For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.
Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.
Solomon just can’t seem to get beyond his “under the sun” perspective; life from the viewpoint of man is just not worth living. Once you are dead, all hope is gone, so live life with enjoyment; live it to the fullest!
Dogs were considered pretty useless. To be called a dog was a great insult. But here, Solomon says that even a living dog has more value than a strong, beautiful lion that is dead. In death, there is no more strength; there is no more beauty.
I think Solomon must have dreaded death. He describes at as simply no longer existing; even if you were famous, you will no longer be remembered. The only antidote to the hopelessness of life, the inevitability of death, is to take every bit of pleasure you can while you are living.
Even God accepts you while you are alive; apparently, though, Solomon felt that after you die, even God forgets all about you.
And yet, we have Job 19:25-27:
25 For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
This same knowledge was available to Solomon, but his emotions, his thinking, and his ability to see clearly about the eternity of the soul, were all clouded by his grim, under the sun, unbiblical outlook on life.