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  • Lit., the Assembly speaker, or, Collector (of sayings); Heb. Qohelet. The word was translated Ecclesiastes (meaning Assembly member) in the Septuagint; hence, the English name of the book.

  • The book of Proverbs stresses the wisdom that man receives of God through his contacting of God, wisdom that teaches man how to behave in his human life. Ecclesiastes stresses the vanity of vanities of all things under the sun, as realized by man through the wisdom received from God. No matter how good, excellent, marvelous, and wonderful a thing may be, as long as it is of the old creation, it is part of the vanity of vanities under the sun. Only the new creation, which is in the heavens and not “under the sun,” is not vanity but is reality. The next book, Song of Songs, stresses that Christ is the song of songs, the satisfaction of satisfactions to human life, which is versus the vanity of vanities of all things under the sun.

  • The word can also be translated vapor, breath. So throughout the book. The contents of Ecclesiastes are a description by Solomon, after his falling away from God (1 Kings 11:1-8) and returning back to God, of the human life of fallen mankind under the sun, a life in the corrupted world (Eph. 2:12). According to this book human history, from its beginning to the present, is vanity. Through all the positive and negative experiences of the human life under the sun, Solomon was deeply impressed and occupied with the vanity of vanities of the human life under the sun in its falling away from God. Man was created by God with the highest and most noble purpose, that is, to express God in His image with His divine life and nature (Gen. 1:26 and note Gen. 1:263d). But God’s enemy, Satan the devil, came in to inject himself as sin into the man God created for His purpose (Gen. 3:1-6). Through this fall, man and all the created things that had been committed by God to man’s dominion were brought into the slavery of corruption and made subject to vanity (Rom. 8:20-21). Thus, the human life in the corrupted world also became vanity, a chasing after wind (v. 14). The writer fully realized this and stressed this to the uttermost in his description. Yet he was not fully disappointed in this; rather, he instructed men that there is a way to escape this vanity, i.e., to come back to God and take God as man’s everything, man’s redemption, life, wealth, enjoyment, pleasure, and satisfaction (Eccl. 12:13), that man may still be used by God to fulfill His original purpose in creating man, for the accomplishing of God’s eternal economy.

  • Lit., shepherding. Alternatively, the phrase could be translated, a feeding on wind (cf. Hosea 12:1). So throughout the book.

  • Solomon set his heart to seek and to search out all that is done under the heavens, and he observed that all the works of man under the sun are done in cycle, going on and on, remaining the same generation after generation, like the phenomena in nature (vv. 3-7). All things are wearisome, nothing is satisfying, there is nothing new, and nothing is remembered (vv. 8-11). In his conclusion after all his experiments in the human life, all is vanity and a chasing after wind (vv. 2, 14). Such a conclusion of the wise king by his wisdom may be considered a history of the vain life of a fallen man. His conclusion in this book is like a dirge to a man whose end is in misery.

    All the unveilings that issued out of the writer’s experiments and searching and testing should not be considered the divine revelation from God concerning His divine purpose for human life, though they are included in the Scriptures under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They are the conclusion of the writer’s research in his experiments in the realm of the human life of fallen man under the sun. In the divine intention all the concluding words may be considered proverbs, words of wisdom, that direct fallen and aim-missing men to return to God (Eccl. 12:1, 13-14) and receive Him, according to His New Testament economy, in His Son as their Redeemer and life, that they may be regenerated to be the God-men for the accomplishing of God’s eternal economy. Cf. note Psa. 1:11a, par. 2 and note Prov. 1:11a, par. 2.

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