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ECCLESIASTES
Fr. Jude Ferreira.
30th. Nov 2008
ECCLESIASTES / QOHELETH / KOHOLETH.
 
I. INTRODUCTION:
à It sounds a pessimistic book, life is meaningless & absurd, because of impending death.
à God is distant & aloof from human beings. He abandoned human beings to chance & death.Therefore human beings should enjoy life, honestly not recklessly. Because old age will come upon you.
à Qoheleth like Job is a rebel thinker. He raise this problem of insufficient joy.
Why cant I live forever, all things are transient (they pass away quickly).
à Qoheleth does not give a solution to this insufficient joy, the unsatisfactory state of life
à Qoheleth is a man of faith, he believes in God & in the fear of God.
3: 14 I know that whatever God does endures for ever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him.
5:7 With many dreams come vanities and a multitude of words;* but fear God.
à Qoheleth also believes there is an ethical code (norms of behavior) or there will be anarchy.
à Qoheleth believes in Gods Judgment of human behavior.
à He does not believe in after life, for him sheol is the end.
 
II. TITLE:
à The other name for Ecclesiastes is Qoheleth, It appears 7 times, ie the preacher.
1:1 The words of the Teacher,* the son of David, king in Jerusalem
1: 2 Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher,* vanity of vanities! All is vanity
1: 12  I, the Teacher,* when king over Israel in Jerusalem,
7: 27 See, this is what I found, says the Teacher,* adding one thing to another to find the sum,
12: 8 Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher;* all is vanity.
12:9  Besides being wise, the Teacher* also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs.
12:10 The Teacher* sought to find pleasing words, and he wrote words of truth plainly.
à In the book of Ecclesiastes, some time it is a proper name, other times it takes an article.
à Qoheleth Hb the root is qahal spelt as qhl (to assemble, to convoke, to gather people, to bring them together. There is a relationship between the Qoholeth & the assembly.
à Ecclesiastes is derived from a Gk translation of Qoheleth from Heb à Ekklesiastes à Ecclesiastes, meaning preacher.
à The Qoheleth is a description of the office, & not much the person, it is the function not the person.
 
III AUTHOR:
à Who is this Qoheleth ?
1:1 The words of the Teacher,* the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Teacher = preacher.
1: 12  I, the Teacher,* when king over Israel in Jerusalem,
The author is using a literary fiction. It is not a pet / nick name of Solomon
Is there a link between Q & Solomon
Assembled the elders, All the people of Israel, all the congregation, who had assemble
They helped in setting the ark.
1 Kgs 8:1-12. Vs1Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the ancestral houses of the Israelites, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion. 2All the people of Israel assembled to King Solomon at the festival in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month. 3And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests carried the ark. 4So they brought up the ark of the Lord, the tent of meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the tent; the priests and the Levites brought them up. 5King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who had assembled before him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered. 6Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the most holy place, underneath the wings of the cherubim. 7For the cherubim spread out their wings over the place of the ark, so that the cherubim made a covering above the ark and its poles. 8The poles were so long that the ends of the poles were seen from the holy place in front of the inner sanctuary; but they could not be seen from outside; they are there to this day. 9There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone that Moses had placed there at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites, when they came out of the land of Egypt. 10And when the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.
12 Then Solomon said, The Lord has said that he would dwell in thick darkness.
 
