Late in King Solomon's life, he wrote a summary of what he had learned in his long and apparently successful life.
He accumulated wealth. He had influence beyond his own nation. His wisdom is legendary even today. Yet he looked
back on all of that and called it "meaningless."
He described a life of power and luxury, but for most of it, he had ignored God who had allowed him all he had and
all he became. He was the king who built the temple his father David had dreamed of building; then he went on to
build temples to other gods of other nations. He describes the emptiness he felt as he realized it was all
"a chasing after the wind."
This book is a traditional reading for the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-43.) It was to be a memorial to
the time Israel lived in tents after leaving slavery in Egypt. It also looks forward to a time in the future when
not only Israel, but all nations will "go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to
celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles" (Zechariah 14:16-19.)
This book is a reminder of the temporary nature of this life and the only lasting purpose for it:
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man. For God will bring every deed into
judgment, whether it is good or evil.
I found the commentary in the Life Application Bible, (published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton,
Illinois and Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan) helpful in giving historical information.
The application commentary is also helpful as long as the reader takes into account the fallibility of our human
opinions. The text is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16-17), but the comments are based on human interpretations and
are often tainted by denominational bias.
The easiest way to learn is from other people's experiences. It's not as painful as learning the hard
way through one's own personal experience. Sadly, most of us end up having to learn the hard way. If we could
heed Solomon's warning, perhaps we could learn a little faster and a little less painfully.