All of my articles up to this point have been topical studies. Topics varying from Anxiety to Wisdom. Topics that we deal with in everyday life, that God gives us wisdom and understanding about. But this time, we’ll take a different view, a textual study. A textual study on the book of Ecclesiastes. We will go through the entire book, studying each verse and explaining what it all means. Ecclesiastes is a book of wisdom, written by King Solomon explaining a lot about what happens to man under the sun and why men should and shouldn’t do those things. Remember, Solomon was given all wisdom men could have by God because he asked him in prayer in 1 Kings 3:6-9. Solomon writes in a very vivid and literal way, providing us the wisdom, and he also writes about a lot of different topics and gives several examples of it. Giving the emphasis on what he is telling us. I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I do.
Author: King Solomon
Ecclesiastes Ch. 1
1:1 “The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:”
- “Teacher” here is King Solomon. Some try to make this complicated by saying it’s someone else. But it clearly says that whoever this is, is the son of David AND is king over Israel at the time of this book. So the only son of David who was king over Jerusalem is Solomon.
1:2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”
- Here King Solomon is talking about this life. The things of this world are meaningless, why? Because it is all temporary. It will all vanish one day, and as he will express through the rest of this chapter, we as people are like the wind. Solomon was a king, he enjoyed many of the great riches a king does and for him to say a statement like that shows his inspired wisdom provided by God. That everything, even his riches are meaningless.
1:3 “What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?”
- This rhetorical question Solomon presents has one answer none. We gain nothing from working under the sun because what we gain is gone one day. But that does not mean we shouldn’t work. All he is saying here is that work, no matter how much you do it, will gain nothing for the soul.
1:4 “Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.”
- We are like the wind. Here one moment, gone the next. And there will be another one coming soon.
1:5-7 “The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again.”
- Solomon now compares us to the sun, wind, and streams. Just like the sun rises= life, sun sets= death, and hurries back to where it rises= another birth. Same for the wind and streams.
1:8 “All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.”
- The things of this world, in our eyes, never reach completion. We never stop wanting to see things happen, or hear what we want to hear. The new electronics of today, the phones, tablets, and computers all have a newer version coming out all the time. Solomon expresses that fleshly things are not satisfying, only the Spirit can fully satisfy.
1:9-11 “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them.”
- History repeats itself. This is a saying that goes along with these verses. Everyone is so focused on the future that they forget to live in the present, and learn from the past. The past is easily forgotten and we must not forget what has happened.
1:12-13 “I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind!”
- Solomon restates his position as king. Wisdom and knowledge are meaningless in the sense that we learn it, we die, and what we have learned returns with our fleshly bodies to dust.
1:14 “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”
- Again the physical things done by man under the sun are meaningless and worthless.
1:15 “What is crooked cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted”
- A way of saying that we are always trying to fix things, and work on things, rather than accepting them.
1:16 “I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.”
- Solomon boasts of the wisdom and knowledge he has.
1:17-18 “ Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.”
- Two things to look at here. First with much wisdom comes grief because the more you know, the more reality you can see. Sometimes that can be sorrowful. Second, wisdom and knowledge without God is pointless because God is and created wisdom and knowledge.
We come to the end of chapter 1 of Ecclesiastes. Next time we will start chapter 2. But remember this, “Seeking wisdom is good only with God. If you seek wisdom without Him, there is nothing for you to seek.”