The Book of Ecclesiastes
- Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant
curse thee: For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself
likewise hast cursed others.
12:13-14 - Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and
keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man. For God shall
bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether [it be] good,
or whether [it be] evil.
The Old Testament - A Brief Overview
Bible Survey - Ecclesiastes
Summary of The Book of Ecclesiastes
Hebrew Name - Qoheleth "the preacher"
Greek Name - Ekklesiastes (Greek form of the Hebrew)
Author - Solomon (According to Tradition)
Date - 977 BC Approximately
Theme - All pursuits in life are empty except fearing God and obeying His Word
Types and Shadows - In Ecclesiastes Jesus is true fulfillment
of Ecclesiastes. � �1:1-2:26 � � the preachers first sermon: the futility of
human wisdom� � 3:1-5:20 � �the preachers second sermon: life's unfulfilling
disappointments � � 6:1-8:17 � � the preachers third sermon: the futility of
wealth and fame � � 9:1-12:8 � � the preachers fourth sermon: God is in control
of the futility's in life � � 12:9-14 � � the preachers conclusion: true
fulfillment in life comes from fearing God and obeying His Word.
The book of Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon who was the wisest man in the
world, and in fact he was the embodiment of pure wisdom if you read his story.
There was no man better qualified to talk about life, because he tasted
everything in life to its fullest level, he had fame, wealth, power, women, and
everything that any man could ever wish for. He tested out everything in life
both with God and without God, and his conclusion was that everything "under the
sun" is futile, meaningless, purposeless, and empty, without God. His
encouragement is to remember the Lord while you are young, fear him, obey him,
and respect him. This is the true meaning and purpose in life, and the source of
The word "Ecclesiastes" is the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew word Koheleth,
or "the preacher." Solomon was the wisest man in the world, people came from all
over the world to hear his wisdom. He built the Temple in Jerusalem, he was the
son of King David, and he was chosen to impart his wisdom to us in the book of
Solomon had thoroughly experienced all avenues of pleasure, all avenues of sensuality,
all avenues of wealth, honor, folly,
and the pursuit of knowledge. He also sinned in giving way to every excess of life which
his position made possible and comes to the realization of the uselessness of it
all. He concludes that the result of his efforts have been made him empty and that
there is nothing new under the sun, but all is part of the endless, frustrating
circularity. His attitude was spoken in the recurring phrase, "vanity of vanities,
all is vanity, saith the preacher." In Ecclesiastes, the world is convicted of
its vanity by one who has drunk of every spring.
The conclusion which Solomon "the preacher" reaches is that in such an empty and
unsatisfying world where disappointment, trouble and death cannot be avoided, a
quiet enjoyment of God's gifts is the only real wisdom. The man who is truly
wise will "fear God and keep his commandments" (12:13-14), making the best of
things as he finds them and trusting in the providence of God. This secret
should be understood early in life. An understanding of this will provide one
with great pleasure in life. The book of Ecclesiastes profoundly illustrates the idea that a life apart from God is a
life without meaning.
Outline of the Book of Ecclesiastes
Ecclesiastes 1:1-2:26 - Sermon #1: The vanity of human wisdom. In this
section the preacher argues that human effort and human achievement are futile,
and he demonstrates this by talking about the futility of human life at every
stage in every generation. He goes on to discuss how empty human wisdom,
education and philosophy is. Also the enjoyments of pleasure as well as money
and wealth bring emptiness. Even the wisest of all men must eventually die, and
all of man's hard work and business and wealth are left to undeserving heirs.
Man should be content with all the provisions that God gives in life.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-5:20 - Sermon #2: Appreciate the divine laws governing
life. Life and death is a reality, and there is a proper time that has been
determined for every activity and every experience. God is the only one who
guarantees anything of value, and anything that lasts. Man will experience
punishment and men will experience death, this is universal for every man and
every beast. There is no certainty of what is beyond life from the human
perspective, so make the best of this present life in the eyes of God. There are
also disappointments in life, there is cruelty and there is misery and there is
affliction. There are disadvantages to those who succeed in life, and there are
penalties for those who are lazy and the greedy. The hardships in life are
better faced with a partner than alone, and if one succeeds in politics this is
also unstable. When someone seeks after whatever benefits himself this also is
futile. When you live your life or yourself, or sacrifice for others this is
folly, vain words and broken promises is also folly. When someone does you wrong
and they are paid back for their wrongdoing or for their greed this also is
folly. You can only find contentment in life when you're thankful and can enjoy
the gifts of God.
Ecclesiastes 6:1-8:17 - Sermon #3: There is no fulfillment in any earthly
pleasures or wealth. Gaining the whole world does not fulfill a man, there
is no long-lasting contentment in money or in having many children. There is no
great satisfaction in being educated in the world or being uneducated and a
fool. There is no real point in life other than God, one can receive a wise
counsel for a corrupt world, but true values come when someone is faced with
sorrow or death. There are problems with short-lived pleasures, and there are
also problems with gaining wealth dishonestly, and also getting angry easily. It
is better to be wise and to have great wealth when you're dealing with the
problems in life. You can have good luck or bad luck, these also come from God.
You can boast about your religious ideals and you can hire prostitute, both of
these lead to major problems in life. There is nothing greater than wisdom,
every man is a sinner and one should be aware of his actions. But man who has
much education cannot find spiritual truth. The greatest evil is an evil woman.
Every man has grown to become corrupt. The world is fallen, therefore respect
governmental authority. God's law exists in the universe despite the sorrows in
life and even death. The good person, or the unpunished evil person will
eventually meet God in judgment. Life has many problems and this may encourage
some that God's ways are beyond understanding.
Ecclesiastes 9:1-12:8 - Sermon #4: God will deal with the world's
injustices. Death will come upon everyone eventually, whether one is evil or
good, or even very good. When one dies all of their learning will come to an
end, those who are seeking God must let others see and take advantage of life.
Becoming successful is an uncertainty, and living a long life is difficult even
after trying. But wisdom, which goes unnoticed is greater than the strongest
force. Life is uncertain and yet there is folly. Just a little folly can ruin
your life. Take wise choices in front of important people especially rulers.
Your great wealth can turn away, and sin can make you miserable. The fool makes
conversation that is worthless and has no direction. It is important to have
direction in life and morality is important for nations and men. When you
despise authority you will be punished. There is a good way to spend your life,
be kind, do good to those who do good to you. Realize that God's laws are
established in nature and no one can alter them. It is wise to be happy in
whatever you put your hand to. There is punishment for those who are young that
are seeking lustful pleasures. Make a decision early in life to seek after God
for you become old.
Ecclesiastes 12:9-14 - Conclusion: The meaning of life in the light of
eternity. The book of Ecclesiastes was given to teach us the meaning of life,
which is to fear the Lord and to obey his word. This encouragement is more
valuable than every book they could ever be written in the whole world by all
the wisest men. God will come and his judgment will be final.
More About the Book of
Ecclesiastes in the Picture
Timeline of the Ancient
Back to the Old Testament
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The Story of the Bible - Part One - The Old Testament
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