Qoheleth
              > Qahal        à For the setting up of the Ark.
Solomon
 
The author of Qoheleth has said that he has experienced everything in life, you have to be a king, to be presented as a king.
àQoheleth puts himself in the mould of a king to show that he has experienced everything in life.
à(Qoheleth) Kings, royal experiments. à Ecc 1:122:26.
Ecc 1: 12 I, the Teacher,* when king over Israel in Jerusalem, 13applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with. 14I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and a chasing after wind.* 15What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted. 16 I said to myself, ‘I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.’ 17And I applied my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a chasing after wind.* 18For in much wisdom is much vexation,
and those who increase knowledge increase sorrow.
2:I said to myself, ‘Come now, I will make a test of pleasure; enjoy yourself.’ But again, this also was vanity. 2I said of laughter, ‘It is mad’, and of pleasure, ‘What use is it?’ 3I searched with my mind how to cheer my body with wine—my mind still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, until I might see what was good for mortals to do under heaven during the few days of their life. 4I made great works; I built houses and planted vineyards for myself; 5I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. 6I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. 7I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house; I also had great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and of the provinces; I got singers, both men and women, and delights of the flesh, and many concubines.*
9 So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom remained with me. 10Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them; I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. 11Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and again, all was vanity and a chasing after wind,* and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
Wisdom and Joy Given to One Who Pleases God
12 So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly; for what can the one do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done. 13Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. 14The wise have eyes in their head, but fools walk in darkness.
Yet I perceived that the same fate befalls all of them. 15Then I said to myself, ‘What happens to the fool will happen to me also; why then have I been so very wise?’ And I said to myself that this also is vanity. 16For there is no enduring remembrance of the wise or of fools, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How can the wise die just like fools? 17So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me; for all is vanity and a chasing after wind.*
18 I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to those who come after me 19—and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish? Yet they will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20So I turned and gave my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labours under the sun, 21because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun? 23For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity. 24 There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God; 25for apart from him* who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 26For to the one who pleases him God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy; but to the sinner he gives the work of gathering and heaping, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a chasing after wind.*
à Most likely Qoheleth was a teacher or a wiseman, but not a king, he is most probably an unknown Jewish sage of the post exilic period
à Are there 1 0r 2 authors.
Ch 12:9-14 there is certainly some one else writing of Qoheleth
9 Besides being wise, the Teacher* also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs. 10The Teacher* sought to find pleasing words, and he wrote words of truth plainly. 11 The sayings of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings that are given by one shepherd.* 12Of anything beyond these, my child, beware. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
àThe main author has written from 1:1-12:8
àThe Epilogue has possibly been written, or added later by a disciple of Qoheleth, to give the book credibility. Therefore there is only one author.
à Qoheleth was of the mainstream of near eastern wisdom. We really don’t know who has written Qoheleth 1:1—12:8.
 
IV DATE:
In 150 BC they found a copy of the book of Ecclesiastes. Therefore they think it was between 250 – 225 BC. Sirac knew about this book in 180 BC.
 
