Summary of The Book of Ecclesiastes
The word Ecclesiastes is the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew
word Koheleth, or the preacher. Solomon was the wisest man
in the world, people came from all over the world to hear
his wisdom. He built the Temple in Jerusalem, he was the son
of King David, and he was chosen to impart his wisdom to us
in the book of Ecclesiastes.
Solomon had thoroughly experienced all avenues of pleasure,
all avenues of sensuality, all avenues of wealth, honor,
folly, and the pursuit of knowledge. He also sinned in
giving way to every excess of life which his position made
possible and comes to the realization of the uselessness of
it all. He concludes that the result of his efforts have
been made him empty and that there is nothing new under the
sun, but all is part of the endless, frustrating
circularity. His attitude was spoken in the recurring
phrase, vanity of vanities, all is vanity, saith the
preacher. In Ecclesiastes, the world is convicted of its
vanity by one who has drunk of every spring.
The conclusion which Solomon "the preacher" reaches is that
in such an empty and unsatisfying world where
disappointment, trouble and death cannot be avoided, a quiet
enjoyment of God's gifts is the only real wisdom. The man
who is truly wise will "fear God and keep his commandments"
(12:13-14), making the best of things as he finds them and
trusting in the providence of God. This secret should be
understood early in life. An understanding of this will
provide one with great pleasure in life. The book of
Ecclesiastes profoundly illustrates the idea that a life
apart from God is a life without meaning.