Known as the 'Preacher's Book'. It's theme is the modern word 'frustration'.
Vanity is the 'emptiness of life and the frustration of the spirit'.
This book was likely the work of Solomon.
Verse 1 states this is the son of David. Verse 12 states his kingship over all Israel. We also have the statements of wealth and wisdom.
Did Solomon come to frustration – vanity and vexation of spirit?
This is the book of a man who gave in to the lusts of the world, to selfishness and sensuality, and has paid the penalty in satiety and weariness of spirit.
Satiety is an excess of gratification which excites wearisomeness or lothing; state of being glutted.
A glutton is one eager of any thing to excess, wanting to destroy.
Destroy his spirit perhaps?
Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
No man has ever lived sinless, even Solomon with all his wisdom and understanding. Yet he fell the hardest. Christ was the perfect example of our Way.
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: in which case you should not do the things that you desire.
Solomon loved many strange women. Women of other races.
When Solomon was old, his wives turned away his heart after other gods.
3 Neither shalt you make marriages with them (other races); your daughter you shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt you take unto your son.
4 For they will turn away your son from following Me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of Yahweh be kindled against you, and destroy you suddenly.
Solomon is uses as an example to show that even the best of us will fail. But we must choose the Spirit over the flesh always. Money, sex, or material things cannot buy true happiness.
Solomon writes of:
The wearisome repetition of things done over and over again. (1:9)
The endless cycle of birth and death. (1:4)
The unvarying sunrise and sunset. (1:5)
The unceasing age long ebb and flow of rivers and seas. (1:7)
The futility of riches. (5:15, 7:12)
The emptiness of power. (4:1)
The 'higher power' that rules in the lives of men. (3:1-8)
The inevitable end. (8:8)
Finally an epilogue. (12:13)
The conclusion is of the duty of man.
Fear Yahweh and Keep His Commandments. (12:13-14)
This book may be the confession of Solomon after his departure from Yahweh.
Did he ever repent and atone? It's not revealed. But we pray he did.
Ecclesiastes in Hebrew is Qoheleth. A collector or assembler of sentences. A speaker of an assembly.
Solomon referred to himself as The Assembler. The Qoheleth.
Ecclesiastes 1:1 The words of the Preacher (Qoheleth), the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
1:2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher (Qoheleth), vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
5 Behold, You hast made my days old; and my existence is as nothing before You: nay, every man living is altogether vanity. Pause.
6 Surely man walks in a shadow; nay, he is disquieted in vain: he lays up treasures, and knows not for whom he shall gather them.
Psalm 62:9 Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.
1:3 What profit (advantage) hath a man (Adam) of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?
Under the sun is used as, In this world, alone, without Yahweh.
1:4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
Psalm 119:90 Your faithfulness is unto all generations: You hast established the earth, and it abideth.
Sirach 14:18 As of the green leaves on a thick tree, some fall, and some grow; so is the generation of flesh and blood, one cometh to an end, and another is born.
1:5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he (it) arose.
4 Their line is gone out through all the land, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,
5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
6 His going forth is from the end of the sky, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
1:6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his (it's) circuits.
John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and you hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
1:7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
The process of evaporation. The cycle of water from the earth to the air to the rivers and seas.
1:8 All things are full of labour (wearisome); man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
Proverbs 27:20 Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.
1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun (in this world).
1:10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
Septuagint: 10 Who is he that shall speak and say, Behold, this is new? it has already been in the ages that have passed before us.
1:11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.
1:12 I the Preacher (Qoheleth) was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
1:13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out (examine) by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven (the sky): this sore travail (evil task) hath God given to the sons of man (Adam) to be exercised therewith.
Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of your face shalt you eat bread, till you return unto the ground; for out of it wast you taken: for dust you art, and unto dust shalt you return.
1:14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun (in this world); and, behold, all is vanity and vexation (waywardness, longing) of spirit.
1:15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.
1:16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. (1Ki 4:29-31; Sirach 47:14-18)
1:17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation (striving) of spirit.
Septuagint: 17 And my heart knew much--wisdom, and knowledge, parables and understanding: I perceived that this also is waywardness of spirit.
