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2018 November 4
Ecclesiastes 2

Vanitas Still-Life (1662)
Evert (Edwart) Collier (1642-1708)
Dutch Golden Age Baroque Style
Private Collection
Image Source: Web Gallery of Art

     [ Illustration: All of the ideas about vanity in today's chapter, and more, are symbolized in today's painting. Click the link in the title for more information. ]


[ I will again be working through the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. I will be adding links, resources, images, and the like, upgrading the former work-through which began with the 2013-10-12 posting which can be found, along with the full Genesis to Revelation postings, in the Archive Page. Postings will be at midnight Eastern Time, as I am able. However, no chapters will be skipped, even though a posting may be late. And all postings will be housed in the Archive Page. ]

     Explanation: Ecclesiastes 2 contains the last part of Solomon's introduction to the book; and the main part of the book begins in verse twelve. The chapter contains three main points: pleasure, wisdom, and labor are all vain, meaningless, empty, and vexatious to the spirit.
     Solomon decided to test his heart with mirth and pleasure, but he found them to be vanity (1). He concluded that laughter was mad and that mirth accomplished nothing (2). He experimented with wine, but retained his wisdom. He took hold of folly to see what good there was for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their life (3). He made great works, houses, vineyards, gardens, orchards, fruit trees of all kinds, and pools of water to water his trees (4-6). He acquired male and slaves, and had slaves born in his house. He also had great herds and flocks, more than any who had been before him in Jerusalem (7). He gathered silver, gold, and treasure from kings and provinces. He got men and women singers, and many concubines who were delightful (8). So he became great and surpassed all who had been before him in Jerusalem. But he also kept his wisdom (9). He took all that his eves desired. He kept his heart from no pleasure, because his heart took pleasure in all of his toil; and this was his reward for his toil (10). Then he considered all that he had done and the effort he expended in doing it; and behold it was vanity and striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun (11).
     So he turned to consider wisdom, and madness, and folly. No man who came after him could do more -- only what had already been done (12). Then he saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness (13). The wise person has eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. Nevertheless, the same event happens to all of them (14). He realized that the thing which happens to the fool would happen to him. So he wondered why he had been so very wise. This too was vanity (15). No one remembers the wise or the fool. Everything and everyone will be long forgotten. The wise man dies just like the fool (16). So he hated life, because that which is done under the sun was grievous to him, because all is vanity and a striving after wind (17).
     He hated his labor because he had to leave its fruits to the man who shall come after him, and who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will be the master of all of the results of his labor. This is also vanity (18-19). So he turned and gave his heart over to despair concerning his labors, because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not labor for it. This also is vanity and a great evil (20-21). What does a man have from all his toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? All his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even at night the heart does not rest. This is also vanity (22-23). There is nothing better for a person than to eat and drink and to find enjoyment in his toil. This is from the hand of God, for apart from God who can eat of who can have enjoyment? For when one pleases God he gives him wisdom and knowledge and joy; but to the sinner he has given the task of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind (24-26).

     [ Sermons: Alistair Begg. Various. ]

Bible Chronologies -- Genesis to Revelation

[Traditional Patriarchal Chronology. Judges Period Chronology 1. Judges Period Chronology 2. Kings of Judah and Israel #1. Kings of Judah and Israel #2].

[Post Exile Chronology 1. Post Exile Chronology 2. Post Exile Chronology 3.]

[Prophets Chronology 1. Prophets Chronology 2. Prophets Chronology 3. Prophets Chronology 4.]

[Intertestamental Period Chronology 1. Intertestamental Period Chronology 2. Intertestamental Period Chronology 3.
Intertestamental Period Chronology 4. Intertestamental Period Chronology 5.]

[New Testament Chronology 1. New Testament Chronology 2. New Testament Chronology 3. New Testament Chronology 4. New Testament Chronology 5.]


PLEASE NOTE: Use the resources on this and other sites thoughtfully, particularly the commentaries and encyclopedias. I have attempted to list conservative, scholarly resources. However, some providers use liberal or liberal-influenced commentaries such as the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges (in Bible Hub). Such commentaries are undoubtedly included by the provider for the wealth of useful information and comments which they provide. By consulting several commentaries, it should be fairly easy to sort out the wheat from the chaff. If, however, you would like personal assistance, write to me at AD LIB ARTS EMAIL.

          [ THEMATICALLY AND CHRONOLOGICALLY RELATED SCRIPTURES: Ecclesiastes 2: Ecclesiastes 1. ]
[1] Ecclesiastes 1:16-17.
[2] Ecclesiastes 7:2-6; Proverbs 14:13.
[3] Ecclesiastes 1:17; Proverbs 31:4-5; Ephesians 5:18.
[4] Deuteronomy 8:12-14.
[5] Luke 17:27-29.
[6] Psalm 1:3; Jeremiah 17:8.
[7] Ezra 2:58; Nehemiah 7:57.
[8] 2 Chronicles 9:11, 15-21.
[9] 1 Kings 3:12; 2 Chronicles 1:1; 1 Chronicles 29:25; 2 Chronicles 9:22-23; 1 Kings 10:7, 23; Ecclesiastes 1:16.
[10] Ecclesiastes 3:22.
[11] Ecclesiastes 2:14.
[12] Ecclesiastes 7:25.
[13] Ecclesiastes 7:11-12.
[14] Ecclesiastes 8:1.
[15] Ecclesiastes 1:2, 14.
[16] Ecclesiastes 1:11.
[17] Job 3:20-22; Psalm 89:47.
[18] Ecclesiastes 9:9.
[19] 2 Chronicles 10:13-16.
[20] Job 17:11-15.
[21] Ecclesiastes 9:18.
[22] Ecclesiastes 1:3; Ecclesiastes 3:9.
[23] Job 5:7; Job 14:1.
[24] Ecclesiastes 3:12-13, 22.
[25] 1 Kings 4:21-24.
[26] Job 27:16-17; Proverbs 3:13-18; James 3:17.
     -- From Treasury of Scripture Knowledge & Others ]

