Summary – this summary of Ecclesiastes is, by nature, limited; many components of the chapters are left out because my intent was to summarize an overall picture. No doubt, others will disagree with my summary, and David Dorsey manifestly shows the futility at trying to organize, symmetrically, the book.
Nevertheless, I offer these thoughts with this effort.
I have taken time to study and understand via many books, some of which are from Denny Petrillo, Michael Eaton, Roland Murphey, Ian Provan. I have pursued this study, among other reasons, because of the Euthrypo Dilemma, a dilemma that is generated solely from a perspective of under the sun. Man in his wisdom thinks he understands, but Solomon in his wisdom, a greater wisdom than any man who ever walked on the earth (short of Jesus) had a better understanding.
CHAPTERS 1 – 6
- Under the sun, wisdom’s value is only a little better than folly’s value; trying to grasp meaning in the world is like trying to grab a hold of wind; it is an empty venture (chapter 1).
- Under the sun, the value of wisdom over folly is only minimal, for both end at the same destination, the grave (death); thus, the good in life is fleeting, unless one begins to understand life as a gift from God (chapter 2).
- Under the sun, there is a proper time for this and for that, and man recognizes a big-picture to life (Dorsey), but under the sun God tests man for him to see that he can’t figure out the big-picture and he is no greater than the beasts of the field; at the proper time God’s judgment comes (chapter 3).
- Oppression, laziness, loneliness, and failure to heed wisdom, all of this from the perspective of under the sun is grasping for the wind (chapter 4).
- Under the sun, walk reverently and with fear before God; doing so means life is understood as God’s gift, and the vanities of life will all come to an end (chapter 5).
- Under the sun, man can’t know what the good life is; he sees all about him the evil in the world, taking notice that as God gave, God took away (chapter 6).
What is the good life? Is it a life of contemplation, an accumulated wisdom that belongs to man then rests on a single individual? Solomon considered such; his conclusion (through chapter 6) is found in 2:24-26, 3:12, 5:1, 12, 19