1:18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
Septuagint: 18 For in the abundance of wisdom is abundance of knowledge; and he that increases knowledge will increase sorrow.
VANITY n. [L. vanitas, from vanus, vain.]
1. Emptiness; want of substance to satisfy desire
2. Fruitless desire or endeavor.
3. Trifling labor that produces no good.
4. Emptiness; untruth
5. Empty pleasure; vain pursuit; idle show; unsubstantial enjoyment.
6. Ostentation; arrogance.
7. Inflation of mind upon slight grounds; empty pride, inspired by an overweening conceit of one's personal attainments or decorations.
Vanity is the food of fools.
Ecclesiastes 2:1 I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove you with mirth (pleasure), therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.
The parable of the rich man may just be about Solomon. Luke 12:16-34
Luke 12:19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you hast much goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
2:2 I said of laughter, It is mad(ness): and of mirth, What doeth it?
2:3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting (guiding) mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men (Adam), which they should do under the heaven (sky) all the days of their life.
Septuagint: 3 And I examined whether my heart would excite my flesh as with wine, (though my heart guided me in wisdom,) and I desired to lay hold of mirth, until I should see of what kind is the good to the sons of men, which they should do under the sun all the days of their life.
2:4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:
2:5 I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:
2:6 I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:
2:7 I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born (to me) in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: (1Ki 4:23)
2:8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar (personal) treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men (Adam), as musical instruments, and that of all sorts. (1 Ki 9:28; 10:23-27; 2Chr 9:22-27)
2:9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. (1Chr 29:25)
2:10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.
2:11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation (waywardness) of spirit, and there was no profit (advantage) under the sun.
2:12 And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done.
Septuagint: 12 Then I looked on to see wisdom, and madness, and folly: for who is the man who will follow after counsel, in all things where in he employs it?
2:13 Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.
2:14 The wise man's eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.
2:15 Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why (to what purpose) was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.
The Septuagint also has: “...I said moreover in my heart, This is also vanity, because the fool speaks of his abundance.”
2:16 For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.
2:17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous (evil) unto me: for all is vanity and vexation (waywardness) of spirit.
2:18 Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should (must) leave it unto the man (Adam) that shall be after me.
Psalm 49:10 For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.
2:19 And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.
2:20 Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair (dismiss) of all the labour which I took under the sun.
2:21 For there is a man (Adam) whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man (Adam) that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.
Solomon's son Rehoboam would be his heir here. Rehoboam did evil in Yahweh's sight.
2:22 For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation (striving) of his heart (mind), wherein he hath laboured under the sun?
2:23 For all his days are sorrows, and his travail (task) grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.
Job 5:7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.
Job 14:1 Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.
2:24 There is nothing better for a man (Adam), than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.
2:25 For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I?
Septuagint: 25 For who shall eat, or who shall drink, without Him?
2:26 For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner He giveth travail (task), to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation (waywardness) of spirit.
Job 32:8 But truly it is the spirit in man and the breath of the Almighty that gives him understanding.
Proverbs 2:6 For Yahweh giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 To every thing there is a season (appointed time), and a time to every purpose under the heaven (the sky):
3:2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
3:3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
3:5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
3:6 A time to get (acquire), and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
3:7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
3:8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
3:9 What profit (advantage) hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?
3:10 I have seen the travail (task), which God hath given to the sons of men (Adam) to be exercised (concerned) in it.
3:11 He hath made every thing beautiful in His time: also He hath set the world (future) in their heart, so that no man (Adam) can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!
3:12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.
3:13 And also that every man (Adam) should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.
3:14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put (added) to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before Him.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
3:15 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.
3:16 And moreover I saw under the sun (in this world) the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.
Septuagint: 16 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, there was the ungodly one; and the place of righteousness, there was the godly one.
The “churches”, the government, the people, all filled with iniquity.
3:17 I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
3:18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate (matter) of the sons of men (Adam), that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
3:19 For that which befalleth the sons of men (Adam) befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man (Adam) hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
3:20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
3:21 Who knoweth the spirit of man (the son of Adam) that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth (ground)?
3:22 Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man (Adam) should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?
Ecclesiastes 4:1 So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun (in this world): and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they (the oppressed) had no comforter.
