Summary of Ecclesiastes

I like Old Testaments. I love reading the stories in the Bible and visualize how things has changed in Biblical perspective. One of the popular man in the Bible is king Solomon. He is known for having huge wealth, fame, and even 1000 wives. Despite having all those wealth, he emphasis many times that he was not satisfied.

We believe that king Solomon wrote the Book of Ecclesiastics when he was older. I took some time to summarize what he wrote being inspired by God.

Ch.1- Solomon looked back over all the wealth he had, his accomplishments, and his possessions. And to him it all seemed meaningless. Even though he had everything, he was still unfulfilled and dissatisfied. He believed that serving God was the most important option. In this chapter, he separates wisdom into two categories: 1) Human knowledge, reasoning, or philosophy and 2) The wisdom that can only come from God.

Ch.2- Solomon conducted his search for life’s meaning as an experiment. The first thing he tried to satisfy himself with was pleasure. He bought more slaves, herds, and flocks. He surrounded himself with jesters, singers, and many beautiful women. This still did not satisfy him. He referred to it as “chasing after the wind.” We can feel it when it passes but we can’t grasp it or keep hold of it. He believed that we must not base ourselves on the pursuit of happiness, but on the solid foundation of God. He said this because our accomplishments, wealth, and materials mean nothing after death.

Ch.3- Solomon believed that there is a time and place for everything, whether it be good or bad. He believes that you must seek guidance from God to truly know what your path in life is.

Ch.4- He believed that going to the extremes of being lazy or a workaholic is foolish and irresponsible. The answer is to work hard but with moderation. He believed that you should take time to enjoy God’s other gifts and realize that he gives us assignments and rewards, not man. Solomon believed that a person should seek God’s approval above all and not recognition from man.

Ch.5- We should be open to God. We should be ready to listen and not be so hasty to dictate what we want him to do. Solomon believed that it was not wise to make a vow to God and not keep it. It’s better to not make a vow than to make one to God and not keep it. Solomon says that riches are meaningless. People who obsess over it never find the true happiness that it promises. Loving money leads to sin. Don’t depend on money to make you happy. Instead, use what you have foe the Lord.

Ch.6- Even though a person has lived a long and prosperous life, it is ultimately meaningless. He says this because everything that a person has accumulated is left behind at death. Many people strive to prolong life and keep in good physical health, but people don’t spend nearly enough time improving their spiritual health. Solomon also believes that human beings cannot take charge of their own destiny.

Ch.7- Enjoy what you have while you can, but realize that adversity and hard times can strike at any moment. Because of this, life is short. Death is inevitable. We shouldn’t ignore it because it makes sense to plan ahead to experience God’s mercy rather than his justice. People who are too righteous and too wise are blind to their own faults. There will always be things that we don’t understand. Thinking that you have attained enough wisdom is a sure sign that you haven’t.

Ch.8- True wisdom comes from knowing and trusting God, not merely the way to find him. Knowing God will lead to understanding and then to sharing that knowledge with others. Even in a man could have all of the world’s wisdom, he would still know very little. No one can fully comprehend God.

Ch.9- Solomon believes in enjoying life as God’s gift. The world is finite, and sin has twisted life, making it something other than what God intended. Society honors many things above wisdom such as attractiveness, wealth, popularity, and success. Solomon believed that wisdom is the greatest asset even though it often goes unrecognized.

Ch.10- By describing circumstances that are unfair or don’t make sense, Solomon is saying that wisdom alone cant bring justice. Everything we have is nothing without God. But when he uses what little we have, it becomes all we could ever want or need. If you lack skills, you should sharpen them through training and practice. This will make you more effective for God’s work.

Ch.11- Because life has no guarantees, we should seize available opportunities and not play it safe. Even though life is uncertain, it doesn’t mean that you should let it pass you by. Don’t wait for conditions that many never exist. We should enjoy everyday but remember that the afterlife is eternal.

Ch.12- Solomon concludes the book by giving his antidotes for the two main ailments that he talked about. People who lack purpose and direction in life should fear God and keep his commandments first. The people who think that life is unfair should remember that God will go back and look and everyone’s lives and make his judgment.

-Darrius Marzette

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