by Philip E. Satterthwaite

The ″Teacher″ of Ecclesiastes 1:1 is presented as ″son of David, king in Jerusalem″, whom many Bible scholars believe refers to King Solomon, the famously wise king of Israel and author of much of Proverbs (1 Kings 4:29; Proverbs 1:1). But the Solomon of Ecclesiastes is in a more questioning mood than in Proverbs. At times he seems to despair of our ability to make sense of anything (Ecclesiastes 8:16–17). He clearly believes in God (see 1:13), but he questions how far we can understand God's ways (11:5).

How, then, should we live? The Teacher considers this issue from different angles, testing out different ideas and exploring life's apparent contradictions. And, it becomes particularly apparent in chapters 11 and 12, he speaks as a person of faith and as a true teacher of God's people.

Let us hear God's Word to us through His faithful servant, the Teacher!

The Structure of Ecclesiastes

Initial reflections on human limitations

Human work and God’s work

Injustice and possible responses to it

Worship God rather than money

Wise living in an imperfect world

Life’s perplexities and apparent unfairness

Once more: Wise living in an imperfect world

Final appeal: Remember God and keep His commands

Key Verse
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. —Ecclesiastes 12:13

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