4:2 Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.
Job 3:17 There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest.
4:3 Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun (in this world).
4:4 Again, I considered all travail (labor), and every right (skilled) work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation (waywardness) of spirit.
4:5 The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.
Proverbs 6:10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
4:6 Better is an handful with quietness (rest), than both the hands full with travail (labor) and vexation (waywardness) of spirit.
16 Better is little with the fear of Yahweh than great treasure and trouble therewith.
17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.
4:7 Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun (in this world).
4:8 There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail (an evil task).
1John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
4:9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. Cooperation
4:10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Brotherhood
4:11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
4:12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
4:13 Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.
Septuagint ends as: “...who knows not how to take heed any longer.”
4:14 For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.
4:15 I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead (each one' place).
4:16 There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation (waywardness, striving) of spirit.
Ecclesiastes 5:1 Keep your foot when you goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.
Exodus 3:5 And He (Yahweh) said (to Moses), Draw not nigh hither: put off your shoes from off your feet, for the place whereon you standest is holy ground.
5:2 Be not rash with your mouth, and let not your heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven (the sky), and you upon earth (land): therefore let your words be few.
5:3 For a dream cometh through the multitude of business (trial, task); and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words.
5:4 When you vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for He hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which you hast vowed.
Numbers 30:2 If a man vow a vow unto Yahweh, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.
Deuteronomy 23:21 When you shalt vow a vow unto Yahweh your God, you shalt not slack to pay it: for Yahweh your God will surely require it of you; and it would be sin in you.
Psalm 66:13 I enter Your house with ascending offerings; I complete my vows to You,
66:14 That which my lips have uttered And my mouth spoke in my distress.
5:5 Better is it that you shouldest not vow, than that you shouldest vow and not pay.
Proverbs 20:25 It is a snare to a man hastily to consecrate some of his own property: for in that case repentance comes after vowing.
Acts 5:4 Whiles it remained, was it not your own? and after it was sold, was it not in your own power? why hast you conceived this thing in your heart? you hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
5:6 Suffer not your mouth to cause your flesh to sin; neither say you before the angel (the presence of God), that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at your voice, and destroy the work of your hands?
5:7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear (hold in awe) you God.
5:8 If you seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.
Septuagint: “...for there is a high one to watch over him that is high, and high ones over them.”
Psalm 12:5 For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith Yahweh; I will set them in safety, whom the wicked hath snared..
Psalm 58:11 So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily He is a God that judgeth in the earth.
5:9 Moreover the profit of the earth (land) is for all: the king himself is served by the field.
5:10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.
5:11 When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?
5:12 The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.
5:13 There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun (in this world), namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.
5:14 But those riches perish by evil travail (bad buisiness): and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand.
5:15 As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.
Job 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: Yahweh gave, and Yahweh hath taken away; blessed be the name of Yahweh.
Psalm 49:17 For when he dies he takes none of it; His wealth does not go down after him.
1Timothy 6:7 For we brought naught into the world, and it is impossible to take any out.
5:16 And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?
5:17 All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.
Septuagint: 16 Yea, all his days are in darkness, and in mourning, and much sorrow, and infirmity, and wrath.
Psalm 127:2 It is vain for you to rise early: you rise up after resting, you that eat the bread of grief; while He gives sleep to His beloved.
5:18 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun (in this world) all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.
5:19 Every man (Adam) also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.
5:20 For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.
Septuagint: 19 For he shall not much remember the days of his life; for God troubles him in the mirth of his heart.
Ecclesiastes 6:1 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun (in this world), and it is common among men (Adam):
6:2 A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger (alien) eateth it: this is vanity, and it is an evil disease (calamity).
Yahweh blessed America, yet the aliens eat of it.
6:3 If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth (stillborn) is better than he.
6:4 For he cometh in with vanity, and departeth in darkness (ignorance), and his name shall be covered with darkness.
6:5 Moreover he hath not seen the sun, nor known any thing (rest): this hath more rest than the other.
6:6 Yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, yet hath he seen no good: do not all go to one place?
6:7 All the labour of man (Adam) is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.
Proverbs 16:26 He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.
