ECCLESIASTES: THE STORY OF MY LIFE......CALL ME NOT "ISHMAEL", BUT RATHER, "COHELETH"One of the Targums of the Jews has an interesting word here:When King Solomon was sitting upon the throne of his kingdom, his heart became greatly elated with riches, and he transgressed the commandment of the Word of God; and he gathered many houses, and chariots, and riders, and he amassed much gold and silver, and he married wives from foreign nations. Whereupon the anger of the Lord was kindled against him, and he sent to him Ashmodai, the king of the demons, and he drove him from the throne of his kingdom, and took away the ring from his hand, in order that he should roam and wander about in the world, to reprove it; and he went about the provincial towns and cities in the land of Israel, weeping and lamenting, and saying, "I am Coheleth, whose name was formerly called Solomon, who was King over Israel in Jerusalem."
What at waste of four years ruminating and persevering over a B. A. in what, via "Coheleth" had already established in Ecclesiastes, which was the following:The Scripture (in Ecclesiastes) confirms that something is wrong. The Bible tells us that man was created to be the crown of creation. He is the one who is in dominion over all things. Man ought to last endlessly and nature ought to be changing, but it is the other way around. Man feels the protest of this in his spirit. We have all felt this. We all protest, inwardly, at least, the injustice of losing the wisdom of a Churchill, the beauty of a Princess Grace, or the charm of a John Kennedy. Something is wrong that all of this is suddenly taken away from us, while the meaningless cycle of nature goes on and on endlessly. Yes, the human spirit feels that strongly. That very pertinent question is going to be developed in the theme of this book.But furthermore, the Searcher says, the present experience of every individual confirms this sense of futility. Verse 8:All things are full of weariness;[Actually, "full of weariness" is one Hebrew word which ought to be translated "restless."] a man cannot utter it;the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun.Is there a thing of which it is said, "See, this is new"?It has been already, in the ages before us.There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembranceof later things yet to happen among those who come after. (Ecclesiastes 1:8-11 RSV)His thesis here is: "All things are restless." He has observed that there is an inherent restlessness in everything. In fact, it is so widespread nobody can possibly describe all the restlessness of life.Coheleth (alias, King Solomon) has two proofs of this:First, human desire is never satisfied: "The eye is not satisfied with seeing." So much for the Blind man who receives his sight, you are STILL FACED WITH A FURTHER DILEMMA...Nor is the ear ever satisfied with hearing. We are always alert to some new idea or something new that has happened. That is why news programs are always popular. Television, radio and newspapers all cater to this hunger of the ear to hear something. Some juicy gossip about a Hollywood star will sell thousands of magazines and newspapers. That is why we tune in on soap operas. We just cannot tire of hearing something new. Some new way of making a profit, for instance, always makes its appeal. The Searcher's argument is that the ear never tires because human desire is never satisfied; it is a consequence of the restlessness that is built into life.But second, he says, even though we long to see or hear something new, nothing new ever really shows up. Life is a rehash of what has been before; it is the old played over and over again. That is his argument. This too is a result of the restlessness that is built into life. Although something looks new to us, actually, "there is nothing new under the sun." The Searcher of Ecclesiastes declares, "What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done." Other ages will repeat it. "There is nothing new under the sun."Why then do things appear new? His answer is in Verse 11: Man's memory is faulty; we have forgotten things that once were. The VERY Mayans of Central America, the actual blood descendants of a race of intellectual giants who once lived in the area, who erected temples filled with mysteries that the present generation of Mayan Indians has long forgotten. They cannot explain them; they do not understand them. They have lost the knowledge of the past. This is what this writer declares. Our memories are so short that we lose what we know -- and, he suggests, it may happen again. All these technological marvels that we are so proud of may one day disappear in a great nuclear holocaust. Viewing our television sets or some such things, future generations may well ask, "What in the world is this jungle of wires for? What did they do with this thing?" That is the problem. "There is nothing new under the sun."So the question is raised, "Is this all life is about?" Is it merely an empty pursuit of that which never satisfies? Can no breakthrough be made whereby something can be found that will continually meet the hunger of man's heart, to give an unending sense of delight, satisfaction and joy? That is the search.Before the Searcher takes us into the details of this search -- which begins in Chapter 2 -- he gives us a word as to his qualifications, in Verses 12-18. These fall into two divisions, his position, and his diligence. Verses 12-14:I the Searcher (HINT..HINT...SOLOMON AS THE WRITER) have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy with. I have seen everything that is done under the sun; and behold, all is emptiness and a striving after wind.What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be numbered - HELL ON EARTH, EH?. (Ecclesiastes 1:12-15 RSV)This man's position gave him unusual opportunity. He was a king, the highest authority in the land; no one would challenge what he did. And he was a king in a time of peace. For 40 years during the reign of Solomon no armies battered at the walls of Jerusalem, as they had been doing all through history and are threatening to do today. His father had amassed great wealth of which Solomon was the heir, and he himself had increased this wealth. For 40 years of the nation's life there was no demand for expenditure for munitions. It was a time of peace and great wealth. Furthermore, during this time the Gentile nations were sending delegates to Jerusalem. The Queen of Sheba came all the way from the ends of the earth, she said, to see and hear the wisdom of this man. Solomon had great opportunity.Furthermore, he was able to investigate widely. "I applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven," he says. He could get into everything. But, with all candor, he has to state, "It is an unhappy business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy with." That translation misses something of what he meant. In the Hebrew it is not "the sons of men," rather, it is "the sons of man." The word is Adam, "the sons of Adam." So the reference is not to the conglomerate of humanity, it is to the nature of man.ANY FURTHER SUGGESTIONS, SAINTS ON THIS BOOK AFTER MINE OWN HEART?
This UNDERRATED book is an examination of secular wisdom and knowledge. The book clearly states at the outset that it is limiting itself to that which is apparent to the natural mind. One of the key phrases of the book is the continual repetition of the words, "under the sun." What does a man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?" Verse 3 asks. We find that phrase used again in Verse 9. That is the limitation put upon this book.Ecclesiastes is a collection of what man is able to discern under the sun, i.e., in the visible world. The book does not take into consideration revelation that comes from beyond man's powers of observation and reason. It is an inspired, an accurate book. It guarantees that what it reports is what people actually believe. but it is an examination of those beliefs. The book is not merely a collection of ancient philosophy, for what it talks about is very much up-to-date and extremely relevant. Here is what you will hear propounded in soap operas, in political speeches, in the radical or conservative movements of our day. Here is what you will hear in the halls of academia, or on the streets of any city. In this book the philosophies by which people attempt to live life are brought into consideration and examined. That is why Ecclesiastes is so practical and up-to-date, RATHER THAN ESCAPIST, AS WE ARE ACCUSTOMED TO UNDER-APPRECIATING IT...yeah?
Ecclesiastes 13:13The conclusion, when all has been heard,is fear God and keep his Commandments, because this applies to every person.___________________________________________How sad that Solomon had to go through a four-year search to come to this conclusion. Particularly when you think he would have known this as God was very gracious to him at the beginning of his reign.But then is this not indicative of us. God is so merciful to us in the beginning of our walk with Christ. But like Soloman we go astray. We wander away from Him trying to find satisfaction in all of the temporalness of this world. And like Solomon only to find that the temporal things of this world do not satisfy the ultimate craving of our heart. And that ultimate craving is Jesus Himself.Indeed Ecclesiastes is a book that does speak to us today.Simply my thoughts.
Yeah, like four years of an undergraduate degree in philosophy...when I could have just (instead) studied Ecclesiastes, got my Undergrad in Computer Science...and be making some real money......Geesh, what does it take...?!?