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An Introduction to The Book of Ecclesiastes

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I. AN INTRODUCTION TO WISDOM AND POETIC LITERATURE

A. The Place of Wisdom Literature in the Bible

1. Hebrew Wisdom Literature was part of a larger corpus of material with Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Canaanite-Phoenician influences1

2. The Bible contains several different types of literature:

a. Narrative (Genesis, 1 and 2 Samuel, Ruth, Jonah, Nehemiah, etc.)

b. Legal (Deuteronomy, Leviticus, etc.)

c. Historical (1 and 2 Chronicles, etc.)

d. Poetic (Psalms; Song of Songs etc.)

e. Prophetic (Isaiah, Jeremiah etc.)

f. Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John)

g. Epistles (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 1 and 2 Peter, etc.)

h. Apocalyptic (Daniel, Zechariah, Revelation)

3. The different kinds of literature serve different didactic functions:

a. The effects of the fall of mankind were pervasive:2

1) The fall effected Mankind’s supernatural relationships (Gen. 3:8,14-15,19)

a) The fall effected conflict with God (Gen. 3:8)

b) The fall effected conflict with the enemy (Gen. 3:14-15,19)

2) The Fall effected mankind’s natural relationships (Gen. 3:16-19)

a) The fall effected conflict with children 3:16a

b) The fall effected conflict between men and women 3:16b

c) The fall effected conflict in work (Gen. 3:17-19)

b. The Scriptures are designed to address Mankind’s need of salvation in all realms of his life (with God, with one another, and with the tasks of life)3

1) Legal Literature is a declaration of god’s will designed to mold the moral, spiritual, and ethical direction of the nation

2) Historical Literature is a revelation (record) of the sovereign work of God in History

3) Prophetic Literature is a declaration of the will of God in History in judgment of the nation’s historical dealings and in promise of God’s future blessings

4) Wisdom/Poetic Literature is practical direction for obtaining substantial wholeness out of the brokenness of natural life:

a) Job addresses Mankind’s wrestling with affliction which defies human explanation

b) Psalms are an expression of Mankind’s heart toward God in the varied nature of life: fears, doubts, tragedies, triumphs, joys, hopes.4

c) Song of Solomon is the outworking of love in marriage

d) Ecclesiastes affirms that meaning for life is not in life, but in the One who gives life

e) Proverbs provides skill at living life from the parameters of the Law and natural order5

4. Biblical literature is designed to appeal to the whole person: his mind and his heart!

B. The Design of Wisdom Literature6

1. Wisdom literature is concerned with the application of truth (from creation and the Law) to daily life and choices

2. The application of truth was to give one skill at life7 or even good common sense8 (Job 32:7; Prov. 1:7)

3. Wisdom literature applies truth through generalizations:

a. The author makes applicational generalizations in a specific area

b. The author’s generalizations are rarely intended to have an unlimited scope

c. The task in interpreting wisdom literature is to recognize the specific scope of the author and thus applying the truth in that specific scope

d. The generalizations are stated in the form of maxims

1) Maxims are statements of truth which are always true, but whose scope is not intended to be an exhaustive or comprehensive statement of truth concerning a subject

2) Maxims state a truth from one perspective without intending to say all that there is to say about that subject

4. Examples of the application of truths through generalizations:9

a. Proverbs consists of pithy maxims to be applied properly to life10. The limits of the author’s scope of application can be discerned through collecting many proverbs on a given subject

b. Job is the application of maxims concerning the nature of evil and punitive suffering. The value of maxims is critiqued as a final guide in suffering. God becomes the only source of meaning in suffering as he brings good for his own out of evil for his own good purposes

c. Ecclesiastes is the search for the ultimate maxim to explain the nature of life. However, life is not found in the storehouse of wisdom, but is a gift from God given to be used in a responsible, yet rewarding fashion11

d. Song of Songs is more poetic literature rather than wisdom in that it celebrates the greatest gift of human life--love! Nevertheless, love is presented in a full expression as that which unifies two into one with purity and honor for each person

e. Psalms are also closer to poetry than to wisdom literature. Nevertheless, they express the one sided expression of the heart of man towards God12 as he expresses fear, sorrow, despair, hope, praise, and skill at life (wisdom psalms, 1, 27, 32, 34, 37, 49, 73, 112, 127--128, 133)