6:8 For what hath the wise more than the fool? what hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living?
Septuagint: “... since even the poor knows how to walk in the direction of life?
6:9 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation (waywardness) of spirit.
6:10 That which hath been is named already, and it is known that it is man (Adam): neither may he contend with Him that is mightier than he.
Job 9:32 For You art not man like me, with whom I could contend, that we might come together to judgment.
6:11 Seeing there be many things that increase vanity, what is man (Adam) the better?
6:12 For who knoweth what is good for man (Adam) in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man (Adam) what shall be after him under the sun (in this world)?
Ecclesiastes 7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.
Proverbs 22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
7:2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men (Adam); and the living will lay it to his heart.
7:3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.
2Corinthians 7:10 For that grief which is by Yahweh accomplishes repentance for preservation not to be regretted, but the grief of the Society accompishes death.
7:4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
7:5 It is better to hear the rebuke (reproof) of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.
7:6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.
7:7 Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.
7:8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
7:9 Be not hasty in your spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
Proverbs 14:17 He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.
James 1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
7:10 Say not you, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for you dost not enquire wisely concerning this.
7:11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.
7:12 For wisdom is a defence (shelter), and money is a defence (shelter): but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.
7:13 Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which He hath made crooked?
The Spirit is straight, the flesh is crooked.
7:14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man (Adam) should find nothing after him.
7:15 All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.
7:16 Be not righteous over much; neither make yourself over wise: why shouldest you destroy yourself?
Proverbs 25:16 Hast you found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for you, lest you be filled therewith, and vomit it.
7:17 Be not over much wicked, neither be you foolish: why shouldest you die before your time?
31 Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence.
32 It shall be accomplished before his time, and his branch shall not be green.
7:18 It is good that you shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not your hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.
7:19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.
7:20 For there is not a just man (Adam) upon earth (land), that doeth good, and sinneth not.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
7:21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest you hear your servant curse you:
7:22 For oftentimes also your own heart knoweth that you yourself likewise hast cursed others.
7:23 All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.
7:24 That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out?
Job 28:12 But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?
1Timothy 6:16 (Yahshua) Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!
7:25 I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:
7:26 And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.
3 For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:
4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.
7:27 Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher (Qoheleth), counting one by one, to find out the account:
7:28 Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man (Adam) among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found.
7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man (Adam) upright; but they have sought out many inventions.
Ecclesiastes 8:1 Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? a man's (Adam's) wisdom maketh his face (countenance) to shine, and the boldness of his face shall be changed.
Septuagint: “...A man's wisdom will lighten his countenance; but a man of shameless countenance will be hated.”
8:2 I counsel you to keep the king's commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.
Septuagint: 2 Observe the commandment of the king, and that because of the word of the oath of God.
1Chronicles 29:24 And all the princes, and the mighty men, and all the sons likewise of king David, submitted themselves unto Solomon the king.
8:3 Be not hasty to go out of His sight: stand not in an evil thing; for He doeth whatsoever pleaseth Him.
8:4 Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest you?
8:5 Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment.
8:6 Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man (Adam) is great upon him.
8:7 For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?
8:8 There is no man (Adam) that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.
6 They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;
7 None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:
8:9 All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun (in this world): there is a time wherein one man (Adam) ruleth over another (Adam) to his own hurt.
8:10 And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done: this is also vanity.
8:11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men (Adam) is fully set in them to do evil.
8:12 Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before Him:
8:13 But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.
8:14 There is a vanity which is done upon the earth (land); that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity.
8:15 Then I commended mirth, because a man (Adam) hath no better thing under the sun (in this world), than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun (in this world).
8:16 When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth (land): (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:)
8:17 Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man (Adam) cannot find out the work that is done under the sun (in this world): because though a man (Adam) labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.
8 I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause:
9 Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number:
Make the best of this life
Ecclesiastes 9:1 For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man (Adam) knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them.
9:2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.
3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
12 Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.
13 Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.
9:3 This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun (in this world), that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men (Adam) is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.
9:4 For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
9:5 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.
Job 14:21 His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.
Isaiah 63:16 Doubtless You art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: You, O Yahweh, art our father, our redeemer; Your name is from everlasting.
