I found I enjoyed Ecclesiastes more than the previous books of the Old Testament. It starts with a great feeling of the disillusionment of the old wise King (Solomon?) as he realises that all he has achieved – his great works and wealth, his happiness and wIsdom – is all vanity, and will not survive after this death ; that death comes to both the wise and the foolish, the righteous and the sinners. There is injustice, evil and danger in the world, so we may as well enjoy life and our own works for now as they will not last.
There are so many well-known sayings in this small book that I lost count of them. “All is vanity and vexation” is repeated in almost every chapter.
Favourite lines/passages: As I say above, there are many familiar lines, and the ones that appeal most will differ depending on the reader and their mood. I recommend you read the book itself (it’s only 7 pages or 12 ‘chapters’) to find what speaks to you best. Of course, any child of the Sixties will savour Chapter 3 : 1-8
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven,
A time to be born, and a time to die ; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted,
A time to kill, and a time to heal ; a time to break down and a time to build up
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance …..
A time to love and a time to hate, a time of war and a time of peace”
but there are other gems such as
“Better a living dog than a dead lion” Ecclesiastes 9:4
“A man hath no better thing under the Sun than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry” Ecclesiastes 8:15
Personal rating: A high 5 for this.
Next : The next book in the Old Testament : The Song of Solomon.