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Book of Ecclesiastes

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Author: --- Background & Theme --- dated at:
Most likely king Solomon. King Solomon writes the book calling himself the preacher, the king of Jerusalem. The book is about Solomon's search for wisdom and the meaning in life, concluding that; life is but a vapor, life without God is meaningless and all of mans efforts apart from God are fruitless. That it is best for man to remember his Creator and live a quiet peaceable life. Enjoying the good of all his labors that God has given him, fearing God and keeping His commandments.
twelve chapters
Near the end of Solomon's life, around 930 BC.

Verse by verse, account of the book of Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes: chapter 1

1The words of the preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem, NOTE: (considered to be king Solomon).

2Emptiness and meaningless all is vanity, says the preacher. 3What profit is there to a man in all his life long labors?

4Generations are replaced by other generations, yet the earth stands throughout all. 5The sun rises and sets, only to complete the same cycle the next day. 6The wind continually blows about south and then north, only to return again according to its set pattern. 7All the rivers continually flow into the sea, yet the sea does not fill up. 8All things require labors and words are lacking. The eye and the ear cannot satisfy themselves.

9History repeats itself, what was done before will be done again, there is nothing new under the sun. 10Even the thing's people deem new, are concepts from the past. 11People have no reasoning of former generations, neither do generations have the knowledge and reasoning of future generations.

12As preacher I have been king over Israel of Jerusalem. 13I have set my heart to seek wisdom concerning all earthly things, God has given to the sons of man this sad task to humble themselves. 14I have seen all the earthly works and all is vanity and striving in vain. 15The crooked cannot be made straight and the more we know of our lack, the greater it becomes. 16I have thought in my heart; I have become great, I have greater human wisdom than all who have come before me in Jerusalem. 17I have set my heart to know earthly wisdom, madness and folly, this is also striving in vain. 18For in much earthly wisdom there is much grief and he that seeks great earthy knowledge increases in sorrow.

Ecclesiastes: chapter 2

1So my thought was to satisfy my heart with joy and pleasure, but this was also emptiness. 2For I questioned laughter, thinking it was madness and wondered what pleasure ever accomplished? 3Then I turned my heart over to wine to find cheer, yet keeping my heart set on human wisdom. That I might discover the good purpose for the sons of men to strive for all the days of their life.

4I accomplished great works, building houses and planted vineyards. 5Gardens and orchards, having all kinds of fruit trees. 6Setting in place pools of water, to irrigate the orchards. 7I had servants and maidens and servants born in my house. Having great possessions of all kinds of cattle, beyond that of all of Jerusalem. 8I gathered treasures of silver and gold and various kings treasure. Acquiring male and female singers and musical instruments of all sorts. 9And I became great, having more than anyone had in Jerusalem and my wisdom remained with me.

10Whatever my eyes desired, I acquired for myself, nor did I withhold any joy from my heart. For my heart rejoice in all my labors. 11So I looked at all my various labors and saw that all was vanity and striving in vain, having no profit under the sun.

12I then turned to consider human wisdom, madness and folly. For what can the man do that succeeds the king, for all has already been done and archived. 13And I saw that even human wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness. 14For the wise man sees where he is going, but the fool walks in darkness, yet I perceived that in the end the same happens to them both.

15When I realized that the end of the fool, will also be my end. I questioned why I was wiser? I thought to myself, human wisdom is also vanity. 16For over time there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool.

17Therefore I despised life, for all the work and labors that is done is vanity and striving in vain. 18All of my labors, I then despise, seeing that I must leave it to the man who succeeds me. 19Whether he be a wise man or a fool, he shall have rule over all that I have accomplished. This is also vanity. 20Therefore in my heart I renounced all of my past labors. 21For a man that labors in wisdom, knowledge and skill, yet he must leave a portion to the man that has not labored. This is also vanity and a great evil. 22For what does a man archive from all his labors and all of his strivings? 23For all his days are sorrows and his strivings grief, even in the night his heart does not take a rest. This is also vanity.

