The Book of Ecclesiastes is the record of one man’s search for meaning. By studying his search, you’ll avoid many of life’s dead ends and be better prepared to live a meaningful life.
Since Ecclesiastes contains several recurring themes that thread through its twelve chapters, we’re going to study the book topically, not expositorily.
Ecc 1:1-2 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. (2) Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
Ecc 1:12 I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem. (13) And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith. (14) I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
The name of the human writer of Ecclesiastes never appears in the book. It’s not hard, though, to figure out who the author was. He describes himself as:
- The Preacher
- The son of David
- King (over Israel) in Jerusalem
The writer was a descendant of David who ruled as king in Jerusalem. After Solomon’s reign, the nation of Israel split into northern and southern kingdoms. Judah and Benjamin, the Southern kingdom, had Jerusalem as their capitol. So, Solomon is the only person who ruled over (all) Israel in Jerusalem, after David.
Solomon set out to discover the meaning of life. He wanted to understand “all things that are done under heaven. As he says later in the book:
Ecc 7:25 I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:
David’s use of the words vain and vainity show that he was seeking meaning, but found meaninglessness and emptiness.
What About You?
- Are you searching for meaning in life, or have you found it?
- If you’ve found it, are you living a meaningful life?