Ecclesiastes

Author: Probably Solomon (date of writing: c. 970-930 B.C.).

Title: The English title is taken from the name used in the Latin Vulgate, which is itself a transliteration of the title used in the Greek version of the Old Testament, Ekklesiastes. The title used in the Septuagint is a translation of the Hebrew title, Qoheleth ("Teacher").

Summary: Ecclesiastes is the final book in the "wisdom literature" and forms a collection of many wise sayings and proverbs of Solomon. The book is mainly comprised of observations of life. Solomon, having lived a full life with all its pleasures, concludes that life is vanity (it is also possible, but less likely, that the book was written near the beginning of his life). What better man to speak about life than a man who was given all it had to offer? Without God, life would be meaningless. All his worldly possessions would amount to nothing. Therefore, the conclusion of his studies states that man should love and fear God and obey his commandments.

Breakdown:

The futility of all human endeavours: Chapter 1:1-11

The test of practical experience: Chapter 1:12 - 2:26

Man's opportunity limited by time: Chapter 3:1-22

Human vanity greatly increased by oppression: Chapter 4:1-16

Vanity in insincere worship: Chapter 5:1-9

Vanity of riches: Chapter 5:10 - 6:2

Vanity of human desires: Chapter 6:3 - 11:6

Advice and warning to youth: Chapter 11:7 - 12:8

Conclusion: Chapter 12:9-14

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