V. MESSAGE.
A. àTraditional Wisdom deals with the deed à consequence theory. Why should smart people go hungry.
àChance determines everything, & nobody can exercise control over it
à Q complains to his heart, Job complains to his God.
à Like Job Q complains about the doctrine of retribution.
3:16-18. 16 Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, wickedness was there, and in the place of righteousness, wickedness was there as well. 17I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for he has appointed a time for every matter, and for every work. 18I said in my heart with regard to human beings that God is testing them to show that they are but animals
7:15 In my vain life I have seen everything; there are righteous people who perish in their righteousness, and there are wicked people who prolong their life in their evildoing
8:12-14. 12 Though sinners do evil a hundred times and prolong their lives, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they stand in fear before him, 13but it will not be well with the wicked, neither will they prolong their days like a shadow, because they do not stand in fear before God. 14 There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people who are treated according to the conduct of the wicked, and there are wicked people who are treated according to the conduct of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity.
à He attacks the doctrine of retribution, they do not tally with human experience
B. à He attacks the advantages of Wisdom, because experience shows that ones fate comes to the wise & the foolish. He does not believe in after life.
2:13-16. 13Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.
14The wise have eyes in their head,  but fools walk in darkness.
Yet I perceived that the same fate befalls all of them. 15Then I said to myself, ‘What happens to the fool will happen to me also; why then have I been so very wise?’ And I said to myself that this also is vanity. 16For there is no enduring remembrance of the wise or of fools, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How can the wise die just like fools?
9:1-3. 1 All this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God; whether it is love or hate one does not know. Everything that confronts them 2is vanity,* since the same fate comes to all, to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil,* to the clean and the unclean, to those who sacrifice and those who do not sacrifice. As are the good, so are the sinners; those who swear are like those who shun an oath. 3This is an evil in all that happens under the sun, that the same fate comes to everyone. Moreover, the hearts of all are full of evil; madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.
C. He is Pessimistic about the success of the human being foe wisdom.
1:13-18. 13 applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with. 14I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and a chasing after wind.*
15What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted.
16 I said to myself, ‘I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.’ 17And I applied my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a chasing after wind.*
18For in much wisdom is much vexation, and those who increase knowledge increase sorrow.
3:11. 11He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover, he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end
7:13 13 Consider the work of God  who can make straight what he has made crooked?
D. Q rejects Wisdom principles, emphasizes on human work if it means total absorption in work because such feverish labor robs one of enjoyment
2:22-23 22What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun?
23For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity.
4:7-8. 7 Again, I saw vanity under the sun: 8 the case of solitary individuals, without sons or brothers; yet there is no end to all their toil, and their eyes are never satisfied with riches. ‘For whom am I toiling’, they ask, ‘and depriving myself of pleasure?’ This also is vanity and an unhappy business.
The prospects of success are chancy, since God has appointed a time for everything
3:1-11. 1For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
7a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
The God-Given Task
9 What gain have the workers from their toil? 10I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. 11He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover, he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end
The fate of accumulated wealth is uncertain.
2:18-21. 18 I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to those who come after me 19—and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish? Yet they will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20So I turned and gave my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labours under the sun, 21because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.
4:7-8 7 Again, I saw vanity under the sun: 8the case of solitary individuals, without sons or brothers; yet there is no end to all their toil, and their eyes are never satisfied with riches. ‘For whom am I toiling’, they ask, ‘and depriving myself of pleasure?’ This also is vanity and an unhappy business.
5:12-16. Vs12 Sweet is the sleep of labourers, whether they eat little or much; but the surfeit of the rich will not let them sleep.
13 There is a grievous ill that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owners to their hurt, 14and those riches were lost in a bad venture; though they are parents of children, they have nothing in their hands. 15As they came from their mother’s womb, so they shall go again, naked as they came; they shall take nothing for their toil, which they may carry away with their hands. 16This also is a grievous ill: just as they came, so shall they go; and what gain do they have from toiling for the wind?
And because toil brings neither profit progress or remembrance.
1:3-11. 3What do people gain from all the toil   at which they toil under the sun?
4A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains for ever.
5The sun rises and the sun goes down,  and hurries to the place where it rises.
6The wind blows to the south,  and goes round to the north; round and round goes the wind,
   and on its circuits the wind returns.
7All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow,
   there they continue to flow.
8All things* are wearisome;  more than one can express; the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
   or the ear filled with hearing.
9What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done;
   there is nothing new under the sun.
10Is there a thing of which it is said, ‘See, this is new’? It has already been,
   in the ages before us.
11The people of long ago are not remembered,  nor will there be any remembrance
of people yet to come by those who come after them.
However he does not believe in laziness.
Q is impressed by the transitory nature of all things & so believes in the enjoyment of all things, & the acceptance of ordinary Joy which God sees fit to give us.
2:24 There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God; The Futility of Seeking Wisdom
3:12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live;
3: 22 So I saw that there is nothing better than that all should enjoy their work, for that is their lot; who can bring them to see what will be after them?
5:18-20. 18 This is what I have seen to be good: it is fitting to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of the life God gives us; for this is our lot. 19Likewise all to whom God gives wealth and possessions and whom he enables to enjoy them, and to accept their lot and find enjoyment in their toil—this is the gift of God. 20For they will scarcely brood over the days of their lives, because God keeps them occupied with the joy of their hearts.
Enjoy the good days & accept the evil days, God gives us variety, so that we cannot find fault with him.
7:14 On the day of prosperity be joyful, and on the day of adversity consider; God has made the one as well as the other, so that mortals may not find out anything that will come after them.
Enter into life with Jest.
9: 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
Everything you do you do it well.
11:1 Send out your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will get it back.
Provide for the future, save for a rainy day, don’t be obsessed about saving, keep options open
11:2 Divide your means seven ways, or even eight,
for you do not know what disaster may happen on earth.
Enjoy because old age & death are coming 11:7-12:8.
11: 7. 7 Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun.
8 Even those who live for many years should rejoice in them all; yet let them remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity.
9 Rejoice, young man, while you are young, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Follow the inclination of your heart and the desire of your eyes, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgement.
10 Banish anxiety from your mind, and put away pain from your body; for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.
12:1-8 Vs1Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come, and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’; 2before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return with* the rain; 3on the day when the guards of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the women who grind cease working because they are few, and those who look through the windows see dimly; 4when the doors on the street are shut, and the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low; 5when one is afraid of heights, and terrors are in the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along* and desire fails; because all must go to their eternal home, and the mourners will go about the streets; 6before the silver cord is snapped,* and the golden bowl is broken, and the pitcher is broken at the fountain, and the wheel broken at the cistern, 7and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the breath* returns to God who gave it. 8Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher;* all is vanity.
Enjoy honest pleasures of life.
Crenshaw: (Biblical scholar)
Q experiences & discovers that nothing will survive. Death arbitory blow (any time, any where). He then proceeds to report the discovery of life’s absurdity & advices young men (only young men could go to wisdom schools) on the best options of lifes stark reality. Such radical views indicate an intellectual crises in the circle of wise in Qs time.
 
