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Ecclesiastes 1 Commentary

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Ecclesiastes 1:1 meaning

Solomon introduces himself as the author of Ecclesiastes. He describes himself using three titles that uniquely qualify him to wrestle with the content of the book.

Ecclesiastes 1:2 meaning

Solomon uses an enigmatic metaphor to introduce the intention of the book: attempting to reconcile man's search for meaning with the practical limitations around him.

Ecclesiastes 1:3-7 meaning

Solomon describes God’s creation as productive, reliable, and cyclical. He contrasts this with the limited and confused life of a man, questioning the value of man’s effort when patterns are destined to repeat themselves.

Ecclesiastes 1:8-11 meaning

The Preacher (Solomon) asserts that determining our purpose in life from observation, reason, or invention is futile. He looks into how events in Time are cyclical and therefore are insufficient avenues for completing his search for meaning; nothing circumstantial is truly new or truly resolved.

Ecclesiastes 1:12-15 meaning

The preceding poem (verses 3-11) is the result of an exhaustive search by Solomon to use his reason and capacity for exploration in an attempt to discover the meaning of life. God created mankind with a longing to study, explore, and see—but even an exhaustive search by a capable person ends with futility if we only rely upon reason and experience.

Ecclesiastes 1:16-18 meaning

Solomon evaluates his pursuit of wisdom and knowledge, concluding it is futile. He moves to explore madness and folly, but they are futile as well. He discovers that more wisdom means a greater awareness of the futility of seeking knowledge.