The Pursuit of Pleasure (1)


This week, we’re going to look at Solomon’s pursuit of pleasure. We’ll see what he tried and look at his conclusions about living for pleasure.

Bible Reading

(Ecc 2:1) I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity. (2) I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it? (3) I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life. (4) I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: (5) I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits: (6) I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: (7) I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: (8) I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts. (9) So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. (10) And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. (11) Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun. (12) And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done.

Solomon’s Passionate Pursuit of Pleasure

Solomon pursued pleasure to see if that was what men should spend their lives doing (2:4) He put himself to the test with pleasure and laughter. He gave himself to wine. He built houses and planted vineyards, gardens and orchards. He got servants, so he didn’t have to do anything tedious or difficult. He was rich in livestock, silver and gold. He had the best of vocal and instrumental musicians. He fully enjoyed the best pleasures this life has to offer. In summary, whatever he saw that he wanted, he took. Solomon didn’t resist anything his heart desired.

Solomon asks an interesting question at the end of this passage: “…What can the man do that cometh after the king?” His point is, that Solomon has fully exhausted the realm of pleasure. He has thoroughly investigated it, and no one coming after him will add to what he has done, and what he has found. Solomon was in a better position than anyone in history to enjoy everything that this world say makes life worth living. His conclusion is that “all was vanity and vexation of spirit.”

What About You?

  • Are you trying to find fulfillment in the pleasures Solomon tried?
  • Will you believe his testimony that a life spent chasing pleasure is wasted?

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