Ecclesiastes by Solomon

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.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

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.

Book Review
By Scarlett Stough
Title: Ecclesiastes
Author: Solomon
Publisher: Various translations and publishers.

Volume 12 Issue 8 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation | Book Review

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