06 August 2012 ~ 2 Comments

The Race is Not Given to the Swift: Ecclesiastes vs. Tortoise and the Hare

Married couple holding hands

Over time, the saying “The Race is not given to the swift, but to those who endure to the end” has been erroneously attributed to the Bible. In reality, the first part of the quote is in the Bible, but the saying in its entirety comes from the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. “The race is not to the swift does appear in Ecclesiastes 9, but the scripture and the saying have very different meanings, although they both provide value to our lives and our marriages.

Tortoise and the Hare

The Race is NOT given to the Swift, but to those who Endure to the End

 Ecclesiastes 9:11

I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.

The Tortoise and the Hare version expresses what most people are expressing when they quote this saying: It isn’t about starting off at a fast pace, but sticking with your goal until the end that matters. Think about this in how it relates to marriage. Sometimes we feel like the “chemistry” –being hot and heavy and all over each other– is what’s most important. While chemistry and romance are always great, the real test of a marriage is being able to hold on and stick together through it all; holding on with the same tenacity through the hot and heavy as we do through the mundane.

The Ecclesiastes version, however, expresses something quite different. To me, it is saying that neither speed, nor strength, nor wisdom or any other attribute exempt you from time or chance. Life, with all of its ups and downs, happens to all of us. In relation to our marriage this means that no matter how strong your marriage, or passionate, or how often you make wise decisions, your marriage will enjoy happy times and face trials and tribulations. That no matter what, we aren’t promised to be spared trouble. Yet if you want to be able to stay together through all of it, just take a lesson from our friend the tortoise.

Did you know the differences between the Bible verse and the saying? What is your interpretation of both?

Find more verses explained and applied to your marriage:







2 Responses to “The Race is Not Given to the Swift: Ecclesiastes vs. Tortoise and the Hare”

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