24For there is no true happiness in eating, drinking and enjoying ones good labors and this, I also believe came from the hand of God. 25For who can eat and indulge in pleasures, more than I? 26For God gives to the man that is good in His sight wisdom, knowledge and joy, but to the sinner He gives labors, This also is vanity and striving in vain.

Ecclesiastes: chapter 3

1Everything has its season and purpose on the earth. 2A time to be born and a time to die. A time to sow and a time to reap the harvest. 3A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to destroy and a time to construct. 4A time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to be joyful. 5A time to cast down barriers and a time to build up barriers. A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing. 6A time to get gain and a time to lose. A time to store up and a time to discard. 7A time to grieve and a time to recover. A time to keep silent and a time to speak. 8A time to love and a time to hate. A time of war and a time of peace.

9And what profit does a man have for all of his labors? 10For I have seen all the labor that God has given to the sons of men, that they may be humbled by them. 11God has made everything beautiful in its time and has put a desire in man's heart for eternity, yet no man can determine God's work from beginning to end. 12I see that there is nothing better for man to do than to rejoice and to do good in his life. 13That every man should eat, drink and be content in the good of all his labors, for this is a gift of God. 14I know that whatever God does is eternal. Nothing can be added to it or taken away from it, for God established it, therefore, men should fear before Him. 15For to God, all that has been is now and all that is to be has already been.

16Moreover I saw that in the place of God's judgment, man's wickedness was there and in the place of His righteousness, man's iniquity was there. 17And I thought in my heart; God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is an appointed time for everything and every work. 18I then thought in my heart concerning the welfare of the sons of men, that God is testing them, so that they might see that without Him, they are but beasts. 19For the same that befalls a beast also befalls the sons of men. They both die as the one dies, they both breath the same air. I see no preeminence of man over beast. 20They both return to the same place, they both came from the dust and both return to the dust. 21For we cannot say of the spirit of man if it goes upward and the spirit of the beast that goes downward to the earth. 22Therefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than a man should rejoice in his own works, for that has been given to him. For shall he be brought back to see what is to be after him?

Ecclesiastes: chapter 4

1Next I considered all the oppressions that happens on this earth and to consider the tears of them who were oppressed. For the oppressed had not peace or comfort and their oppressors had power, but they had no peace or comforter. 2Therefore I thought the dead to be more fortunate than the living. 3And better yet is he who has not been born, having not seen the evils of this world.

4Again, I considered all men's labor and every right work and for this a man, he is envied by his neighbor. This is also vanity and striving in vain. 5The foolish man sits back in idleness, slowly destroying himself through his own slothfulness. 6Better is little substance and a simple life with quietness, than an abundance of subsistence full of grief and striving in vain.

7I turned yet again and saw yet more vanity. 8The solitary person having no one beside him, obsessively working at all his labor. He is not satisfied with riches, yet he never considers for whom he labors for, depriving himself of good. This too is vanity and a striving in vain.

9Two are better than one, for they have a good reward for their labor. 10For if one falls, the other one will lift him up. But woe to him that is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. 11Again, if two lie together, they have warmth between them, but if one lie alone, how can he remain warm? 12And though a man who is alone might prevail against another, two shall withstand him and a threefold cord is not easily broken.

13Better is a poor and wise child than an old and foolish king, who no longer knows how to receive council. 14For I have seen the poor rise to greatness and reign, while he that is born in riches becomes poor. 15For I watched all men with their children who will come to reign in their place. 16There is no end of the people and the ruling kingships and the people do not rejoice for either father or son. Surely, this also is vanity and striving in vain.

Ecclesiastes: chapter 5

1Remain alert when you go into the house of God and be eager to hear, rather than give a sacrifice like fools do, for they do not consider the evil that they do. 2Be not hasty to utter anything, from your heart before God, for God is in heaven and you are on the earth, therefore, let your words be few. 3For achievements are fulfilled through much work and plans, but a fool is known by his many words. 4When you make a vow unto God, do not delay in keeping it. For God has no pleasure in fools, therefore, do what you have vowed. 5It is better not to make a vow, than to make one and not fulfill it.

6Do not allow your mouth to cause your flesh to sin, trying then to justify your words. Why provoke God's anger and have the work of your hands destroyed? 7In the multitude of dreams, both words and vanities abound, rather fear God.

