Bible Commentaries

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Ecclesiastes Overview

Introduction

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ECCLESIASTES OR, THE PREACHER.

THE STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK AS A WHOLE.



Ecclesiastes 1:1. INTRODUCTION.
Ecclesiastes 1:2 - Ecclesiastes 6:9. THE CHIEF GOOD. WHAT IT IS NOT.
Ecclesiastes 6:10 - Ecclesiastes 12:12. THE CHIEF GOOD. WHAT IT IS.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14. CONCLUSION.


The name of this book comes direct from the Latin Vulgate through the Sept. version. The Hebrew name is KOHELETH = Assembler or Convener (an appellative, not a proper name). It is feminine, to agree with the word Wisdom, which is feminine, and is therefore Wisdom personified (as in
Proverbs 1:20; Proverbs 8:7, and always with masculine verbs. Cp. Matthew 11:19. Luke 7:35; Luke 11:49, Luke 11:50). KOHELETH is from kahal = to call, assemble, or gather together. This is what Solomon did (1 Kings 8:1, 1 Kings 8:2, 1 Kings 8:5). It occurs with a feminine verb in Ecclesiastes 7:27. The word Koheleth occurs seven times in the book (Appdx-10): three times at the beginning (Ecclesiastes 1:1, Ecclesiastes 1:2, Ecclesiastes 1:12); three times at the end (Ecclesiastes 12:8, Ecclesiastes 12:9, Ecclesiastes 12:10); and once in the middle (Ecclesiastes 7:27).

This book formed part of the Hebrew Bible long before the time of Christ, and is therefore included in His word, "the Scriptures" (
Matthew 22:29, 2 Timothy 3:16, &c). It is given in the list of canonical books by Josephus (A.D. 37), and is included in all the Ancient Versions made before Christ. It has been rejected by some, or put to a late date, on account of its alleged Theology. Theology is man""s reasoning about the Word of God, as Science (so called) is man""s reasoning about the Works of God. Because Genesis does not agree with Science that book is rejected by Rationalists. Because Ecclesiastes does not agree with Theology, this book is rejected, as uninspired, even by some Evangelical theologians.

True, the Bible contains an inspired record of what people said and did; and it does not follow that all that they said or did was inspired. Nevertheless, it is inconceivable that this can apply to a
whole book, without a word of warning. Those who can imagine such a thing refuse the evidence that Christ in Luke 16:19-30 is using the language of His enemies, and in v. 31 giving His own Divine pronouncement. They strain out the gnat and swallow the camel. They do not see that, if anyone whole book is not apart of "THE ORACLES OF GOD", every Christian doctrine loses its foundation. There could have been in that case no Divine selection or preservation of books, and no Divine CANON OF SCRIPTURE. If ONE book is thus ruled out, then another may be. Doubt is thus cast upon the whole Bible, and we have no "Word of God" at all! If this book be not part of the Word and words of God, then we have no reply to those who reject Genesis, Daniel, Jonah, or the Apocalypse, who do so on the same ground of human reasoning. If the inner consciousness of each individual is to decide what is and what is not "Scripture", there is an end of Divine Revelation altogether.

In any case Solomon""s "wisdom" was given him by God (
1 Kings 3:5-12; 1 Kings 4:29-34), and this "wisdom" was therefore "from above" (James 3:17), as Luke""s was (see note on Luke 1:3). Moreover, Solomon did not lose it, for it "remained with" him (Ecclesiastes 52:9).

Ecclesiastes 1:2 - Ecclesiastes 6:9. THE CHIEF GOOD. WHAT IT IS NOT.
Ecclesiastes 1:2-11. Man. His labour. Vanity.
Ecclesiastes 1:12 - Ecclesiastes 2:26. Personal search.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-9. Man. Times for his labour.
Ecclesiastes 3:10 - Ecclesiastes 4:16. Personal Observation.
Ecclesiastes 5:1-12. Man. His works.
Ecclesiastes 5:13 - Ecclesiastes 6:9. Personal Observation.

Ecclesiastes 1:2-11. MAN. HIS LABOUR.
Ecclesiastes 1:2-7. Transience. "Passeth away".
Ecclesiastes 1:8. Dissatisfaction.
Ecclesiastes 1:9-10. Recurrence.
Ecclesiastes 1:11. Oblivion.

Ecclesiastes 1:12 - Ecclesiastes 2:26. PERSONAL SEARCH.
Ecclesiastes 1:12-15. Labour. Things done.
Ecclesiastes 1:16-18. Wisdom.
Ecclesiastes 2:1-3. Pleasure sought.
Ecclesiastes 2:4-8. Labour. "Great works".
Ecclesiastes 2:9. Wisdom.
Ecclesiastes 2:10. Pleasure enjoyed.
Ecclesiastes 2:11. Labour. "Great works".
Ecclesiastes 2:12-16. Wisdom.
Ecclesiastes 2:17 -. Pleasure hated.
Ecclesiastes 2:17-25. Labour. "All my labour".
Ecclesiastes 2:6 -. Wisdom.
Ecclesiastes 2:26. Pleasure judged.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-9. MAN. TIMES FOR HIS LABOUR.
Ecclesiastes 3:1. Labour. Its appointment.
Ecclesiastes 3:2-8. Seasons.
Ecclesiastes 3:9. Labour. Its profit.

