Bible Symbolism in Ecclesiastes 9:8

Consider the following verse:

Ecclesiastes 9:8 Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.

What is it trying to tell us? Are we always supposed to wear white clothes and have oil on our head or in our hair?

Have you ever noticed verses in the Bible like this where it doesn’t make much literal sense? We know everything is in the Bible for a purpose and this verse and others like it are put there for us to mine the meaning, to dig for the deeper meaning of the text.

Note: When a verse doesn’t make literals sense, look for a symbolic message in the verse. (See Rule #11 in Rules for Symbolic Interpretation)

Ecclesiastes 9:8 has four symbols in it that will help explain the message that God put in the verse for our edification:

  • Garments
  • White
  • Head
  • Ointment / Oil

These four symbols now give our verse a deep meaning.

Symbolic Translation:

Let thy Character be always pure, and let your thoughts/mind never lack the Holy Spirit. (or Guidance of the Holy Spirit). Ecclesiastes 9:8

In other words, a pure character is guided by pure thoughts from the Holy Spirit.

Garments = Character


White = Purity

White Box

Head = Mind, or Thoughts


Ointment = Oil = Holy Spirit

Oil and Olives