8When you see the oppression of the poor and justice being perverted do not marvel at the matter, but know that God whom is higher than they, regards the matter. 9For the wealth of the earth is for all, even the king himself is served through the earth. 10He that loves riches shall not be satisfied with riches, nor shall he that loves abundance be satisfied with increase, this is also vanity. 11When goods increase, expenses also increase and what good is there to the owner, except to behold the increase but for a moment with their eyes. 12The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he earns little or much, but the sufficiency of the wealthy will not let him sleep. 13I have seen a serious and painful evil, a man will store up riches for himself, to his own hurt. 14For those riches are lost through evil business, then the man brings forth a son and has nothing. 15As the man came forth of his mother's womb, naked, he shall also return as he came. Taking nothing because of his labors, that he strove so hard for. 16And this is also a painful evil, that in every condition as he came into this life, so shall he also leave it. Therefore, what profit does a man gain for all of his labors, are they not in vain. 17For all of his days he eats in darkness, having much sorrow, anger and sickness.

18This is what I have seen, that it is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, enjoying the good of all his labors that God has given him. 19To every man to whom God has given riches and wealth with the ability to eat of, is his portion and he should rejoice in his labors, for this is the gift of God. 20And he shall not much remember the days of his life, because God responses to him through the joy of his heart.

Ecclesiastes: chapter 6

1This is a common evil among men that I have seen. 2That men that God gives riches, wealth and honor to, want for nothing. Yet God has not given him the power and the ability to enjoy his riches, rather a stranger enjoys them. This is emptiness and an evil affliction. 3If a man has a long life and many children, yet his soul is not joyful. Upon his burial, where there is no honor, I say that the life of a stillborn child is better than his. 4For the stillborn child came, only to depart in darkness and his name shall be covered with darkness. 5For the child has not seen the sun, nor knows anything and has more rest than the other. 6Even though the man may live a thousand years, yet he has not experienced any good and do not both go to the same place?

7All the labor of man is for his flesh, yet his soul remains unfilled. 8For what advantage is there then to the wise above the fool or the poor who begs for their living? 9It is better to be content having a single focus, then having a wandering desire. For this also leads to vanity and vexation of the spirit.

10Concerning man, whatever has been put into place will be, for man cannot contend with God, whom is mightier than he. 11There are many words and things that increase vanity. Therefore to what profit is man the better for this? 12For who can say what is good for man all the days of his vain life which he spends as a shadow, for can anyone tell a man what is to be after his days are spent?

Ecclesiastes: chapter 7

1A good name is better than precious ointment and the day of death is better than the day of one's birth. 2It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting. For that is the end of all men and the living may learn from it. 3Sorrow is better than laughter, for through sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. 4The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of carnal joy and laughter. 5It is better to be rebuked by the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools. 6Just as the crackling of twigs under a cooking pot, so is the laughter of the fool and this is also vanity. 7Oppression makes a wise man mad and a bribe overshadows one's judgment. 8Better is the end of a thing than the beginning and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. 9Do not be quick to anger, for anger lives in the heart of fools. 10Do not wonder if the former days were better than the current days, for this is not wise to do.

11To those who have wealth, wisdom and good understanding is essential. 12Wisdom is a defense and so is wealth, but the excellency of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to those who possess it. 13Consider the work of God, who can change one thing that He puts into place? 14God has set in place both the day of prosperity and the day adversity, so that God Himself may be perceived as the One sustaining and guiding human destiny.

15All these things have I seen in the days of my vanity. A just man is cut down early in his life, while the wicked man prolongs his days according to his wickedness. 16Therefore be humble in all that you do. Do not be presumptuous about being righteous or wise, allowing pride to destroy you. 17Do not be overly wicked, nor be foolish, for why should you die before your time? 18It is good that you should consider and understand this, for he that fears God shall come forth from them.

19Wisdom makes the wise man, greater than ten mighty rulers of a city. 20But there is not a just man on the earth, that does good and does not sin. 21And do not consider all words that you hear spoken, lest you become known as a gossip and people curse you. 22For oftentimes you know in your own heart that you have cursed others.

