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Book of Ecclesiastes


Authorship and Origin:

Traditionally, this book is said to have been written by Solomon toward the end of his rule, when his foreign wives had turned his heart from God. The author claims to be a king in Jerusalem whose wisdom surpasses all preceding wise men. This would be around 940 - 930 B.C..

Overview and Significant sections

Ecclesiastes is like no other book in the Bible. The Hebrew title ('Qoheleth') means assembly speaker, and the book appears to be a philosophical discourse. There are many apparent contradictions between statements in Ecclesiastes and other Old Testament books. For example, verse 9:5 says 'the dead know nothing; they have no further reward', contradicts with the Biblical view of life after death, heaven, etc.. Solomon says his views are based on his own reasoning and 'what is done under the sun'. Solomon tried to determine life's meaning using his own ability of observation and experience. He ruled out revelation, and makes no mention of covenants, the Law, or the Lord's intervention in history. This book therefore cannot be treated as a communication of truth from God, but rather as an inspired report of Solomon's reasoning. There is a message from the book however - life is meaningless apart from the perspective on life that God's Word provides.

Significant sections:

  • Prologue - all is meaningless (vanity) 1:1-1:11
  • Proving the theme - all is meaningless including knowledge, pleasure, work, ... 1:12-6:12
  • Deductions and assumptions now that the theme is proven. (therefore, How to live) 7:1-12:8
  • Final conclusions and epilogue 12:9-12:14

For more detailed study:
Read Chapter 1. (the entire book is available starting here.)
The Concise Matthew Henry Commentary on this book. introduction of this book.
the World Wide Study Bible has Dictionary, Commentary, Scripture and sermons available on this book.