
Ecclesiastes is written by King Soloman (the wise) toward the end of his life. He’s thinking back on all the “things” he has accumulated and accomplished. He calls them futile, useless, and vanity. It’s a bit depressing, however true.
Then in the last chapter he writes a fantastic – and rather gruesome – metaphor on aging, with a brilliant comment at the end. If you use metaphor in your writing, you will really appreciate it. If you are older and things about your body are “wearing out” (hearing, eyesight, energy, knees, memory) like me, you will maybe get a rueful kick out of it as well.
Here is King Solomon…
1Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
“I find no pleasure in them”—
2before the sun and the light
and the moon and the stars grow dark,
and the clouds return after the rain;
3when the keepers of the house tremble,
and the strong men stoop,
when the grinders cease because they are few,
and those looking through the windows grow dim;
4when the doors to the street are closed
and the sound of grinding fades;
when people rise up at the sound of birds,
but all their songs grow faint;
5when people are afraid of heights
and of dangers in the streets;
when the almond tree blossoms
and the grasshopper drags itself along
and desire no longer is stirred.
Then people go to their eternal home
and mourners go about the streets.
6Remember Him—before the silver cord is severed,
and the golden bowl is broken;
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
and the wheel broken at the well,
7and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
How many of those metaphors did you catch? I know personally about the diming vision and fading hearing, and definitely the white “almond blossom” hair! So far, my “grinders” are still in fair shape, but I know about energy lagging with that old grasshopper.
And then in conclusion the wise old king writes…
12But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out.
13That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. 14God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.
How have you used metaphors recently in your writing? Do you enjoy reading them when other writers use these methods…sparingly, of course?
**** If you want to learn more about Metaphors, Similes, Analogies, Allegories and Idioms to use in your writing, check out this article in The Free Dictionary for explanations and samples of each.
Photo by Matt Bennett on Unsplash
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®.
8 thoughts on “Metaphors by a Kingly Author”
How wise you are, Jackie, with your fascinating post. Lots to absorb, and I enjoyed reminding myself of similes, etc. with the Free Dictionary link, thank you for that. I am currently reading another ancient tome, the Maharabharata, which also contains many metaphors that can be applied to the present day. Oh, for a simple life…
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I always get metaphors, similes etc mixed up, so I bookmarked that Free Dictionary link. We use a lot in our speaking and don’t even know it!
Thanks for reading, Jill.
Interesting post! Bet I’ll be considering adding more similes and metaphors to my writing.
I didn’t realize those were metaphors because most of what he wrote was so clear to me, maybe because I have lived long enough to understand what we go through from other’s going through it or me myself. As long as we can see what life is, we won’t be surprised by a metaphor hitting us between the eyes.
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Well said, Gayle.
“and the dust returns to the ground it came from”
I love metaphors and similes…and sometimes they come naturally, and sometimes they hit you hard…
Great thoughtful post!
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Hope it wasn’t too dark an depressing. Did you all catch the phrase about “writing books?”
Similes and metaphors are always interesting. Thanks for the Dictionary link…