23All of this have I proven by wisdom. I have set out to be wise, but it is far from me. 24For wisdom is far off and exceeding deep, who then can ever find it? 25I set my heart to seek out and understand wisdom, reasoning all things, knowing the wickedness of folly, foolishness and madness. 26And I found this to be more bitter than death, a woman who leads and seduces one away from God. The man that pleases God shall escape her, but the sinner shall be taken by her. 27This I have learned from experience, says (Solomon) the preacher. 28And yet my soul still seeks for an upright woman. Perhaps one man out of a thousand have I found, but a woman among the multitudes I have not found. NOTE: (This verse denotes the fact that Solomon's many wives and concubines turned his heart away from God, 1st Kings 11:3). 29This is the only lessen I have learned, God made man upright, but we have sought out many inventions to our own demise.

Ecclesiastes: chapter 8

1Who is as the wise and can understand anything? Man's wisdom makes his face to shine and changes the demeanor of his nature.

2I counsel you to keep the king's commandment, even because of the oath of God. 3Be not hasty to forsake the king or take up an evil thing, for the king does what is pleasing to him. 4For there is power in the word of a king and whom shall question him? 5No harm shall come to whoever keeps the king's commandment and a wise man's heart discerns both time and judgment.

6For to everything there is time and judgment, yet the misery of man is great upon him. 7For he does not know what shall be and who can tell him what shall be?

8No man has the power to retain or control the spirit, he does not have power in the day of death, nor is there is no escaping death. And wickedness shall not deliver the wicked.

9All this I have seen as I applied my heart to every work, that there is a time when one man will rule over another man, even to his own hurt. 10Then I saw the wicked, that went around in the holy place, buried and they were quickly forgotten about in that city. This is also vanity. 11For the judgment against an evil work is not executed promptly, therefore, the heart of the sons of men is fully set on doing evil. 12Even though a sinner does evil a hundred times and his days are prolonged, I know that it shall be well with them that fear God. 13But it shall not be well with the wicked, for he himself cannot prolong his own days, which are but a shadow, because he does not fear God.

14There is a futility, that some just men get the reward of the wicked and wicked men that get the just reward of the righteous. This also is vanity. 15I then sought joy, for there is no better thing for a man on this earth, then to eat, drink and be merry. For that abides with him all the days of his life, that God has given to him. 16As I applied my heart to seek and know wisdom concerning the things that are done upon the earth, where some men sleep neither day nor night taking care of their actives. 17I realized that the work of God here on earth, man cannot determine. Even though man labors to figure it out and wise men deem to know it, neither of them are able to determine it.

Ecclesiastes: chapter 9

1Considering all this, I thought in my heart that the works of the righteous and wise are in the hand of God. Whether it be love or hatred, no man knows all that is before them. 2The same event comes to both the righteous and the wicked, to the good and clean and to the unclean, to him that makes sacrifices and to him that does not make sacrifices. As is the good, so is the sinner and the man that swears an oath, as the man that fears taking an oath.

3I find this to be an evil on the earth, that the same conditions are given to all and the heart of the sons of man are full of evil and madness while they live and after that they go to the dead. 4However there is hope for all those who are chosen, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

5For the living know that they shall die, but the dead know nothing, neither do they have any more reward, because the memory of them has been forgotten. 6For their love, hatred and envy, has now perished and they no longer have a share in anything done on the earth. 7Therefore, go your way, eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has been pleased with your works.

8Let your garments always be white and pure and do not let your head lack the oil of gladness. 9Live joyfully and love your wife that God has given you, all the days of your existence on the earth. For that is your portion in this life, along with your labors on the earth. 10Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for there is no work, device, knowledge or wisdom, in the grave, where you shall eventually go.

11Then I realized that the race on earth is not to the swift, the battle is not to the strong, neither is food for the wise nor riches to men of understanding or even favor to skillful men, but rather time and chance happens to all of them. 12For man does not know his time. Just as fish that are caught in an evil net, so are the sons of men snared in an evil time and it comes upon them suddenly.

