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ALPHAPEDIA

ECCLESIASTES 2

Ecclesiastes 2. As the Bible says:

Content of the Chapter

The vanity and irritation of joy, sensual pleasure, wealth and pomp. (1-11) Insufficient human wisdom. (12-17) This world will be used according to the will of God. (18-26)

Ecclesiastes goes into more detail about his drunken escapades. He says that he tried to seek pleasure and cheer himself up with wine, but all the “vanity” was still affecting him. It was no use. While he still clings to wisdom, he says he investigated its opposite, madness.

He describes how hard he worked as a king and how many possessions he accumulated. He marks all the gardens and vineyards he planted, all the slaves, gold and silver he bought, and the concubines he also obtained.

He says the work made him happy, at least for a while. But at the end, everything kept “chasing the wind”. However, he says that it is still better to be a wise man than a fool. It’s true, you’re both going to die and no one will remember you forever. But the wise man is clear about what is happening around him, while the fool is only living in delirium, bouncing around without really knowing what is happening. He has no street smarts.

Now, Ecclesiastes says that he became sad. He probably went back to his throne room, pulled down the blinds, opened an iced tea and had a long, sad reflection. He was desperate for the meaning of life. All the work and labor that had seemed valuable now felt like a waste of time. But guess what, he says this whole desperation thing is also vanity. Hey, we know what the word of Ecclesiastes day is. 

All the problems and pains that people get from their work are also vanity. Even when they try to fall asleep, their minds keep going a mile a minute. And that is more vanity, “mere breathing”. He ends the chapter by saying that he realized there was nothing human beings could really do except continue to enjoy the things God had given them (food and drink) and continue to work.

The Master says that God gives these things and allows some people to enjoy them. But others do not get the benefit. He shrugs this off and calls it more “vanity” and “chasing the wind. Everything is a shock.

Commentary on Ecclesiastes 2: 1-11

Solomon soon discovered that joy and pleasure were vanity. What is the meaning of loud and flashy joy to make a man happy? The multiple devices of the heart of men, to obtain the satisfaction of the world, and its change from one thing to another, are like the restlessness of a man with a fever. 

Perceiving that it was madness to give himself up to wine, he tasted the costly amusements of princes. The poor, when they read such a description, are ready to feel discontent. But the remedy against all such feelings is in the estimation of everything by the owner himself. All was vanity and affliction of spirit: and the same things would give us the same result as to Solomon. 

Having food and clothing, let us count on that. His wisdom remained with him; a strong understanding, with great human knowledge. Yet any enjoyment on earth not related to a blessing will maintain dissatisfaction and anxiety. Happiness does not arise from the situation in which we are placed. Only with Jesus is it possible to attain the ultimate blessing. 

Commentary on Ecclesiastes 2: 12-17

Solomon discovered that knowledge and prudence were preferable to ignorance and folly, although wisdom and human knowledge will not make man happy. 

The most learned man, who dies unknown to Christ Jesus, will perish equally with the most ignorant; and what good can praise on earth do to the body in the grave or the soul in hell? And the spirits of righteous men made perfect cannot love them. So if there were nothing else, it would be possible to be led to resent our life, because the whole is spiritual sorrow and vanity.

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