Table of Contents September/October 2023

September / October 2023 Volume 105, Number 5

In the Beginning – 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.”…read more

Book of Ecclesiastes – Overview

The Words of Qohelet – Life is Best Lived Pursuing Jehovah

Written late in life after the author had in­dulged in a prolonged period of sensuous pleasures, the book of Ecclesiastes con­cludes that life is best lived pursuing Jehovah and His righteousness. The author shares his observa­tion at the very beginning: “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher; vanity of vanity, all is vanity” (verse 2). “Vanity” in the AV, translated by seventeenth-century men familiar with Latin, means “lack of value” rather than self-admiration. Modern transla­tions have tried to find a better word to capture the thoughts of the text. Some prefer the word, “futility.”…read more

Life is Best Lived Pursuing Jehovah

A Life of Experiences – A Heart to Seek Wisdom

Few in history can claim the gift of wisdom from Jehovah. Solomon was one of them. When he became king of Israel, he knew that he would fail without divine guidance. Unfortunate­ly, he eventually was overcome with pride in his own power and influence. The wisdom he gained as a gift from Jehovah became secondary to his pursuit of worldly pleasure. The lessons from his own words during this transition are valuable for new creatures with the gift of wisdom endowed to us through the holy Spirit. … read more  

A Heart to Seek Wisdom

Observations About Life – A Time for Every Purpose

King Solomon was one of the most celebrated kings in Jewish history. Being one of Da­vid’s sons (2 Samuel 5:14), he was called Jedidiah by Jehovah through the prophet Nathan. The name means “beloved of Jehovah.” However, his mother Bath-sheba named him Solomon (2 Samuel 12:24-25). Solomon reigned for approxi­mately 40 years. Most historians date his reign from approximately 970 to 931 BC.1 Solomon provided insights derived from Jehovah’s gift of wisdom which he preserved in God’s word. He helps solidify doc­trines we have come to understand. He also provid­ed an example of what not to do in our consecrated journey. …read more

A Time for Every Purpose

Reflections of the Preacher – A Recurring Theme

The Book of Ecclesiastes is a book of reflec­tions. While it is agreed that the writer was Solomon, the author calls himself “The Preacher.” His reflections on life consider his per­sonal circumstances given the wisdom with which God blessed him. He asks many questions about various situations in life and concludes that life, whether poor or wealthy, is not worth living without a purpose in how one lives…read more

Reflections of the Preacher

News and Views Current Events

See PBI Annual Report as well as religious, political, social, financial and Israel-related items of interest…read more

Current Events

Wise Counsel – Relationships Above Things

The phrase “under the sun,” occurs only in the book of Ecclesiastes, some 29 times. Solomon uses it to describe an earthly life, notably without direction from or respect for, Jehovah. He saw and experienced self‑indulgence, which left him frustrated and unsatisfied. He eventually saw that appreciat­ing the beauty of God’s creation and feeling His presence gave the only true satisfaction. The message for us in this section of Eccle­siastes is to value our relationships above our things, and to see that possessions and enjoy­ment are transient. This is the key to joy in life. …read more 

Wise Counsel

The Need for Wisdom – A Precious Commodity

The value of wisdom is expressed also in Proverbs, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7). Although Solomon was gifted by God with wisdom, he recognized that this quality could otherwise be challenging to obtain…read more

The Need for Wisdom

Life, in Retrospect – Lessons of Life

In Ecclesiastes chapters ten, eleven, and twelve, Solomon looks back on his life and what lessons the years have taught him. Beginning in chapter ten, Solomon presents his observations, from per­sonal experience, on growing old. Having already declared numerous times that all material gain is vanity, Solomon recognizes that, on the other hand, a person’s reputation for wisdom and honor is a lasting and valuable possession to be nurtured and protected…read more

Lessons of Life

Epilogue – Every Deed

Ecclesiastes closes as it opens — an as­sessment that all is vanity, or mere breath.1 After extensively discussing the vanity of life, Solomon points us toward God: “Fear God and keep His commands.” John later added that our efforts will be rewarded, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not burdensome (grievous)” (1 John 5:3)…read more

Epilogue – Every Deed
Keeping the Heart
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