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Book of Ecclesiastes

















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Ecclesiastes 1

King James Version
Everything Is Meaningless
1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
3 What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?
4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
8 All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.

Wisdom Is Meaningless
12 I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.
14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.
16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.
17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.
18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.1

References and notes
1.  King James Authorized Version



Music for Ecclesiastes 1

Click on image for song preview of Ecclesiastes 1. Ecclesiastes 1 was composed in 2005 and features on the CD album Ecclesiastes.

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Summary of Ecclesiastes 1

Ecclesiastes opens with a prologue in which the author identifies himself, declares his theme, and introduces the question addressed in this book. He describes himself as "the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem" (1:12). He begins his "sermon" in a way that certainly grabs your attention: declaring all to be vanity (meaningless). Having our attention, he asks the question that will be answered in the course of his sermon: what profit does a man have from all his labour in which he toils under the sun (1-3)? It is a question that is prompted by what he sees in the cycles of life. Generations of people come and go. The sun rises and sets, only to do the same day after day. Wind currents and water cycles are constantly repeated, and man is never satisfied with what he sees or hears. While we think new things are being done, it is only because we don't remember the past. In reality there is nothing new under the sun (4-11). With the question introduced, the Preacher describes his own search. As king over Israel in Jerusalem, he wanted to know what everyone one wants to know - what profit is there for all the labour done under the sun? Right up front he tells us what he found: all is vanity and grasping for the wind. Having been blessed with greatness and wisdom (from God, cf. 1 Ki 3:12-13), he began his search exploring wisdom, madness and folly. He found that much wisdom and knowledge (i.e., human wisdom) was only the source of much grief and sorrow (12-18).2


Index to Ecclesiastes

The Index to Ecclesiastes is a great starting point for searching the Book of Ecclesiastes. The index page contains Daily Scriptures and easy links to chapters for the Book of Ecclesiastes. The pages may include song previews, background information, commentary, sermons, videos, and details of the Bible author.

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