          [ CHRONOLOGY: GENERAL. Patriarchs (Traditional). Judges # 1. Judges # 2. Kings # 1. Kings # 2. Prophets # 1. Prophets # 2. NT # 1. NT # 2. NT # 3. ]

          [ MAPS: Maps # 1. Maps # 2. Maps # 3. Maps # 4. Maps # 5. ]

          [ COMMENTARIES, ETC: GENERAL: Bible Study Tools; Bible Hub: Study Light; Blue Letter Bible // PSALMS: Monergism: Precept Austin: The Treasury of David; John Gill; John Calvin - Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

          [ MUSIC: GENERAL: The Cyber Hymnal // PSALMS: Genevan Psalter (Instrumental). PROVERBS: Book of Proverbs. ECCLESIASTES: Book of Ecclesiastes Dramatized. Ecclesiastes 2 - #1. Ecclesiastes 2 - #2. VARIOUS ARTISTS: Micha'el Ben David. Sons of Korah. Fernando Ortega. Janet Isaac Morrison. Music of the Bible Revealed - Suzanne Haik-Vantoura. Dr. David Erb. Gregorian Chants. ]


John Calvin - CCEL | Analytical Chart - BLB


Gospel Harmony - Summary | The Harmony of the Gospels - Augustine | Gospel Harmony Chart - Online Bible

Greek Harmony of the Gospels - Robertson - (Downloadable PDF) | Gospel Harmony in English - Robertson - (Downloadable PDF)


Hebrew and Greek Interlinear Download - Scripture 4 All

Bible Hub Interlinear Hebrew and Greek Bible

Bible Hub Hebrew Interlinear | Scripture 4 All Hebrew Interlinear

Mounce Interlinear | Bible Hub Greek Interlinear | Scripture 4 All Greek Interlinear Bible

Ecclesiastes Outline

Note: Around 946 B.C., Solomon seems to have been at a peak spiritually, hence Ecclesiastes may have been composed by him around that time, assuming he is the author.

Ecclesiastes 2

Map 1: Bible Nations | Map 2: Empire of David and Solomon Map 3: Kingdoms of Judah and Israel | Post Exile Chronology.

Teacher's Introduction Continued: The Vanity of Everything (1:12 - 2:11)

1 I said in mine heart,
Go to now,
I will prove thee with mirth,
therefore enjoy pleasure:

and, behold,
this also is vanity.

2 I said of laughter,
It is mad:
and of mirth,
What doeth it?
3 I sought in mine heart
to give [this] myself unto wine,
yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom;
and to lay hold on folly,
till [when] I might see what was that good for the sons of men,
which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.
4 I made me great works;
I builded me houses;
I planted me vineyards:
5 I made me gardens and orchards,
and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:
6 I made me pools of water,
to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:
7 I got me servants and maidens,
and had servants born [and sons of the household] in my house;
also I had great possessions of great and small cattle
above all that were in Jerusalem before me:
8 I gathered me also silver and gold,
and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces:
I gat me men singers and women singers,
and the delights of the sons of men,
as musical instruments [or wives and wives, or concubines and concubines],
and that of all sorts.
9 So I was great,
and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem:
also my wisdom remained with me.
10 And whatsoever [all which] mine eyes desired
I kept not from them,
I withheld not [this] my heart from any joy;
for my heart rejoiced in all my labour:
and this was my portion of all my labour.
11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought,
and on the labour that I had laboured to do:

and, behold,
all was vanity
and vexation of spirit,
and there was no profit under the sun.

Teacher's Words: Coping with Vanity (2:12 - 11:9)
The Emptiness of Wisdom (2:12-17)

12 And I turned myself behold wisdom, and madness, and folly:
for what can the man do that cometh after the king?
even [this] -- that which hath been already done.
13 Then I saw that [that which is] wisdom excelleth [above] folly,
as far as light excelleth [above] darkness.
14 The wise man's eyes are in his head;
but the fool walketh in darkness:
and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.
15 Then said I in my heart,
As it happeneth to the fool,
so it happeneth even to me;
and why was I then more wise?

Then I said in my heart,
that [even] this also is vanity.

16 For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever;
seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten.
And how dieth the wise man?
as the fool.
17 Therefore I hated [this] life;
because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me:

for all is vanity
and vexation of spirit.

The Emptiness of Labor (2:18-26)

18 Yea, I hated [this] all my labour which I had taken under the sun:
because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.
19 And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool?
yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured,
and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun.

This is also vanity.

20 Therefore I went about to cause [this] my heart to despair
of all the labour which I took under the sun.
21 For there is a man whose labour
is in wisdom,
and in knowledge,
and in equity;
yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion.

This also is vanity
and a great evil.

22 For what hath man of all his labour,
and of the vexation of his heart,
wherein he hath laboured under the sun?
23 For all his days are sorrows,
and his travail grief;
yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night.

This is also vanity.

24 There is nothing better for a man,
than that he should eat and drink,
and that he should make [this] his soul enjoy good in his labour.
This also I saw,
that it was from the hand of God.
25 For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I?
26 For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight
wisdom, and knowledge, and joy:
but to the sinner
he giveth travail,
to gather and to heap up,
that he may give to him that is good before God.

This also is vanity
and vexation of spirit.

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