Ecclesiastes 1

Introduction or prologue  1
The world goes nowhere 4
Nothing is new 9
I looked for wisdom; works of everywhere are vanity  12
Things made crooked remain so  15
The title for this book in Hebrew is Quoheleth. It means speaker to an assembled group. Evidence suggests that Solomon, in old age, called the people and spoke this book to them. The word, Ecclesiastes, is not an exact translation but is appropriate. More of the background is seen beginning at v12.
.1 ¶ The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
.2  Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
 3  What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?
  1 - Words Or "tidings," "report," "message, "story," "charge."
  1 - Preacher Or quoheleth. See above.
  1 - King in Jerusalem This identifies the writer as Solomon although he does not mention his name in the book. Compare so0101.
  2 - Vanity Verse 2 is the keynote of the book. And expanding the music metaphor, we read in a minor key. The word habel or habalim means breath or vapor (ps14404) and expresses the worthlessness of idols 2ki1715.
.4 ¶ One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
 5  The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
 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 circuits.
 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.
 8  All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
  4 - Generation Near the end of life a person has a new perspective. This follows the thought of v1. The Hebrew word for generation developed with the idea of instability. Thus the contrast with the earth ps09002.
   What do the poetic terms in these verses say? Now don't get depressed. God gives us hope and joy. Chapter 11 is upbeat ec11
  4 - For ever The meaning of the Hebrew word is not definite. It depends on the subject.
  5 - Sun also rises In English idiom, "so what"? Solomon was a student of nature. For example see pr0117-19, pr0606-9, pr2601-3, pr3110.
  6 - Wind From ruach, associated with movement.
  8 - Things From deboarim. In verse 1 it is translated "words." It is equivalent to the Greek, thema.
.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.
 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.
.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.
  9 - Hath been ... shall be A summary of previous verses. Do you agree that nothing is new? In a sense Solomon was right but consider re0509, re1403. These are pivotal points in salvation history. The songs were new.
  11 - No remembrance So what is the value of learning?
.12 ¶ I the Preacher was [have been] king over Israel in Jerusalem.
 13  And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.
 14  I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
  12 - Was The simple past tense here is often understood to be present or perfect.
  13 - Gave my heart Or "used my mind." "Heart" was considered the place of intelligence. This phrase or its equivalent is also in v17, ec0725, ec0809,16.
  14 - Works ... sun He was an observer of nature 
  14 - Vexation The word may come from the root, "to feed" or "to pasture." "Spirit" is equivalent to "wind." 
.15  That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.
 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.
 17  And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.
 18  For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
  15 - Crooked Should be "made crooked." Reference is to the works seen in the previous verse.
  "The pride of prosperity brought separation from God. From the joy of divine communion Solomon turned to find satisfaction in the pleasures of sense. A word-picture portraying this experience is given, in the language of Solomon himself, in the book of Ecclesiastes. '...I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure.'" (Review and Herald, Dec. 28, 1905, par. 11).


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