Introduction to Ecclesiastes
There are four things to look at before starting a book of the Bible for our background and knowledge:
A. The word Ecclesiastes comes from the Hebrew word Qohelet [ko-hay-leth], which mean an assembler or preacher, one who calls an assembly or congregation and discusses a subject.”
B. The Greek word for “assembly” or “congregation” is ekklesia [ek-clay-see-ah], which is the NT word for “church.” This is where we get our English word “Ecclesiastes. So guys, we can see by the title of this book, the writer wants to gather us together, huddle us up, to form an assembly, and tell us something that is of value, importance, purpose, and meaning.
A. Scholars agree that Solomon is the most evidential author for the book of Ecclesiastes. Over history, there was some criticism to if Solomon truly wrote the book.
B. However, the Scriptures clearly give us ample proof that he is indeed the author. In the book of Ecclesiastes, the writer declares, defines, and describes who he is, what he has done, and what he concludes to be the meaning of life:
He declares. (Eccles. 1:1) 1. “The words of the Preacher, the Son of David, king in Jerusalem.”
He defines. (Eccles. 1:12, 2:9) 1. “I the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem…great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem.”
He describes. ( Eccles. 2:1-11) 1. “I made my works great, I had servants, kings treasures, entertainment, and women, and indeed all was vanity.”
C. Solomon was one remarkable guy. He asked for wisdom, and God gave it to him. He was the wisest man that ever lived except Jesus. Jesus said in Luke 11:31 that “a greater Solomon is here.” History shows us that he wrote 3,000 proverbs, and 1,005 songs. For you Bible students to study, Solomon also penned Psalm 72 and 127, the book of Proverbs which were a collection 513 of the most important ones thought by Solomon. He also wrote the love book called Song of Solomon.
Solomon also had many credentials: 1. dendrologist (the study of trees and shrubs) 2. botanist (the study of plants) 3. zoologist (the study of animals) 4. ornithologist (the study of birds) 5. ichthyologist (the study of fishes)
D. Solomon was one fantastic man. But that’s what he was, a man. And he fell short of God’s glory and turned his heart away from the Lord. Deuteronomy 17:16-17, The Lord specifically says that a king shall not have multiple wives, horses, gold, or silver unto himself. Solomon disobeyed the Lord about having multiple wives, ridiculous amounts of riches, and abusive authority. Scripture tells us that Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, and thousands of horses, and an unbelievable amount of gold (Scholars believe in the billions). The results of his sin were that the kingdom fell into idolatry, were oppressed with taxes and unfair wages, and after his death the kingdom split up. Sin splits up things.
E. The book of 1 Kings outlines Solomon’s life very well for you Bible students to read up on and dig into the lessons of God’s word:
Chapter 1 & 2 - Solomon becomes king of Israel.
Chapter 3 - Solomon chooses wisely for wisdom.
Chapter 4 - Solomon grows in power, wealth, & wisdom.
Chapter 5 to 8 – Solomon builds the Temple in Jerusalem.
Chapter 9 & 10 – Solomon’s splendor of his kingdom.
Chapter 11 – Solomon’s sinfulness, shame, and death.
The book was written around 931 B.C. It was written near the end of his reign as king of Jerusalem. The book was written in the later years of his life. It was primarily directed to the youth, and was to be a warning to the young people of Israel not to make the mistakes of his past. As John MacArthur puts it, “He warned them to avoid walking through life on the path of human wisdom; he exhorted them to life by the revealed wisdom of God.”
A. The book of Ecclesiastes is a profound perspective on life in general, from Solomon’s viewpoint. The theme truly is stated as “is life worth living?” The book is summed up with two verses, 1:3, 12:13-14. He looked around in the present, he looked back in the past, and he looked within himself and found that “all is vanity” except a life that has God first and obeys His commands.
“A life that has reverence for God and obedience to His Word shall be satisfied all the days of his life with the blessing of the Lord.”
B. The book explains for unbelievers and believers that purpose and meaning in life is not found under the sun on this earth in our lives, but above the sun, in the heavens, in Jesus Christ who gives life! Jesus says to us in the gospel of John about life:
1. John 6:47 says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.”
2. John 10:10 says “I have come to give life and to give life more abundantly.”
C. This book will point you into the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World and show the emptiness of sin, and the satisfaction of God’s grace!