8 The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no more: Your eyes are upon me, and I am not.
9 As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more.
10 He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more.
9:6 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 (in this world).
9:7 Go your way, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth your works.
9:8 Let your garments be always white; and let your head lack no ointment.
9:9 Live joyfully with the wife whom you lovest all the days of the life of your vanity, which he hath given you under the sun (in this world), all the days of your vanity: for that is your portion in this life, and in your labour which you takest under the sun (in this world).
9:10 Whatsoever your hand findeth to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither you goest.
9:11 I returned, and saw under the sun (in this world), that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
Amos 2:14 Therefore the flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not strengthen his force, neither shall the mighty deliver himself:
Jeremiah 9:23 Thus saith Yahweh, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches:
9:12 For man (Adam) also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men (Adam) snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.
9:13 This wisdom have I seen also under the sun (in this world), and it seemed great unto me:
9:14 There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it:
9:15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man (Adam) remembered that same poor man.
16 Then cried a wise woman out of the city, Hear, hear; say, I pray you, unto Joab, Come near hither, that I may speak with you.
17 And when he was come near unto her, the woman said, Art you Joab? And he answered, I am he. Then she said unto him, Hear the words of your handmaid. And he answered, I do hear.
18 Then she spake, saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter.
19 I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel: you seekest to destroy a city and a mother in Israel: why wilt you swallow up the inheritance of Yahweh?
20 And Joab answered and said, Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy.
21 The matter is not so: but a man of mount Ephraim, Sheba the son of Bichri by name, hath lifted up his hand against the king, even against David: deliver him only, and I will depart from the city. And the woman said unto Joab, Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall.
22 Then the woman went unto all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and cast it out to Joab. And he blew a trumpet, and they retired from the city, every man to his tent. And Joab returned to Jerusalem unto the king.
9:16 Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.
9:17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.
9:18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.
Wise men and fools
Ecclesiastes 10:1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary (spice) to send forth a stinking savour (odor): so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.
Septuagint: “...and a little wisdom is more precious than great glory of folly.”
10:2 A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left.
10:3 Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.
Proverbs 13:16 Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.
Proverbs 18:2 A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.
10:4 If the spirit of the ruler rise up against you, leave not your place; for yielding (soothing) pacifieth great offences.
10:5 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun (in this world), as an error which proceedeth from the ruler:
10:6 Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.
Esther 3:1 After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him.
10:7 I have seen servants upon horses, and princes (nobles) walking as servants upon the earth (land).
10:8 He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him.
Psalm 7:15 He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.
Proverbs 26:27 Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.
Sirach 27:26 Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that setteth a trap shall be taken therein.
27:27 He that worketh mischief, it shall fall upon him, and he shall not know whence it cometh.
10:9 Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby.
10:10 If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet (sharpen) the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.
10:11 Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.
Septuagint: 11 If a serpent bite when there is no charmer's whisper, then there is no advantage to the charmer.
Bite is 'nashak', meaning to strike with a sting (as a serpent); figuratively, to oppress with interest on a loan: - bite, lend upon usury.
10:12 The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.
14 Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.
32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness (perverse).
10:13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.
10:14 A fool also is full of words: a man (Adam) cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?
10:15 The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.
10:16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes (officials) eat in the morning!
4 And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.
5 And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable.
Isaiah 5:11 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!
10:17 Blessed art you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, and your princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!
Proverbs 31:4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel (symbolic name for Solomon), it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
Septuagint: Proverbs 31:4 A righteous king establishes a country: but a transgressor destroys it.
10:18 By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through (leaks, falls to pieces).
10:19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.
Septuagint: “...but to money all things will humbly yield obedience.”
Psalm 104:15 And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart.
10:20 Curse not the king, no not in your thought; and curse not the rich in your bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.
Exodus 22:28 You shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of your people.
Acts 23:5 Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he (Ananias) was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of your people.
Ecclesiastes 11:1 Cast your bread (wise words) upon the waters: for you shalt find it after many days.
11:2 Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for you knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth (land).
Psalm 112:9 He hath dispersed, He hath given to the poor; His righteousness endureth for ever; His horn shall be exalted with honour.
