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Bible Commentaries

G. Campbell Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible
Ecclesiastes 2

 

 


Verses 1-26

Turning from the pursuit of knowledge to the pathway of pleasure, the king had given himself up to mirth, seeking the false stimulus of wine. In this also he had been disappointed, finding that mirth was madness, and all pleasure incompetent to satisfy. He next turned to his great possessions, attempting to make such use of them as to bring satisfaction not found elsewhere. He surrounded himself with every kind of luxury, gathered large possessions, gave himself over to music and to women, allowing full reign to all his desires. All this also he had found to be vanity, nothing but a striving after wind, and again he had been driven to the conclusion that there was no profit under the sun.

Once again he tried a new pathway. He turned himself from the things that were almost exclusively physical to those of the mind. These were better, and he found that "wisdom excelleth folly." Yet he also perceived that "one event happeneth to all," both the fool and the wise pass on to death, so that this also ended in disappointment as keen as the others. He then summarized the results of his own experience of life "under the sun" in the terrible words: "I hated life . . . I hated all my labour . . . under the sun." The very exercise of wisdom resulted in gathering results into which the toiler did not enter, but which he left to another. Everything was vanity. The ultimate conclusion of his own experience was that there was nothing better than to eat and drink. The mental attitude to God which is not the result of direct spiritual fellowship is clearly revealed in these conclusions of the preacher. He does not deny God's existence, but recognizes Him as an intelligent Force operating purely for His own pleasure without any reference to the satisfaction of men. Everything is vanity. To live under the sun is to decide at last that the natural thing to do is to take what comes. Materialism necessarily becomes fatalism.

 


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Bibliography Information
Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 2:4". "G. Campbell Morgan Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gcm/ecclesiastes-2.html. 1857-84.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, August 13th, 2020
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19
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