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.)
Ecclesiastes 2: The folly of work that goes nowhere
Comments: In this second chapter Solomon explains [PART
1] how he had investigated ‘pleasure' [v.1-3], and then
looked at all the projects he had been involved with and the affluence
he had achieved [v.4-10], yet concluded it had all been pointless
[v.11]. Putting aside the physical he determined to examine his
thinking [PART 2] comparing wise and foolish
thinking [v.12-16] but then started reflecting on the folly of
all his hard work because he would only have to leave it to someone
else when he died [v.17-21]. Not only that, all such work was
stressful [v.22,23] so learning to be content was much wiser [v.24,25]
and it's the person who pleases God who does best [v.26]. Some
challenging thinking from his personal experiences.]
1: v.1-11: Checking the Physical
He had been Checking out Pleasure
said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure
to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be
I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?”
tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing
folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what
was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days
of their lives.
He had known a Project & Affluence-based life
undertook great projects: I built houses for
myself and planted vineyards.
made gardens and parks and planted all kinds
of fruit trees in them.
reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees.
male and female slaves and had other slaves who were
born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone
in Jerusalem before me.
silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings
and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem
as well—the delights of a man's heart.
became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem
before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.
denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused
my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labour,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
Yet it achieved nothing!
when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled
to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.
2: v.12-26: Checking Personal Philosophy [Thinking]
I also checked out and compared wisdom & foolishness
I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom, and
also madness and folly. What more can the king's
successor do than what has already been done?
saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better
The outcome of the wise and the fool is the same – forgotten after
wise have eyes in their heads, while the fool walks in the darkness;
but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both.
I said to myself, “The fate of the fool will overtake me also.
What then do I gain by being wise?” I said to myself, “This too
For the wise,
like the fool, will not be long remembered; the days have already
come when both have been forgotten. Like the fool, the wise too
I hated my achievements because I would have to leave them to
I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was
grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the
I hated all
the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave
them to the one who comes after me.
That person may squander it unwisely – folly!
who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they
will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have
poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless.
my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labour under the
a person may labour with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then
they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for
it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune.
So work causes grief, pain and worry and goes nowhere
do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which
they labour under the sun?
their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds
do not rest. This too is meaningless.
Learning to be content is ultimately the key to enjoyment
person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction
in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God,
without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?
The righteous get wisdom, the sinner, hard graft but nothing at
To the person
who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but
to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth
to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless,
a chasing after the wind.
to Ecclesiastes 3