VI. LITERARY FORM.
  1. It is the diary of a wiseman in revolt. He is a rebel, he is challenging wisdom principles.
  2. It is a monologue
  3. Q thoughts go back & forth unorganized. He gives the process for the conclusion he arrives at.
  4. He makes personal observations, he looks, observes, reflects, testifies to validate his conclusion, thus he uses phrases like. I said in my heart; I gave my heart; I saw ; I know.
1:13 applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with.
1:14 I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and a chasing after wind.*
1:16 I said to myself, ‘I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over
Jerusalem before me; and my mind has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.’
1:17 And I applied my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a chasing after wind.*
An editor invests Q with the authority of the wisest of all wise men (Solomon) and identifies him as a professional teacher. Who spoke reliable & pleasing words to his students (literary fiction). Q uses truth statements, better then sayings, instructions, traditional sayings, maledictions (misfortunes), benedictions, autographed narratives (stories in the first person) anecdotes, parables, antithesis (opposites) & lots of rhetorical questions (questions that merit no answer)
 
VII DIVISION:
1:1 The Title.
1:2 General theme of the book. Vanity of vanities
1:3-11 – 6:9 Qoheleth investigates life.
6:10 – 11:6 Qoheleth conclusion à 6:10-8:17. Man cannot find what is good for him
                                                à 9:1-11:6. Man does not know what will come after him.
11:7-12:14. Conclusion. à 11:7-12:8 Poem on youth & old age
                                   à 12:9-14. Epilogue.
 
VIII. EXERGESIS. TEXT.
1:1-11. World of nature
1:12-18, 2:1-12. World of human being
à Analysis of Q theme from the world of nature
vanity = hebel Hb (abel lived a short life) = breath or vapour, some thing that does not last long, temporary not durable.
Vanity = fleeting, futility, absurdity.
Vanity appears 37 times in the text.
1: 2 Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher,* vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
Vanity is repeated 3 times, repetition shows the superlative nature.
Everything in life is superlatively vein.
1: 3 What do people gain from all the toil at which they toil under the sun?
Work is greater then the gain obtained, toil is useless, do not be obsessed with work. Under the sun = under the universe
Vs 4-11. The poem characterizes nature as an endless round of pointless movements a rhythm that engulfs human generation as well, human beings are impermanent, only nature is permanent. The mountains seas rivers have seen thousands of humans live & die.
Vs 4 A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains for ever.
Nature outlives human beings.
5The sun (fire) rises and the sun goes down, and hurries to the place where it rises.
The world seemed to be flat, so after the day was over the sun had again to rush to the east.
6The wind (air) blows to the south, and goes round to the north; round and round goes the wind,
   and on its circuits the wind returns.
The wind moves pointlessly.
7All streams (water) run to the sea,  but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow,
   there they continue to flow.
The rivers flow into the sea but it never seems to fill. So boaring.
Vs 4-7 have the 4 elements à earth, fire, air, water8All things* are wearisome; more than one can express; the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
   or the ear filled with hearing.
9What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; 
.
there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there a thing of which it is said, ‘See, this is new’? It has already been, in the ages before us.
11The people of long ago are not remembered, nor will there be any remembrance of people yet to come  by those who come after them.
Vs 8-11. Our 5 senses are never fully satisfied, they remain fully unfulfilled.
Vs 9 what ever is new was always there, & everything will be repeated.
Vs 10 What ever we say new has always been. Only we have not remembered what was there it is lost to us.
If the past is going to repeat itself, boredom will lead us to despair.
We must look for joy even in monotony.
à In every repetition God makes a new offer of friendship, this is seen in faith. God invites us to be creative, to think a new, to look at things in a different light.
To exalt in monotony is a mark of vitality.
1:12-18.
1: 12  I, the Teacher,* when king over Israel in Jerusalem, 13 applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with. 14 I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and a chasing after wind.* 15What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking can not be counted. 16 I said to myself, ‘I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.’ 17And I applied my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a chasing after wind.*
18 For in much wisdom is much vexation, and those who increase knowledge increase sorrow.
The more I know, I realize how unsatisfied we are.
Vs 15. What is determined by God, cannot be changed by humans.
Vs 17. chasing after the wind = vanity
Vs 18. There is sorrow, & unsatisfied nature of life.
 
