Ecclesiastes 2:1-26, 3:1-22, 4:1-16

English: Wadi Rum, the "Seven Pillars of ...

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English: Ecclesiastes, (קֹהֶלֶת, Kohelet, &quo...

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Ecclesiastes 2

1I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.

2I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?

3I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till 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.

4I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:

5I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:

6I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:

7I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:

8I 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, and that of all sorts.

9So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.

10And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.

11Then 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.

12And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done.

13Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.

14The 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.

15Then 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 this also is vanity.

16For 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.

17Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

18Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.

19And 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.

20Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.

21For 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.

22For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun?

23For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.

24There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.

25For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I?

26For 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.

Ecclesiastes 3

1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

9What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?

10I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

11He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

12I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.

13And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

14I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.

15That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.

16And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.

17I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.

18I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.

19For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.

20All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

21Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

22Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?

Ecclesiastes 4

1So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.

2Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.

3Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

4Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.

5The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.

6Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.

7Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun.

8There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.

9Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.

10For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.

11Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?

12And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

13Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.

14For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.

15I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead.

16There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit


In English, the title means “Preacher.” Traditionally held to have been written by Solomon, this book is now almost universally recognized as about him rather than by him. The author’s purpose is to prove the vanity of everything “under the Sun.” This truth is first announced as fact, then proved from the “Preacher’s” experience and observations. Finally, the author shows that the fullness of life is found only in the recognition of things “above the sun,” things spiritual as well as Material.



A. In Solomon’s effort to understand the “true meaning to life,” he sees that good times and bad times come to all, and this repeats itself in each coming generation.

1. This process repeats itself with such certainty that Solomon concludes – Ecclesiastes 3:15

2. The wise man will understand this, and prepare himself for the ups and downs in life

B. Solomon is going to remind us in Ecclesiastes 3 that there are things beyond our control

1. For example, no matter how rich and power one may be, he can not prevent sorrow, sickness and death

2. Solomon is going to help us to see that true comfort and happiness will only come by placing our trust in God

3. Man should make the best of life while seizing the opportunities God offers

C. In our text of study for this lesson (Ecclesiastes 3:1-15), we will see Solomon contemplating the providence of God



1. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

2. All the items Solomon has mentioned here we will come to know if we live long enough

a. Solomon is confirming his assertion made in chapter 2, that wealth, wisdom and success are not really in man’s hands

b. Notice how James puts it – James 4:13-16

3. There is a time:

a. To be born and die

1) Our birth is outside our control, and concerning death -we cannot prevent it – Hebrews 9:27

2) The contrast is that birth and death each have their appointed seasons which comes to past without man’s interference

b. To plant and pluck up that which is planted

1) Any farmer can attest to the truth of this statement

2) Food for survival depends on knowing when to do either

3) There is a spiritual application:

a) Luke 8:11-15

b) Matthew 15:13

c. To kill and to heal

1) This has reference to the execution of criminals and the healing of the sick

2) Biblical examples …

a) Deuteronomy 13:6-10

b) Luke 5:31

d. To break down and build up – simply, there is a time to tear down old dilapidated buildings and replace them with new ones

e. To weep and mourn, and to laugh and dance

1) This deals with the feelings of the heart

2) Good times and bad times comes into the lives of all

3) I am reminded of Romans 12:15

f. To cast away stones and gather stones

1) The idea is the throwing away to clear a field or the gathering to build a fence

2) There is a time and place for everything

g. To embrace and to refrain from embracing

1) This refers to illicit and legitimate love

2) The Bible says:

a) Proverbs 5:18-21

b) 1 Corinthians 7:2-5

h. To seek and keep, and to lose and cast away

1) In life there are gains and losses

2) The wise known when to exert energy in pursing wealth, and when it is prudent to submit and to loss.

i. To rend and to sew

1) This is usually understood of rending the garments as a sign of grief, and the repairing of the tear when the mourning season is over

2) An example – Genesis 37:29, 34

j. To be silent and to speak

1) There are times when we should speak out and other times when we should keep our mouths shut

2) For example:

a) Proverbs 15:23

b) Proverbs 17:28

k. To love and have peace, and to hate and have war

1) Both emotions, love and hate, are common to life

2) There are things to be loved –John 13:34-35

3) There are things to be hated – Proverbs 6:16-19

4. The lesson to be learn in all of this is that we should depend on things in which we have no ultimate control


1. Because there are laws governing the issues and events of life that are beyond man’s ability to regulate, Solomon asks – Ecclesiastes 3:9

a. The implies answer is that of Ecclesiastes 1:2

b. All efforts to circumvent God’s appointed seasons and times are futile

c. Man’s duty is to recognize and accept the circumstance beyond his control

2. Ecclesiastes 3:10-15

a. Man’s needs to realize that everything has a purpose in God’s overall scheme

b. Man cannot fully appreciate the beauty of God’s over all scheme, because they cannot see the finished product.

c. The human view of life has been compared to looking at a bedspread from the under side that appears only as rags, seems, and knotty strings. God sees the upper side of the beautiful pattern His hands have made.

d. To help us understand and accept the times and seasons of our life, we must view things from eternity’s perspective.

e. Man’s duty is to make the best of what he is dealt

f. We face only what people of past generations have endured – 1 Corinthians 10:13


A. Lessons of Lasting Value

1. Life changes often, and wise preparation is needed to make the best of it

2. There is a Divine order that pervades human life, and it is proper and wise to accept it with meekness

3. We should seek God’s guidance as we deal the changing times and seasons

4. Man’s true happiness depends on God

B. Even though there many things we have no control over, we can:

1. Choose our own conduct

2. Form our own character

3. Decide to obey God or not

3 Responses to “The True Meaning to Life #4. A Study in Ecclesiastes”

  1. rachel says:

    When you are in a situation where your work direction is changed beyond your control and then when looking for new work you a faced with a few options – how do you know which path or doorway it is that God wants you to pursue

  2. X says:

    rachel: trust in yah with all your heart, lean not on thine own under-standing.

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