C. The Literary13 Character of Hebrew Poetry/Wisdom

1. Rhythm of Thought
The genius of Hebrew poetry is in the realm of thought rhyme and the key to thought rhyme is in the technique of parallelism (the correspondence of one thought with another)14

a. Synonymous parallelism exactly balances the thoughts or meanings in two lines of poetry by saying the same thing twice in nearly the same way (Ps. 3:1; 7:16; 2:4)

b. Synthetic and Climatic parallelism further takes up and develops a through begun in the first line by adding a little more to enrich one’s thinking (Ps. 95:3; 1:1). Occasionally they expansion is expressed in a tiered structure in which each line repeats the first with the exception of the last term/phrase where a new one is added (Ps. 29:1)

c. Emblematic parallelism uses images to convey the poetic meaning. While one line conveys the main point in a direct fashion, the second line illuminates it by an image. There is a movement from point to picture (Ps. 23:1,2,4; 103:13; 113:5,6; 57:1)

d. Antithetical parallelism balances the thoughts or ideas within the line pairs by stating truth in the first line in an opposing or negative way by introducing a contrast (Ps. 1:6; 57:6)

e. Chiastic or Inverted parallelism contraposes or alternates the words or phrases in consecutive lines (Ps. 51:3; Isa. 11:13)

2. Rhythm of Sound (in Hebrew)

a. Acrostic Poems are written so that the initial letters of consecutive lines form an alphabet, word, or phrase (Ps. 9; 10; 25; 34; 37; 11; 112; 119; 145; Prov. 31:10-31; Lam. 1; 2; 3; 4; Nahum 1:2-20). This was a mnemonic tool (memory device) conveying ideas of order, progression, and completeness.

b. Alliteration is the consonance of sounds at the beginning of words or syllables (Ps. 122:6)

c. Assonance is correspondence of vowels sounds, often at the end of words in order to emphasize an idea, theme, or tone (Ps. 119:29)

d. Paronomasia is a word play through the repetition of words of similar sound, but not necessarily meaning in order to heighten the impact of the message (Gen. 32:22-24)

e. Onomatopoeia is the use of words that sound like what they describe (Ruth 1:19)

f. Ellipsis is the omission of a word or words that would complete a given parallel construction (Ps. 115:4-7)

g. Inclusio is the repetition of words or phrases by which the poet returns to the point from which he began (Ps. 118:1,29)

3. Wisdom Speech Forms15

a. The Parable is a “warning speech” (Prov. 6:20-35; 2 Sam. 12:1-4)

b. The Precept is an authoritative instruction or regulation for behavior connecting wisdom with the moral codes of the Law (Prov. 3:27)

c. The Riddle is a puzzling question stated as a problem calling for mental acumen to solve it (Judg. 14:14)

d. The Fable is a brief tale embracing a moral truth using people, animals, or inanimate objects as characters (Judg. 9:7-20)

e. The Wise Saying is a generalization about the way of wisdom based on the insight of experience or a folk expression of plain common sense (Prov. 18:18)

f. The Numerical Proverb culminates numerical progression (Prov. 6:16-19; 30:18-31)

g. Rhetorical Questions (Prov. 5:16; 8:1), Allegory Through Personification (Prov. 8--9; Eccl. 12:1-8), Satire and Irony (Prov. 11:22; Eccl. 5:13-17)

D. The Canonical Order of the Wisdom and Poetic Books

1. The Hebrew Scriptures were probably originally canonized into a two-fold division: the Law and the Prophets16

2. By around the second century B.C.17 a three-fold division of the Hebrew Scriptures arose: The Law, The Prophets, and The Writings18

a. The three-fold division included the same books as the two-fold division

b. There are several possible reasons for a three-fold division:19

1) A distinction was made between books which were written by men who held the prophetic office, and men who only had the prophetic gift

