Ecclesiastes

Although I have heard many of the verses from The Book of Ecclesiastes over the years, I don’t believe I ever read it in its entirety until last night. My curiosity was piqued by a mention of the book on an internet forum, so I read all twelve chapters before going to sleep. I was so astounded that I literally kissed the pages before closing the Bible.

Author Thomas Wolfe described it this way: “[O]f all I have ever seen or learned, that book seems to me the noblest, the wisest, and the most powerful expression of man’s life upon this earth — and also the highest flower of poetry, eloquence, and truth. I am not given to dogmatic judgments in the matter of literary creation, but if I had to make one I could say that Ecclesiastes is the greatest single piece of writing I have ever known, and the wisdom expressed in it the most lasting and profound.”

I liked the repetitive descriptions of life as “meaningless” and “chasing after the wind,” and several of the verses struck me as particularly wise.

Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 – What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 – There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 – There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.

Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 – For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten. Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun.

Author: Brian

Blogger. Bookworm. Michael Jackson fanatic. Lives in Kentucky with partner of 11 years and three fabulous felines.

2 thoughts on “Ecclesiastes”

  1. Beautiful post, Brian. I recently was part of a group study of this book, verse by verse, over eight weeks and after reading your post I’m feeling we missed the beauty of the whole forest for the detail of each tree. I’m going to go back and read it all in one sitting.

    Also, our whole discussion was framed by the idea that this was “under the sun” thinking–a secular view leaving God out of the equation. So the leader still has us end up with the traditional Christian view of the afterlife — highly unlikely that’s what the author of Ecclesiastes had in mind (tongue firmly pressed into cheek).

    It’s amazing how people are so fixated on previously concluded ideas and agendas that we miss new beauty when it’s staring us in the face.

    1. The afterlife aspects of the book are very interesting to me. According to Wikipedia, it is possible the book has two authors, which might explain the seeming contradictions of verses that portray death as final and others that mention eternity.

      I’ll bet you had some interesting discussions in that study group!

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