11:3 If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth (land): and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.
11:4 He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.
11:5 As you knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so you knowest not the works of God who maketh all.
11:6 In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening withhold not your hand: for you knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.
11:7 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:
11:8 But if a man (Adam) live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.
11:9 Rejoice, O young man, in your youth; and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth, and walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes: but know you, that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.
11:10 Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.
Septuagint: “... for youth and folly are vanity. ”
2Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Psalm 39:5 Behold, You hast made my days as an handbreadth (extended, spread out); and mine age is as nothing before You: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.
Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when you shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
12:2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:
12:3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders (of grain) cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,
12:4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding (mill) is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick (song) shall be brought low;
12:5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man (Adam) goeth to his long (eternal) home, and the mourners go about the streets:
Septuagint: “... and the caper (desire) shall be scattered: because man has gone to his eternal home, and the mourners have gone about the market:”
12:6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of your face shalt you eat bread, till you return unto the ground; for out of it wast you taken: for dust you art, and unto dust shalt you return.
12:8 Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher (Qoheleth); all is vanity.
12:9 And moreover, because the preacher (Qoheleth) was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.
1Kings 4:32 And he (Solomon) spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.
12:10 The preacher (Qoheleth) sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright (correct), even words of truth.
12:11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened (driven, planted) by the masters of assemblies (collections), which are given from one shepherd.
A goad as a noun is, a pointed instrument used to stimulate a beast to move faster.
A goad as a verb means, to incite; to stimulate; to instigate; to urge forward.
12:12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man (Adam).
Deuteronomy 10:12 And now, Israel, what doth Yahweh your God require of you, but to fear Yahweh your God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Ecclesiastes – CHURCH DOCTRINE VS. SCRIPTURE
Below are 3 sources of what the modern churches preach today about the book of Ecclesiastes.
The purpose is to expose the apostasy and perversion of the scriptures, and to educate our people about the truth of our heritage. That we, the anglo-saxon race who are the descendants of ancient Israel, are the people of Abraham's seed and therefore the heirs of the promises of Yahweh. Not the Jews who distort and pervert the scriptures and teach the 'traditions of men'.
The book of Ecclesiastes contains Proverbs, maxims, sayings, and is largely an autobiographical story. Solomon wrote it late in his life, approximately 935 B.C. He had become aware of the mistakes that he made throughout his life and began to document them. The purpose of Ecclesiastes is to spare future generations the suffering and misery of seeking after foolish, meaningless, materialistic emptiness, and to offer wisdom by discovering truth in seeking after God.
It appears that Solomon once again, wants to teach the reader wisdom, “I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with” (1:13).
• Chapter 1-2, deal with Solomon’s personal experiences throughout his life. He describes that everything he sought was selfish pleasure and meant nothing eternally. Generally, he speaks concerning the meaning of life, “I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after the wind.” (1:14). Solomon, the man whom God gave the most wisdom; sought after, researched, and tried everything in an attempt to find lasting happiness, and came to this conclusion: “All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after the wind and there was no profit under the sun.” (2:10-11).
• In chapters 3-5, Solomon gives common explanations and observations. One in particular is 5:15, “As he had come naked from his mother’s womb, so will he return...”, speaking of everyone who dies takes nothing with him; possessions, in the end, are ultimately useless. As tough as it is, our sinful nature naturally gravitates toward materialism.
• Chapters 6-8, Solomon gives advice for having a meaningful life, “Consider the work of God, for who is able to straighten what He has bent?” (7:13).
• In chapters 9-12, Solomon writes a conclusion that clears up the entire book, everyone will eventually die and all the deeds of man are vanity (useless) without God; our obedience must be to Him. “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.” (12:13).
Summary of the Book of Ecclesiastes
Author and Date
No time period or writer's name is mentioned in the book, but several passages suggest that King Solomon may be the author (1:1,12,16; 2:4-9; 7:26-29; 12:9; cf. 1Ki 2:9; 3:12; 4:29-34; 5:12; 10:1-8).