2:1-12.
2:1. I said to myself, ‘Come now, I will make a test of pleasure; enjoy yourself.’ But again, this also was vanity. 2I said of laughter, ‘It is mad’, and of pleasure, ‘What use is it?’ 3I searched with my mind how to cheer my body with wine—my mind still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, until I might see what was good for mortals to do under heaven during the few days of their life. 4I made great works; I built houses and planted vineyards for myself; 5I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. 6I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. 7I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house; I also had great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and of the provinces; I got singers, both men and women, and delights of the flesh, and many concubines.*
9 So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom remained with me. 10Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them; I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. 11Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and again, all was vanity and a chasing after wind,* and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
Wisdom and Joy Given to One Who Pleases God
12 So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly; for what can the one do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done
2:1-12 speaks of the experiments of Qoheleth.
Qoheleth tests every thing under the sun, He finds all this is vanity.
In the end he feels deflated, all will pass away. Pleasure, laughter, wine, great works, houses & vineyards, gardens & parks. Fruit trees, pools to water the forests, bought male & female slaves, possessed herds & flocks. Silver & gold, men & women singers, concubines,
He finds everything is futile, & left him an empty feeling.
 
According to Qoleheth what makes life most unsatisfied & meaningless, what are the aggravating circumstances.
a. à Human works (results of our toil) give us an insufficient enjoyment in life.
1: 3 What do people gain from all the toil at which they toil under the sun?
à2:18-22. 18 I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to those who come after me 19—and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish? Yet they will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20So I turned and gave my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labours under the sun, 21because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun?
Human toil brings no fulfillment; there is not enough time on this earth to enjoy.
b. What God has determined, man cannot change.
3:1-9. 1For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
7a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
The God-Given Task
9 What gain have the workers from their toil
God has determined a time for every thing, but he has not equipped you (human beings) the time he has appointed for it. Therefore he feels that Life is a matter of chance.
Elohim comes 40 times in the text.
c. The persuit of wisdom is folly
2:13-17 à 2:13 13Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.
14The wise have eyes in their head, but fools walk in darkness. Yet I perceived that the same fate befalls all of them. 15Then I said to myself, ‘What happens to the fool will happen to me also; why then have I been so very wise?’ And I said to myself that this also is vanity. 16For there is no enduring remembrance of the wise or of fools, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How can the wise die just like fools? 17So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me; for all is vanity and a chasing after wind.*
3:18-21à  18I said in my heart with regard to human beings that God is testing them to show that they are but animals. 19For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and humans have no advantage over the animals; for all is vanity. 20All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. 21Who knows whether the human spirit goes upwards and the spirit of animals goes downwards to the earth?
d. The social structure increases our happiness.
3:16 Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, wickedness was there, and in the place of righteousness, wickedness was there as well.
He refers to all the plagues of society.
5:8. If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and right, do not be amazed at the matter; for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them.
You realize that more the officers incharge more is the corruption.
4:1. Again I saw all the oppressions that are practised under the sun. Look, the tears of the oppressed—with no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power—with no one to comfort them.
It is the poor who suffer the most.
e. Wickedness seems to prosper.
Why do wicked men prosper & the righteous perish.
7:15. In my vain life I have seen everything; there are righteous people who perish in their righteousness, and there are wicked people who prolong their life in their evildoing
8:14 There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people who are treated according to the conduct of the wicked, and there are wicked people who are treated according to the conduct of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity
f. Ignorance of the future.
What will be will be.
7:24 That which is, is far off, and deep, very deep; who can find it out?
8:7 Indeed, they do not know what is to be, for who can tell them how it will be?
9:12 For no one can anticipate the time of disaster. Like fish taken in a cruel net, and like birds caught in a snare, so mortals are snared at a time of calamity, when it suddenly falls upon them.
3:10-11. 10I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. 11He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover, he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
God makes all things in his time, we do not know the future. Only thing we are sure of is death.
g. Problems of old age & death. Evil days à old age / death.
12:1-14 Remember your creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come, and the years draw near when you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’; 2 before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return with* the rain; (evil days / old age)3 on the day when the guards (hands) of the house tremble, and the strong men (legs)are bent, and the women who grind (teeth)cease working because they are few, and those who look through the windows (eyes) see dimly; 4 when the doors         ( ears / lips) on the street are shut, and the sound of the grinding is low (digestion), and one rises up at the sound (sleeplessness) of a bird, and all the daughters of song (voice) are brought low; 5when one is afraid of heights (vertigo) , and terrors are in the road; the almond tree blossoms (graying of hair) , the grasshopper drags itself  (getting old & feeble) along* and desire fails (sex drive fails you); because all must go to their eternal home, and the mourners will go about the streets; 6 before the silver cord is snapped,          ( images of death)* and the golden bowl is broken, and the pitcher is broken at the fountain, and the wheel broken at the cistern, 7and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the breath* returns to God who gave it. 8 Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher;* all is vanity. (aggravating things, when you are old)
Epilogue 9 Besides being wise, the Teacher* also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs. 10The Teacher* sought to find pleasing words, and he wrote words of truth plainly. 11 The sayings of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings that are given by one shepherd.* 12Of anything beyond these, my child, beware. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. 13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone. 14For God will bring every deed into judgement, including* every secret thing, whether good or evil.
 
