Ecclesiastes
Chapter 1

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1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

3 What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?

4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.

6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.

7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.

8 All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.

9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.

11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.

12 I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem.

13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.

14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.

16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.

17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.

18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

Commentary for Ecclesiastes 1

The name of this book signifies "The Preacher." The wisdom of God here preaches to us, speaking by Solomon, who it is evident was the author. At the close of his life, being made sensible of his sin and folly, he recorded here his experience for the benefit of others, as the book of his repentance; and he pronounced all earthly good to be "vanity and vexation of spirit." It convinces us of the vanity of the world, and that it cannot make us happy; of the vileness of sin, and its certain tendency to make us miserable. It shows that no created good can satisfy the soul, and that happiness is to be found in God alone; and this doctrine must, under the blessed Spirit's teaching, lead the heart to Christ Jesus.Solomon shows that all human things are vain. (1-3) Man's toil and want of satisfaction. (4-8) There is nothing new. (9-11) The vexation in pursuit of knowledge. (12-18)1-3 Much is to be learned by comparing one part of Scripture with another. We here behold Solomon returning from the broken and empty cisterns of the world, to the Fountain of living water; recording his own folly and shame, the bitterness of his disappointment, and the lessons he had learned. Those that have taken warning to turn and live, should warn others not to go on and die. He does not merely say all things are vain, but that they are vanity. VANITY OF VANITIES, ALL IS VANITY. This is the text of the preacher's sermon, of which in this book he never loses sight. If this world, in its present state, were all, it would not be worth living for; and the wealth and pleasure of this world, if we had ever so much, are not enough to make us happy. What profit has a man of all his labour? All he gets by it will not supply the wants of the soul, nor satisfy its desires; will not atone for the sins of the soul, nor hinder the loss of it: what profit will the wealth of the world be to the soul in death, in judgment, or in the everlasting state?

4-8 All things change, and never rest. Man, after all his labour, is no nearer finding rest than the sun, the wind, or the current of the river. His soul will find no rest, if he has it not from God. The senses are soon tired, yet still craving what is untried.

9-11 Men's hearts and their corruptions are the same now as in former times; their desires, and pursuits, and complaints, still the same. This should take us from expecting happiness in the creature, and quicken us to seek eternal blessings. How many things and persons in Solomon's day were thought very great, yet there is no remembrance of them now!

12-18 Solomon tried all things, and found them vanity. He found his searches after knowledge weariness, not only to the flesh, but to the mind. The more he saw of the works done under the sun, the more he saw their vanity; and the sight often vexed his spirit. He could neither gain that satisfaction to himself, nor do that good to others, which he expected. Even the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom discovered man's wickedness and misery; so that the more he knew, the more he saw cause to lament and mourn. Let us learn to hate and fear sin, the cause of all this vanity and misery; to value Christ; to seek rest in the knowledge, love, and service of the Saviour.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Ecclesiastes 1

  • Erik van Dijk
    Ecclesiastes may indeed seem like a book of negativity, HOWEVER, today I heard a sermon at a hospital church service where the Gospel reading was Luke 12 13-21 . There is a striking resemblance with the parable that Jesus Christ preached. A very interesting prophecy from Solomon about the "real" purpose of our life. Read it and see if you agree!
  • Lawrence Hempel
    The main statement of this chapter Book is how useless, vain, transient is everything "under the sun" and when it is all that occupies ones life, it is vexation to realize the unimportance of a life spent the material world. Though at the end of the book Solomon recognizes that God is due our obedience and love for as Eph 1:3 states He hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ.
  • Andy olan
    Solomon was a fore sight preacher that his time is fit for 21 century quotes but those that oppose his intellect are not there they think they are above or just pain simple they are not taking life at valuable points in life in the gospel like i need to get heaven rather that playing it to hell. but middle of is good to teach ages from 12 25 life prinicpals of life structure
  • Kylie Smith
    There is such a contrast between Ecclesiastes and Proverbs. Proverbs seems so full of wise advice; so is Ecclesiastes, but Solomon's bitter experience and his regrets over his sinful life are painfully apparent. Ecclesiastes is wonderful, but sobering. I especially like the cycles of nature in Chapter One. Studying a masters in Envl Science, it tells me that Inspiration is way ahead of science!
  • Brenda M Dalton
    I think Ecclesiastes is a great reminder, or a teacher if we haven't been there yet, that nothing we do that is not of God will prove to be worthless at the end of our lives. None of it. And the happiness we seek, the emptiness we search to fill can only be found in the will of God. What God wants for us is what we should be discovering for ourselves.
  • Ok
    kinda sad reading Solomons writings chapter 1 Eccl. Sounds so full of boredom and like he feels alone in same ole same ole...Here he is writing one of Gods inspired books of Bible
  • Chris Powell
    All is vanity, this earth, our human body, homes, cars are temporary that s why the ear and eye are not satisfied. God made us to want him more than these things, he is the one that quenches our thirst. God knows it all cause he created it all and there s nothing new that surprises him.
  • I AM THAT I AM
    No, there is no new thing under the sun now, O LORD. You teach that all is vanity. For you spoke and it was done: you commanded and it stood FAST. For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow: There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves or thy Name, O Father, by their vain attempts to cover it up:
  • Hannon Roy
    Anything new? Try living on the Moon or Mars. Exploration isn't new, but space is. Growing an ear on a mouse (Genetics) is new. We should love the idea of new, not letting ourselves get tired of riches and wives. Still, God loved and recognized him.
  • A disciple
    "There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after." When the king sent to call all those who had been invited to come to his son's wedding, and all made excuses why they couldn't come; when the king heard he was furious, and commanded that they were not worthy who had refused; but not the whole Nation.


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Bible Trivia

Who was the 'Preacher' of Ecclesiastes?
  • David
  • Moses
  • Solomon
  • Hezekiah