Wealth, an Insatiable Desire… and Alfred Hitchcock

Ecclesiastes 6

Some time back I watched an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents from 1955; oh what a great show!

This episode was a story about a man who owned and operated a shop that sold antiquities, and opens with the shop owner speaking with a female customer who asks for a price on an object on the counter. The shop owner tells the lady that the item is not for sale. Then, the lady asks about another item, but it too isn’t for sale, and the shop owner seems irritated by the woman’s presence. Then a man enters and introduces himself as the son of one of the shop owner’s suppliers, and asks for a private word.

The men step into the office and the visitor tells the shop owner that he is behind with his bill and must pay $12,000.00 within two weeks or face foreclosure. Suddenly there is the sound of something braking and the shop owner rushes out of the office to discover that the woman has accidently broken an item in the shop. In the end, she writes a check for $1,000.00 to pay for the item she has broken. She leaves and the other man snaps the check out of the shop keeper’s hand and says, “Now you only owe $11,000.00. “Perhaps you should invite that lady back so she can break some more, since you can never bring yourself to actually sell any of your merchandise.” You see, the reason for his financial problems is that nothing was for sale in that shop; the man was hoarding antiquities, not selling them, for he is obsessed with owning them.

He goes home and demands that his wife give him 11K from her trust fund, and when she refuses, he kills her so he can inherit, which is how he pays his debt. But he must have more stuff, so he seeks out the lady from the first scene since she is obviously very wealthy, and in time marries her. Eventually, he is in the same mess again, and guess what the solution to the problem is?

Yes, exactly, she also must die!

Here, I have Ecclesiastes 6 to comment on, which describes the same kind of thing: wealth and our insatiable appetite for more: Meaningless, futile, empty, pointless… Vanity, chasing after the wind.

When the shop keeper wanted to kill his second wife, he tried to bring about the same “accident” that had killed his first wife, but the second wife and her lawyer had figured things out, and she avoided the trap. Right then, her lawyer calls and the man answers the phone. The lawyer demands to speak to his wife, and when she walks to the phone, she trips, falls, hits her head and is killed, the exact accident the man wanted to befall her, the same one he had arranged for his first wife, the same accident that the second wife and her lawyer were expecting, only this time it really was an accident, and our shop keeper will hang for a murder he failed to commit.

Meaningless, chasing after the wind! Amassing wealth cannot bring happiness under the sun.

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13 thoughts on “Wealth, an Insatiable Desire… and Alfred Hitchcock”

  1. Don, this is so true! I’ve been noticing this all around me lately, and it seems the worship of money has turned into the worship of security. We all security, and it sounds like such a good, moral thing to pursue…until it becomes our ultimate goal and conflicts with the mission God has for our lives. Thanks bringing this issue to light in such an accessible way!

  2. My kids and I watch all the old Alfred Hitchcock, Star Trek when Spock was young, and Sherlock Holmes with Basil Rathbone … they are the best and Hitchcock was really creepy before it was cool … He actually made some really great fables and parables come to life … Great read.

  3. My bible study group is going over Ecclesiastes. When the lady leading the study hit this chapter, she skipped it. Why? She said the wasn’t enough there to discuss. I was floored. She is quite serious about studying the Bible, I think she was frustrated with this chapter. Why? Not quite sure, but if we forget for a moment what Ecclesiastes is about, it can be dreadfully depressing, sort of like Alfred Hitchcock on steroids. Ecclesiastes 6 in particular.

    Love your neighbor. That’s a command few actually obey. Most love family and maybe some friends. Perhaps they regard those of their tribe, their religion, and their country as people, people deserving some sympathy, but the rest of the world? To understand how how someone who does know Jesus views the rest of the world we need to read Ecclesiastes and remember what it was like to live life under the sun.

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