A Three-stranded Cord

Ecclesiastes 4:9-11

9 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor.

10 For if they (either) fall, one will lift up his/her companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has not one to help him/her (them) up.

11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone?

12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Solomon’s experience with the independent men caused him to consider the importance of friendship and the value of people doing things together. As he penned these words, he may have recalled an old Jewish proverb, “A friendless man is like a left hand bereft of the right.”  In other words, a person without friends is like a man whose left hand is orphaned from his right hand.  Therefore he concluded that two people working together is better than one working alone.

Why? Why are two people better than one? Because two working together can get more done. They will enjoy each other company.  Even when they divide the profits from their work, they will have more than if working alone. It is also much easier to accomplish tasks of great size if two people are working together than alone. As they work together, they can encourage each other when things don’t go as planned.

In Palestine, walking paths led from city to city were often steep, filled with rocks and stones that could give way when stepped on. It was easy to trip and fall. Even the most experienced of travelers could stumble and fall. It was often resulting in broken bones or turned ankles, or even broken arms. How wonderful it was to have a friend that could help when you stumble and fall.

In the garden, Eve left the side of Adam.  Why? We are not told.  But she did and fell to the temptation of not trusting in God. She thought there was something better. Yet God had provided everything she would ever need.  If the first woman had stuck to the side of the first man, there would have been strength to withstand temptation. The first woman would not have stumbled.  Our Christian friends can help us walk straight and keep us from doing wrong. But we have another that has also promised to help us. And that is God in heaven.  He has promised to every help those in need.  He is only a prayer, a cry for help away.

As the passage says, two are better than one when it comes to warmth.  When this was written, two travelers camping out or even staying in the courtyard of a public inn would feel the cold of the Palestine night.  They needed each other for warmth.  If one did not have a companion to keep you warm, you must add to your already heavy burden by bringing extra blankets to stay warm.

Two are better than one so that while one rests, the other can watch over the other.  Palestine had many wild animals and even those who would wish to rob a traveler. Therefore, when traveling with another, one could watch over the care of the other, which segments us into verse twelve.  Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.

When one person attacks another with the intent to rob or kill, the person attacked could easily be killed. But there is strength in numbers.  If you unite with a friend, there is the power to withstand the attack and win. 

But the author finished with an exciting statement.  And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  What is Solomon trying to say?

A person alone is easily overpowered, could quickly get hurt, encounter burdens and work that is too great and difficulty staying warm when exposed to the elements.  But with a friend, these things become easier.  You have companionship, warmth, a shared workload, and can watch out for each other and pick each other up when we fall.  So there is strength when two people combine.  But as strong as a two-stranded cord or rope is, a three-stranded rope or cord is even stronger.  When we unite ourselves with others and add Christ, we now have a tree-stranded rope or cord.  It is a bond that is not quickly broken.

Published by The Bible In Your Hand

Hi, I am Pastor Lester Bentley, a devoted husband, father, and Pastor for the Northeastern Wyoming District of the Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. I am committed to the great gospel commission as stated in Matthew 28:19, 20.

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