of Solomon's Temple Complex in Israel
The words of the Preacher,
the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, saith
the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
What profit hath a man
of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? One generation
passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth
The sun also ariseth,
and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north;
it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according
to his circuits.
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. All things are full
of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with
seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
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.
Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new?
it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
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. (Ecclesiastes 1:1-11
- The Book
- The title of this book
in Hebrew, Qoeheleth (6953), is the word translated "Preacher"
in one, verse one. The English title is a transliteration of
the title in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old
Testament. The Greek word Ekklesiastes, which means "speaker
of a called out assembly," is derived from the word ekklesia
(1577), which is the Testament word for "church."
Solomon's name does not explicitly appear in the text,
but tradition has uniformly ascribed the book to him. In verse
one, the author describes himself as the "son of David,
king in Jerusalem." Though other "sons" of David
did become king in Jerusalem, the contents of the book and the
facts about the author, make it clear that it was Solomon. No
one could to be over Jerusalem and as wise as Solomon (EccI.
- Furthermore, who else
had wherewithal to build and acquire goods that Solomon had (Eccl.
2:3 -8)? Likewise, are any so well known for the setting forth
of many proverbs (EccI. 12:9)? It seems that Solomon, after a
lifetime of seeking after the things of this world, was brought
to repentance by the rebuke of the Lord (1 Kgs. 11:9 -13).
- Most likely, he sat
down at this time and wrote, under the inspiration of the Holy
Spirit, about the vanity of his worldly pursuits and attempts
to find peace and joy in temporal things. The application of
this book to the Christian life is seen in that Solomon is cautioning
those who know Christ as their personal Savior to return from
their prodigal ways. Those who are not saved are warned by Solomon's
own example eat its best is but vanity without Christ.
The perspective of Solomon at the time he wrote is the
key to the proper understanding of the Book of Ecclesiastes and
to explaining its general pessimism. Solomon writes from the
perspective by which he had lived most of his life, that of one
"under the sun" (Eccl. 1:3 and 30 other occurrences!)
It is from the earthly, secular perspective that life becomes
futile. Yet even so, there are times when Solomon's faith in
God is made known (Eccl.12:13, 14 is usually referred to, but
this is only the climax of thoughts like 2:25; 3:11; 17; 8:12;
Solomon's consideration of life without God led him to
the assessment that life is unjust. Oppression goes on, the wicked
prosper, and the fruits of man's labor pass from his control
(Eccl. 1:15; 2:21; 4:1, 8; 6:2; 7:15). Not only this, but the
Preacher ended up like the pleasure-seekers of today; "You
may as well enjoy yourself, because it will soon be all over"
(Eccl. 2:24; 3:12; 5:18; 8:15; 9:7 -10).
Countless lives throughout history have confirmed the
Preacher's findings; wisdom, pleasure, alcohol, human achievement,
great riches, sex - all lead to emptiness, "vanity,"
if there is not a proper relationship to God (EccI. 1:13; 2:1,
3, 8, 10, 12). [Source for Introduction of chapter:
Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible KJV edited by Spiros Zodhiates,
Th.D. AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, TN 37422]