CONCLUSION:
What conclusion does Qoheleth from the final examination of life.
The obvious conclusion is despair but we find that Qoheleth gives us a conclusion of hope.
He is a man of faith.
a. Qoheleth advocates a vigorous enjoyment of all the incomplete & honest pleasures of life
Enjoyment is in conformity with Gods plan. God wants us to appreciate & use well all the gifts of life & his creation.
8:15 So I commend enjoyment, for there is nothing better for people under the sun than to eat, and drink, and enjoy themselves, for this will go with them in their toil through the days of life that God gives them under the sun.
 
b. There is a judgement, but how this takes place Qoheleth does not say. It is not in the after life it is here & now.
11:9-10. 9 Rejoice, young man, while you are young, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Follow the inclination of your heart and the desire of your eyes, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgement.
10 Banish anxiety from your mind, and put away pain from your body; for youth and the dawn of life are vanity
 
c. All things are from the hand of God. Man tends to enjoy pleasures apart of God. Deep & lasting joy is obtained only by enjoying the pleasures of life, in conformity with Gods plan.
2: 24-25. 24 There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God; 25 for apart from him* who can eat or who can have enjoyment?
Wealth is a gift of God meant to be used wisely, sharing it with others will bring true happiness.
5:18-19. 18 This is what I have seen to be good: it is fitting to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of the life God gives us; for this is our lot. 19Likewise all to whom God gives wealth and possessions and whom he enables to enjoy them, and to accept their lot and find enjoyment in their toil—this is the gift of God.
 
d. God approves of eating & drinking. In sheol there is no enjoyment
9:7-10. 7 Go, eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has long ago approved what you do. 8Let your garments always be white; do not let oil be lacking on your head. 9 Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that are given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. 10Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
 
e. Qoheleth advices us not to change the present order. What God has ordained do not try to change.
6:10  Whatever has come to be has already been named, and it is known what human beings are, and that they are not able to dispute with those who are stronger
 
f. Qoheleth makes a comparison between the living & the dead, Only those who are alive can enjoy life & its good things.
9:4-6. 4 But whoever is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 The living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no more reward, and even the memory of them is lost. 6 Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished; never again will they have any share in all that happens under the sun.
 
Appeal: Qoheleth appeals à Don’t waste your time on nonsensical pursuits (silly things), on mundane & useless things. Go out & enjoy every thing that God has made (honestly). While alive you are capable to bring joy to self & others.
 
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