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The Blue Letter Bible

Dr. J. Vernon McGee :: Notes for Ecclesiastes

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WRITER: Solomon. The book is the “dramatic autobiography of his life when he got away from God.”

TITLE: Ecclesiastes means “preacher” or “philosopher.”

PURPOSE: The purpose of any book of the Bible is important to the correct understanding of it; this is no more evident than here. Human philosophy, apart from God, must inevitably reach the conclusions in this book; therefore, there are many statements which seem to contradict the remainder of Scripture. It almost frightens us to know that this book has been the favorite of atheists, and they (e.g., Volney and Voltaire) have quoted from it profusely. Man has tried to be happy without God, and this book shows the absurdity of the attempt. Solomon, the wisest of men, tried every field of endeavor and pleasure known to man; his conclusion was, “All is vanity.”
God showed Job, a righteous man, that he was a sinner in God’s sight. In Ecclesiastes God showed Solomon, the wisest man, that he was a fool in God’s sight.

ESTIMATIONS: In Ecclesiastes, we learn that without Christ we cannot be satisfied, even if we possess the whole world — the heart is too large for the object. In the Song of Solomon, we learn that if we turn from the world and set our affections on Christ, we cannot fathom the infinite preciousness of His love — the Object is too large for the heart.
Dr. A. T. Pierson said, “There is a danger in pressing the words in the Bible into a positive announcement of scientific fact, so marvelous are some of these correspondencies. But it is certainly a curious fact that Solomon should use language entirely consistent with discoveries such as evaporation and storm currents (Ecc 1:6, 7). Some have boldly said that Redfield’s theory of storms is here explicitly stated. Without taking such ground, we ask, who taught Solomon to use terms that readily accommodate facts? Who taught him that the movement of the winds, which seem to be so lawless and uncertain, is ruled by laws as positive as those which rule the growth of the plant; and that by evaporation, the waters that fall on the earth are continually rising again, so that the sea never overflows? Ecclesiastes 12:6 is a poetic description of death. The ‘silver cord’ describes the spinal marrow, the ‘golden bowl’ the basin which holds the brain, the ‘pitcher’ the lungs, and the ‘wheel’ the heart. Without claiming that Solomon was inspired to foretell the circulation of the blood, 26 centuries before Harvey announced it, is it not remarkable that the language he uses exactly suits the facts — a wheel pumping up through one pipe to discharge through another?”

KEY WORD: “Vanity” occurs 37 times. Most Bible teachers would give the phrase “under the sun,” which occurs 29 times.

Outline for Proverbs ← Prior Section
Outline for Ecclesiastes Next Section →
Notes for Proverbs ← Prior Book
Notes for Song of Solomon Next Book →
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