The Book of Ecclesiastes

The book of Ecclesiastes, also called “the Qoheleth,” is originally taken from the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Bible. It is found in the Old Testament, between the book of Proverbs and the Song of Songs. These three poetic works are traditionally attributed to the same author: King Solomon. The theme of “meaninglessness” is found in the prologue: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2). It's from Ecclesiastes 3 that we get the popular saying: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Here is what the wisdom of Ecclesiastes teaches us:

What is the Story of Ecclesiastes?

Who is the Qoheleth?

It is said to be Solomon, author of this book. Of all the kings of Judea, Solomon is undeniably the richest. The book of Proverbs gives us access to the wisdom of he who, during his reign, made gold and silver as common as stones. The Bible tells us, in the book of Kings, that God gave him this exceptional wisdom because he asked for it with all his heart for the purpose of governing the people under his responsibility well. Therefore, it is a true privilege to receive advice from this renowned king.

How can we understand the message of Ecclesiastes?

At first glance, the message of Ecclesiastes can seem pessimistic and fatalist. Indeed, the theme of meaninglessness and death are much discussed within. However, the book says: “The end of a matter is better than its beginning...” (Ecclesiastes 7:8), and the end says: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). The message of Ecclesiastes is therefore that we should not expect lasting happiness from the pleasures of this world, because they only last an instant. Rather, we should more actively look to fear God, because He is the source of true wisdom. The same author confirms this in the book of Proverbs, saying: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge!” (Proverbs 1:7)

8 Beautiful Bible Passages from the Book of Ecclesiastes

“It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools.” (Ecclesiastes 7:5)

“What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 1:3)

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor” (Ecclesiastes 4:9)

“a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,” (Ecclesiastes 3:4)

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”  (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

“Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, ‘I find no pleasure in them.” (Ecclesiastes 12:1)

“Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful than ten rulers in a city.” (Ecclesiastes 7:19)

“As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.” (Ecclesiastes 10:1)