Purpose and Teaching
The author of Ecclesiastes puts his powers of wisdom to work to examine the human experience and assess the human situation. His perspective is limited to what happens "under the sun" (as is that of all the wisdom teachers). He considers life as he has experienced and observed it between the horizons of birth and death -- life within the boundaries of this visible world. His wisdom cannot penetrate beyond that last horizon; he can only observe the phenomenon of death and perceive the limits it places on human beings. Within the limits of human experience and observation, he is concerned to spell out what is "good" for people to do. And he represents a devout wisdom. Life in the world is under God -- for all its enigmas. Hence what begins with "Meaningless! Meaningless!" (1:2) ends with "Remember your Creator" (12:1) and "Fear God and keep his commandments" (12:13).
With a wisdom matured by many years, he takes the measure of human beings, examining their limits and their lot. He has attempted to see what human wisdom can do (1:13,16-18; 7:24; 8:16), and he has discovered that human wisdom, even when it has its beginning in "the fear of the Lord" (Pr 1:7), has limits to its powers when it attempts to go it alone -- limits that circumscribe its perspectives and relativize its counsel. Most significantly, it cannot find out the larger purposes of God or the ultimate meaning of human existence. With respect to these it can only pose questions.
Nevertheless, he does take a hard look at the human enterprise -- an enterprise in which he himself has fully participated. He sees a busy, busy human ant hill in mad pursuit of many things, trying now this, now that, laboring away as if by dint of effort humans could master the world, lay bare its deepest secrets, change its fundamental structures, somehow burst through the bounds of human limitations, build for themselves enduring monuments, control their destiny, achieve a state of secure and lasting happiness -- people laboring at life with an overblown conception of human powers and consequently pursuing unrealistic hopes and aspirations.
He takes a hard look and concludes that human life in this mode is "meaningless," its efforts all futile.
What, then, does wisdom teach him?
Humans cannot by all their striving achieve anything of ultimate or enduring significance. Nothing appears to be going anywhere (1:5-11), and people cannot by all their efforts break out of this caged treadmill (1:2-4;2:1-11); they cannot fundamentally change anything (1:12-15;6:10;7:13). Hence they often toil foolishly (4:4,7-8;5:10-17;6:7-9). All their striving "under the sun" (1:3) after unreal goals leads only to disillusionment.
Wisdom is better than folly (2:13-14; 7:1-6,11-12,19; 8:1,5; 9:17-18; 10:1-3,12-15; 12:11) -- it is God's gift to those who please him (2:26). But it is unwarranted to expect too much even from such wisdom -- to expect that human wisdom is capable of solving all problems (1:16-18) or of securing for itself enduring rewards or advantages (2:12-17;4:13-16;9:13-16).
Experience confronts humans with many apparent disharmonies and anomalies that wisdom cannot unravel. Of these the greatest of all is this: Human life comes to the same end as that of the animals -- death (2:15; 3:16-17; 7:15; 8:14; 9:1-3; 10:5-7).
Although God made humankind upright, people have gone in search of many "schemes" (for getting ahead by taking advantage of others; see 7:29; cf. Ps 10:2; 36:4; 140:2). So even humans are a disappointment (7:24-29).
People cannot know or control what will come after them, or even what lies in the more immediate future; therefore all their efforts remain balanced on the razor's edge of uncertainty (2:18;6:12;7:14;9:2).
God keeps humans in their place (3:16-22).
God has ordered all things (3:1-15;5:19;6:1-6;9:1), and a human being cannot change God's appointments or fully understand them or anticipate them (3:1;7;11:1-6). But the world is not fundamentally chaotic or irrational. It is ordered by God, and it is for humans to accept matters as they are by God's appointments, including their own limitations. Everything has its "time" and is good in its time (ch. 3).
Therefore wisdom counsels:
Accept the human state as it is shaped by God's appointments and enjoy the life you have been given as fully as you can.
Don't trouble yourself with unrealistic goals -- know the measure of human capabilities.
Be prudent in all your ways -- follow wisdom's leading.
"Fear God and keep his commandments" (12:13), beginning already in your youth before the fleeting days of life's enjoyments are gone and "the days of trouble" (12:1) come when the infirmities of advanced age vex you and hinder you from tasting, seeing and feeling the good things of life.
