- Ecclesiastes 1:1-2:17
- The writer appears to be Solomon.
- Solomon (971-931 BC): I Kings 1-11; II Chronicles 1-9
- Blessed with wisdom, riches, and honor (I Kings 3)
- Built temple (I Kings 6-8)
- Wrote Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon
- Women: 700 wives, 300 concubines, “turned his heart away” (I Kings 11:3)
- Last king of the united kingdom
- Vanity / wind / evil / futility
- Under the sun
- The scope of the book is life “under the sun.” That helps explain these strange statements (Ecclesiastes 4:2-3; 10:18).
- Nothing new / things go in circles (Ecclesiastes 1:3-11)
- Death (Ecclesiastes 2:14-16)
- Hard work / possessions (Ecclesiastes 2:18-26)
- Pleasure (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11)
- Time / chance / random / unfair (Ecclesiastes 9:11)
- Wisdom (Ecclesiastes 9:13-18)
- Brutally realistic
- Contrast with Proverbs
|Living according to God’s will tends to lead to a happier, healthier life …||… but not always.|
|Emphasize the rules.||Emphasizes the exceptions to the rules.|
|Solomon as the wise father giving optimistic advice about how to prosper and succeed.||Solomon as the cranky old grandfather who says, “Life’s hard, then you die.”|
|“In all labor there is profit …” (Proverbs 14:23)||“Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me.” (Ecclesiastes 2:18)|
|“For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.” (Proverbs 2:10)||“in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain” (Ecclesiastes 1:18)|
Notes on the book
- Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 – Everything is circular and there is no progress.
- Ecclesiastes 1:7 – This seems to be a reference to the water cycle, which may be an example of scientific foreknowledge in the Bible.
- Ecclesiastes 1:12-18 – Solomon did the experimentation, so we don’t have to. He explored by wisdom but found only vanity.
- Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 – Solomon tried all sorts of pleasure, but never found fulfillment.
- Ecclesiastes 2:12-17 – Wisdom is better than folly, but will not save you from death.