What is Ecclesiastes?
(Koheleth), OR (as the name signifies) THE PREACHER, was written by Solomon toward the close of his splendid and eventful career as monarch of Israel, or by a later author, who impersonates Solomon and gives us the practical lesson of his sad experience. It corresponds to the old age of Solomon, as the Canticles to his youth and the Proverbs to his mature manhood. The design of the author evidently is, (1) To demonstrate the folly and madness of making this world, its pleasures, or its pursuits the objects of affection or hope; (2) To show the character, influence, and advantages of true wisdom or religion. The key-note is struck in the opening lines, repeated at the close, Ecc 12:8: "O vanity of vanities ! the Preacher saith; O vanity of vanities ! all is vanity." The practical lesson of the book is summed up in the concluding words, Ecc 12:13-14, which, literally rendered, read thus: "Fear God and keep his commandments. For this is all of man." The writer looks from the vanity beneath the sun to the eternal realities above the sun, and from the shifting scenes of this life to the judgment-seat of God, who will judge "every work, yea, every secret deed, both good and evil." The book represents Hebrew scepticism subdued and checked by the Hebrew fear of God and reaping lessons of wisdom from the follies of life. It is an ethical or philosophical treatise in prose, with regular logical divisions, but full of poetic inspiration, and in part also poetic in form, with enough of rhythmical flow to awaken a deep and emotional interest in these sad soliloquies of the author.
Bibliography Information Schaff, Philip, Dr. "Biblical Definition for 'ecclesiastes' in Schaffs Bible Dictionary". bible-history.com - Schaff's