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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Ecclesiastes

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FRAMEWORKS: Ecclesiastes 1


(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for meditation. To achieve this we have used a variety of means, notes, headings, verse summaries.)


FRAMEWORKS: Ecclesiastes 1: The Unchanging World & Pointless Studying


[Preliminary Comments : In this opening chapter we see the thinking behind those famous words in verse 2 that older versions has as, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity,” and now newer versions have ‘meaningless'.

His starting place is that it is foolish to think there is meaning in watching the way the earth works because it just seems it is one big endless cycle. [v.1-11]. He then declares that he has spent much time and effort in study but it didn't really seem to go anywhere. See the Introduction for why this seems to be.]



v.1-11 There is nothing new on the earth


v.1,2 Solomon's conclusion from what immediately follows

v.1  The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: 

v.2  “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” 


v.3,4 Just watch people come and go, all working

v.3  What do people gain from all their labours at which they toil under the sun? 

v.4  Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. 


v.5,6 The sun and the weather is remarkably consistent

v.5  The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. 

v.6  The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. 


v.7 The rain cycle continues unabated

v.7   All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. 


v.8 It gets tiring seeing the ‘same old, same old'

v.8  All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. 


v.9,10 There is nothing new n the earth, in the way it works

v.9  What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. 

v.10  Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. 


v.11 People come and go but are soon forgotten

v.11  No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them. 


v.12-18 Much studying didn't get me very far


v.12,13 As the king I was able to study a lot – tiring and wearying

v.12  I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 

v.13  I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! 


v.14 I've seen it all and it goes nowhere

v.14  I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 


v.15 You can't change it all

v.15  What is crooked cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted. 


v.16-18 I was the top learner, checking everything – but to no avail, just anxiety

v.16  I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” 

v.17   Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. 

v.18  For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.



Continue to Ecclesiastes 2