When King Solomon wrote The Book of Ecclesiastes, I doubt he meant to confound people, but that the book does. It humbles us. Ecclesiastes does not shame us, but when we read it carefully, we can begin to see the degree to which we are led by our prejudices instead of wisdom.
What is the source of confusion? It lies in each of us. We can read into Ecclesiastes what we want to find, or we can struggle pass what in pride we would prefer to believe. So it was with me. Even though I was delighted by it, I did not understand Ecclesiastes. At first I saw the book as a vindication. After all, consider how the book begins.
Ecclesiastes 1:1-2 New King James Version (NKJV)
1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
2 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher;
“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
In fact, I had entirely misunderstood Ecclesiastes. Solomon was not making excuses for us. What Solomon wanted us to understand was his own regret. Solomon had lived most of his own life without keeping God at the center of it. Ecclesiastes was Solomon remorse filled testimony, but Solomon was a king and a teacher. Therefore, in Ecclesiastes Solomon maintains his dignity. Until we stop to look for it, we don’t realize just how much of the book is filled with the sorrow and repentance of an old man.
So it is. At first, I completely misunderstood Ecclesiastes. While Ecclesiastes may not be the strangest in the Bible or the most difficult to understand, I was even puzzled as to why it was in the Bible. To understand the book, I had to consult some good commentaries. Then it began to make sense, and I saw what at first I had overlooked.
Here in his post scatterwisdom pulls some of the key verses from the text. When we see that this is what Solomon had to teach us, we can began to understand why our Lord included Ecclesiastes in His Bible.