Ecclesiastes 1 – The Words of the Preacher

Jerusalem, Solomon's quarries

Jerusalem, Solomon’s quarries

Clearly Solomon, the writer identifies himself as the son of David, king of Israel, and someone who has “acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me.”  By also identifying himself as “the preacher” Solomon obviously knows that his words will be used for learning and instruction, and certainly intends them as such.  In fact, some have speculated that he may actually have directly addressed an assembly of some sort with some of these teachings.

The same man who wrote many proverbs extolling the value of work and the foolishness of being lazy says in verse 3 “What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?” In fact, many verses here talk about things “under the sun,” which is the key to understanding here.  All the work that we accomplish here “under the sun” will one day pass away, unlike the earth, the sun itself, the wind and the sea, all of which remain constant.  No matter how grand man’s accomplishments here may be, they will not matter when this life is over.

Even his quest for wisdom, he says, is “striving after wind” because “in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.”  What he learned in the end is that there is much that man simply cannot know while “under the sun,” and those truths are the only things that really matter.  All else is but vapor…

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at  


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