Ecclesiastes 3:10 - Ecclesiastes 4:16. PERSONAL OBSERVATION.
Ecclesiastes 3:10. Labour. Sons of men.
Ecclesiastes 3:11. Wisdom. Man ignorant of God""s work.
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13. Pleasure, or enjoyment.
Ecclesiastes 3:14-15. Labour. God""s work is forever.
Ecclesiastes 3:16-21. Wisdom. Man""s ignorance like beasts"".
Ecclesiastes 3:22. Pleasure, or enjoyment.
Ecclesiastes 4:1-4. Labour. For others.
Ecclesiastes 4:4-5. Wisdom. The fool, none.
Ecclesiastes 4:6. Pleasure, or enjoyment.
Ecclesiastes 4:7-12. Labour. "For whom".
Ecclesiastes 4:13-14. Wisdom.
Ecclesiastes 4:15-16. Pleasure, or enjoyment. None.

Ecclesiastes 5:1-12. MAN. HIS WORKS.
Ecclesiastes 5:1-2. Works.
Ecclesiastes 5:3. Reason.
Ecclesiastes 5:4-6. Vows.
Ecclesiastes 5:7. Reason.
Ecclesiastes 5:8 -. Perverting of judgment.
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, Ecclesiastes 5:8. Reason.
Ecclesiastes 5:9-12. Riches.

Ecclesiastes 5:13 - Ecclesiastes 6:9. PERSONAL OBSERVATION.
Ecclesiastes 5:13. Self. Labour for.
Ecclesiastes 5:14-15. Profitless.
Ecclesiastes 5:16. Self. Labour for.
Ecclesiastes 5:17. Profitless.
Ecclesiastes 5:18-20. Long life.
Ecclesiastes 6:1-2 -. Self. Riches for.
Ecclesiastes 6:2. Profitless.
Ecclesiastes 6:3 -. Self. Children.
Ecclesiastes 6:3. Profitless.
Ecclesiastes 6:4-9. Long life.

Ecclesiastes 6:10-12. THE CHIEF GOOD. WHAT IT IS.
Ecclesiastes 6:10 - Ecclesiastes 7:14. Man. In himself.
. Personal proving.
Ecclesiastes 8:1-8. Man. In his wisdom.
Ecclesiastes 8:9-10. Personal observation.
Ecclesiastes 8:11-13. Man. In his evil-doing.
Ecclesiastes 8:14 - Ecclesiastes 9:1. Personal observation.
Ecclesiastes 9:2-10. Man. In his end.
Ecclesiastes 9:11 - Ecclesiastes 10:15. Personal inspection.
Ecclesiastes 10:16 - Ecclesiastes 12:8. Man. In his different portions.
Ecclesiastes 12:9-12. Personal information.

Ecclesiastes 6:10 - Ecclesiastes 7:14. MAN. IN HIMSELF.
Ecclesiastes 6:10. Man and God.
Ecclesiastes 6:11 - Ecclesiastes 7:10. Good. Q. What is it?
Ecclesiastes 7:11-12. Good. Ans. What is it?
Ecclesiastes 7:13-14. God and man.

Ecclesiastes 7:15-29. PERSONAL PROVING.
Ecclesiastes 7:15-16 -. Overmuch righteousness.
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, Ecclesiastes 7:16. Reason.
Ecclesiastes 7:17 -. Overmuch wickedness.
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, Ecclesiastes 7:17-18. Reason.
Ecclesiastes 7:19. Overmuch might.
Ecclesiastes 7:20. Reason.
Ecclesiastes 7:21. Overmuch heed.
Ecclesiastes 7:22. Reason.
Ecclesiastes 7:23-25. Overmuch wisdom.
Ecclesiastes 7:26. Reason.
Ecclesiastes 7:27-28 -. Overmuch search.
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, Ecclesiastes 7:28-29. Reason.

Ecclesiastes 8:1-8. MAN. IN HIS WISDOM.
Ecclesiastes 8:1 -. Wisdom. Happiness of it.
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, Ecclesiastes 8:1. Reason.
Ecclesiastes 8:2-3. King""s commandment.
Ecclesiastes 8:4. King""s word.
Ecclesiastes 8:5. Wisdom. Strength of it.
Ecclesiastes 8:6-8. Reason.

