The Book of Ecclesiastes
The book of Ecclesiastes is part of a collection generally identified as Wisdom Literature. It focuses on practical aspects of living through the perplexities of life. Although not specifically named, other than The Preacher (Qohelet in Hebrew), Solomon is recognized as the author. 1 Kings 11:1‑10 indicates that as he aged, he allowed the worship of other gods. This led to a rather cynical view of life. It is probable, however, that he returned to the worship of Jehovah later in life. Thus, Ecclesiastes contains great lessons for us in what Solomon learned from his departure and return to God. His final words in the book are “Fear God and keep His commandments.”
The articles in this issue are written according to the testing experiences of Solomon on his journey back to Jehovah, as indicated by the verses covered by each author.
The Words of Qohelet, (1:1‑11), provides a perspective on the book and the recurring theme, the vanity of life from an earthly viewpoint.
A Life of Experiences, (1:12‑2:26), summarizes Solomon’s rise to glory as a young man full of wisdom, to his fall from God’s favor as an idol‑worshipper, and the lessons for the new creature in Solomon’s journey through worldly pleasure.
Observations About Life and Reflections of the Preacher, (3:1‑4:6), offer two perspectives on Solomon’s observation that much of life is part of a determined cycle. Although man longs for something more, he is part of a circle of life that offers little lasting satisfaction.
Wise Counsel, (4:7‑7:22), discusses the value of wisdom over wealth. Temptations abound within the world, and only a life focused on God’s words and laws can give true satisfaction.
The Need for Wisdom, (7:23‑9:18), discusses the prophetic link in Solomon’s reference to “an unholy woman” and insight into Solomon’s statement that “to every purpose there is time and judgment.”
Life, in Retrospect, (10:1‑12:7), philosophizes on the challenges of growing older, and how we can live lives of a higher purpose and meaning that will continue on a higher plane for all eternity.
Epilogue, (12:8‑14), suggests the importance of keen attention to the admonitions offered in God’s holy Word, the Bible, at a time when words and so‑called wisdom of man are prolific and inundating.
We pray that the discussions in this issue will be both inspirational and edifying to each of us as we strive to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.