13I have also seen this great wisdom here on the earth; 14There was a small city with few men in it and a great king attacked it and built great bulwarks against it. 15Within the city there was a poor wise man and by his wisdom delivered the city, yet no man remembers the poor man.

16So I concluded that wisdom is better than strength. However the wisdom of the poor is despised and his words were not taken. 17The quiet words of wise men are heard above the cries of a ruler among fools. 18Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much of the good.

Ecclesiastes: chapter 10

1Dead flies cause a perfume to stink, also a little folly in the wise man, outweighs their wisdom and honor. 2A wise man's heart is at his right hand, but a fool's heart at his left. 3As a fool walks according to his own way, there is no wisdom and it says to everyone that sees him, this one is a fool.

4If a ruler rises up against you, do not take hasty action, for a yielding and a gentle spirit pacifies great offences.

5I have seen this evil on the earth, errors that come down from the people in charge. 6Foolishness is set in great dignity, while the rich and the wise sit in low places. 7I have seen servants upon horses and princes walking as servants upon the earth.

8The trap that you set for others, you shall fall into and whoever breaks in where they should not be, a serpent shall bite them.

9Whoever move's a landmark, to their own benefit, shall be grieved because of it. And he that is set on solving issues with force and violence shall be endangered by his own efforts.

10For if the iron is blunt and the edge not sharp, he must put forth more strength, but wisdom is profitable for all.

11The babbler or fool is no better than the snake that bites without enchantment.

12The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious, but the words of a fool will ensnare him. 13The speech of a fool begins with foolishness and ends with scheming or madness. 14A fool is full of words and even though he does not know what is or what shall be. 15Common labor wearies the fool so completely, they do not even know how to get back home.

16Woe to the land, when your king is immature and his nobles play all night and feast in the morning! 17Blessed is the land, when your king is the son of nobles and your princes eats in due season, for strength, rather than for drunkenness!

18Through much laziness plans decay and through idleness of the hands the house begins to leak. 19Rather than addressing the faltering building, a feast is made for laughter and wine to make merry and money is used to solve all things. 20However, do not curse the king, not even in thought, do not curse the rich in their bedchambers. For the entire matter is known to God.

Ecclesiastes: chapter 11

1Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you shall find it. 2Give out portions liberally, to seven, even to eight. For you do not know what evil shall come upon the earth. 3When the clouds are full of water, they rain upon the earth and if the tree fall toward the south or north, it lies where it has fallen. 4But he that waits and observes the wind conditions shall not sow and he that regards the clouds shall not reap.

5Man does not know the way of the spirit or the mystery of life forming in the womb and he does not know the works of God, who has made all. 6In the morning scatter your seed and in the evening do not withhold your hand from doing for others, for you do not know which good deed shall prosper. 7Truly the light is sweet and it is a pleasant thing for the eyes to behold the sun. 8But if a man lives many years and rejoices in them all, let him also remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many and all that comes is vanity.

9Young men rejoice in your youth. Let your heart cheer you on and direct you, in the days of your youth, guided by your eyes. But, know that all of your actions, God will bring into judgment. 10Therefore remove sorrow from your heart and put away evil from your flesh, for childhood and youth are also vanity.

Ecclesiastes: chapter 12

1Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come, nor the years draw near, when you shall say, I have no pleasure in them. 2While you can still see by the visible light of this world and before clouds of depression began to form. 3-4Before the later years when the body fails to serve you. 5And fears become an issue, desire fails and the mourners go about the streets. 6Remember your Creator before the gift of life is taken from you. 7For then shall you return to dust as you were and the spirit return to God, who gave it.

8Vanity of vanities, says the preacher, (Solomon), all is vanity. 9Because the preacher was wise, he taught the people knowledge. He listened to the people, seeking answers and he set in order many proverbs. 10The preacher sought to find upright and acceptable words of truth. 11For the words of the wise can be as thorns, as a hardened concept given by one pastor. 12My son, heed these words, for there is no end to writing and printing books and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

13Therefore, here is my conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's entire and complete duty. 14Remember, God will bring every work into judgment, every secret thing will be made known, whether it be good or evil.