Ecclesiastes 8:9-10. PERSONAL OBSERVATION.
Ecclesiastes 8:9 -. Observation.
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, Ecclesiastes 8:9. Result.
Ecclesiastes 8:10 -. Observation.
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, Ecclesiastes 8:10. Result.

Ecclesiastes 8:11-13. MAN IN HIS EVIL-DOING.
Ecclesiastes 8:11. Consequences of God""s suspended judgment.
Ecclesiastes 8:12 -. Evil-doing prolonged.
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, Ecclesiastes 8:12. Evil-doers. Well with them.
Ecclesiastes 8:13 -. Evil-doers. Evil with them.
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, Ecclesiastes 8:13 - Evil-doers"" days not prolonged.
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, Ecclesiastes 8:13. Cause. No fear of God.

Ecclesiastes 8:14 - Ecclesiastes 9:1. PERSONAL OBSERVATION.
Ecclesiastes 8:14. Contrariety. Man""s happenings.
Ecclesiastes 8:15 -. Mirth commended.
Ecclesiastes 8:15. Reason
Ecclesiastes 8:16 -. Wisdom. Man""s work on earth.
Ecclesiastes 8:16. Reason.
Ecclesiastes 8:17 -. Wisdom. God""s work on earth.
Ecclesiastes 8:17. Reason.
Ecclesiastes 9:1. Contrariety. God""s dealings.

Ecclesiastes 9:2-10. MAN. IN HIS END.
Ecclesiastes 9:2-3. The dead.
Ecclesiastes 9:4-5 -. The living.
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, Ecclesiastes 9:5-6. The dead.
Ecclesiastes 9:7-10. The living.
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, Ecclesiastes 9:10. The dead.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 - Ecclesiastes 10:15. PERSONAL INSPECTION.
Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 -. Wisdom. Unequally requited, &c.
Ecclesiastes 9:12. Man snared by ignorance.
Ecclesiastes 9:13-15 -. Wisdom. Better than strength.
Ecclesiastes 9:15. Man benefits by wisdom of poor.
Ecclesiastes 9:16 -. Wisdom. Better than strength.
Ecclesiastes 9:16. Man despises wisdom of poor.
Ecclesiastes 9:17-18 -. Wisdom. Better than strength.
Ecclesiastes 9:18. Man""s folly destroys what is good.
Ecclesiastes 10:1. Wisdom. Better than reputation.
Ecclesiastes 10:2. Man""s heart betrays his folly.
Ecclesiastes 10:3 -. Wisdom of the fool fails him.
Ecclesiastes 10:3. Man""s folly declares itself.
Ecclesiastes 10:4-5. Wisdom. Better than power.
Ecclesiastes 10:6-7. Man""s folly often in high places.
Ecclesiastes 10:8-10 -. Wisdom. Better than labour.
Ecclesiastes 10:10. Man""s wisdom saves labour.
Ecclesiastes 10:11-12 -. Wisdom""s words are gracious.
Ecclesiastes 10:12-15. Man""s words destroy himself.

Ecclesiastes 11:7 - Ecclesiastes 12:8. YOUTH.
Ecclesiastes 11:7-8 -. Youth. Rejoice.
Ecclesiastes 11:8 -. Remembrance. Days of darkness.
Ecclesiastes 11:8. Vanity.
Ecclesiastes 11:9 -. Youth. Rejoice.
Ecclesiastes 11:9. Knowledge. Day of judgment.
Ecclesiastes 11:10. Vanity.
Ecclesiastes 12:1 -. Youth. Remember.
Ecclesiastes 12:1-7. Knowledge. Days of evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:8. Vanity.

Ecclesiastes 12:1-7. KNOWLEDGE. DAYS OF EVIL. Concerning Death.
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, Ecclesiastes 12:1. Evil days. Approach.
Ecclesiastes 12:2-4. Figures. Luminaries, &c.
Ecclesiastes 12:5 -. Literal. Fear. External. Figures
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, Ecclesiastes 12:5 -. Figures. Almond tree, &c. Transl-
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, Ecclesiastes 12:5. Literal. Failure. ated.
Ecclesiastes 12:6. Figures. Silver cord, &c.
Ecclesiastes 12:7. Evil days. (Literal.)

Ecclesiastes 1:1 The words. Rashi says that, when this expression occurs at the beginning of a book, it shows that the book is meant for reproof, and he gives evidence from Deuteronomy 1:1 (Cp. Ecclesiastes 32:15). Amos 1:1 (Cp. Ecclesiastes 4:1). Jeremiah 1:1 (Cp. Ecclesiastes 30:6). David, 2 Samuel 23:1 (cp. v. Ecclesiastes 1:6).

the Preacher. This comes from Luther""s version "Prediger"; but "Koheleth" does not include the idea of preaching. Some of its teaching is individual (Ecclesiastes 3:17); and succeeding appeals are in the second person.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bul/ecclesiastes-0.html. 1909-1922.