To sum up, Ecclesiastes provides instruction on how to live meaningfully, purposefully and joyfully within the theocratic arrangement -- primarily by placing God at the center of one's life, work and activities, by contentedly accepting one's divinely appointed lot in life, and by reverently trusting in and obeying the Creator-King.
Who wrote the book?
The title “Ecclesiastes” comes from a Greek word indicating a person who calls an assembly, so it makes sense that the author identified himself in Ecclesiastes 1:1 by the Hebrew word qoheleth, translated as “Preacher.” Despite leaving only this rather mysterious name to indicate his identity, evidence in the book, along with most Jewish and Christian tradition, suggests that King Solomon authored Ecclesiastes. Jews are not Israelites, they are of Cain and Esau. Jews are the opposite of Christians. Christians are children of Jacob. The Bible is the book of the generations of Adam and Jacob, true and pure blooded children of Yahweh. The Jews are a mixed blood race spawned by the Devil and Eve. The Jews and Christians have totally different traditions.
The Preacher went on to call himself “the son of David, king in Jerusalem,” one who has increased in “wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me,” and one who has collected many proverbs (Ecclesiastes 1:1, 16; 12:9). Solomon followed David on the throne in Jerusalem as the only Davidic son to rule over all Israel from that city (1:12). He was the wisest man in the world during his time (1 Kings 4:29–30) and wrote most of the book of Proverbs (Proverbs 1:1; 10:1; 25:1). Therefore, we can safely identify Solomon as the qoheleth of the opening verse.
Where are we?
With Solomon as the author of the book, we know it had to have been written sometime before his death in 931 BC. The content of Ecclesiastes reflects someone looking back on a life that was long on experience but short on lasting rewards. As king, he had the opportunity and resources to pursue the rewards of wisdom, pleasure, and work in and of themselves. Yet the world-weary tone of the writing suggests that late in life, he looked back on his folly with regret, pointing us to a better, simpler life lived in light of God’s direction (Ecclesiastes 12:13–14).
Why is Ecclesiastes so important?
Ecclesiastes presents us a naturalistic vision of life—one that sees life through distinctively human eyes—but ultimately recognizes the rule and reign of God in the world. This more humanistic quality has made the book especially popular among younger audiences today, men and women who have seen more than their fair share of pain and instability in life but who still cling to their hope in God.
What's the big idea?
Ecclesiastes, like much of life, represents a journey from one point to another. Solomon articulated his starting point early in the book: “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2), indicating the utter futility and meaninglessness of life as he saw it. Nothing made sense to him because he had already tried any number of remedies—pleasure, work, and intellect—to alleviate his sense of feeling lost in the world.
However, even in the writer’s desperate search for meaning and significance in life, God remained present. For instance, we read that God provides food, drink, and work (2:24); both the sinner and the righteous person live in God’s sight (2:26); God’s deeds are eternal (3:14); and God empowers people to enjoy His provision (5:19). Ultimately, the great truth of Ecclesiastes lies in the acknowledgment of God’s ever-present hand on our lives. Even when injustice and uncertainty threaten to overwhelm us, we can trust Him and follow after Him (12:13–14).
How do I apply this?
We all desire meaning in life. Often that search takes us along winding, up-and-down paths filled with bursts of satisfaction that shine bright for a time but eventually fade. In one sense, it’s satisfying to see that experience echoed throughout Ecclesiastes. An appreciation for our common humanity emerges from reading its pages. We relate to the journey of Solomon because, for so many of us, it is our own. When we attempt to find meaning in the pursuit of pleasure, the commitment to a job, or through plumbing intellectual depths, we all eventually find in each of these pursuits a dead end.
Ecclesiastes shows us a man who lived through this process and came out on the other side with a wiser, more seasoned perspective. When we’re surrounded by the temptation to proclaim life’s ultimate emptiness, we can find in Ecclesiastes a vision tempered by experience and ultimately seen through divinely colored lenses. Life is destined to remain unsatisfying apart from our recognition of God’s intervention. It only remains to be seen whether or not we will place our trust in His sure and able hands.
Have you struggled with misplaced pursuits in life? Does your life lack the meaning and purpose you desire? Hear the words of Solomon that they might encourage you to place your trust solely in the Lord.