2) Some at a later date may have felt that those books which were not written by “prophets” were not fully canonical

3) A more practical purpose was served by the topical and festal20 significance rather than by the two-fold categories

3. Within the category of the Sacred Writings, the books of Psalms, Proverbs and Job were regarded by the Jews as specifically poetical in nature, and were described by the mnemonic title “The Book of Truth”21

4. The Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (The Septuagint or LXX c. 280-150 B.C.) divided the Old Testament according to subject matter which is the basis of the modern four-fold classification of the: five books of Law, twelve books of History, five books of Poetry, and seventeen books of Prophecy22

II. INTRODUCTION TO ECCLESIASTES

A. Title: Qohelet (The Speaker [in an Assembly])

1. In Hebrew the book is titled “Qohelet” ( tl#h#q) ):

a. This has been understood to be a proper name, and thus not translated but transliterated

b. This is probably a title rather than a proper name due to the definite article which is used with the term in 12:8, “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher ( tl#h#oQh^ )

2. In the LXX titled “Ecclesiastes” ( jEkklhsiasth):

a. This describes “one who calls an assembly”23

b. Therefore, many English versions interpret “Qohelet” in terms of the role that he played with the assembly:

1) “The Teacher” (NIV)

2) “The Preacher” (KJV/NASV)

3) “The Leader of the Assembly” (NIV marg)

B. Authorship: Most Probably Solomon the son of David

1. External Evidence: Although many critical scholars argue for a late date of Ecclesiasties, their evidence is not conclusive and an earlier Solomonic date is supportable in line with the general opinion before the seventeenth century

a. Until the rise of literary and historical criticism during the Enlightenment (17th century) Solomonic authorship of Ecclesiastes was generally accepted24

1) The Jews considered Ecclesiastes to be inspired

a) It was included in the Mishnah and the Talmud25

b) It was included in the LXX

c) It was not doubted by Josephus

2) It was approved in the early Christian era:

a) It was not doubted by the translation of Aquila

b) It was not doubted by the translation of Symmachus

c) It was not doubted by the translation of Theodotion

d) It was included in the catalog of Melito, bishop of Sardis (c. AD 170)

b. Questions of authorship arose due to linguistic discussions:

1) Hebrew Style: Some believed that the Hebrew of Ecclesiastes was closer in style to that of the Mishnah (AD 200) than Solomon’s age (BC 951-921)

2) Loan Words: Aramaic and Persian words led scholars to date the work after Solomon, but some recent studies show that some of these features exist in Canaanite-Phoenician literature of the pre-Solomonic era26

3) Autobiographical References: Autobiographical references are considered to be literary devices to validate the author’s arguments as in the case of the pseudepigraphical Wisdom of Solomon (ca. 150-50 BC), but this is not a necessary conclusion for the following reasons:

a) Falsehood: If the biographical references are not true, then it is unlikely that the believing community (which was closer to the time of composition) would have accepted Ecclesiasties into the canon as part of inspired truth

b) Although some argue that the verb “was” (yt!yy]h( ) means “I ... was [and am no longer] king.” However, the verb could be translated as follows: “I ... have been [and still am] king.” See the NASB

c) The reference to “all who were over Jerusalem before me” may not only refer to Israelite rulers (e.g., David only), but to the non-Israelite rulers before David27

4) Linguistic Response: Recent studies demonstrate that some of the characteristics of the Hebrew in Ecclesiasties which were considered to be Aramaic and/or late may be found in Canaanite-Phoenician literature of a pre-Solomonic era28

5) Social and Political Conditions: Although some argue that the social and political conditions of Ecclesiasties29 are descriptive of the later time periods when the Jews were under Persian or Greek rule, they could also be descriptive of the end of Solomon’s rule when he was so harsh (1 Ki. 12:4, 9-11)

2. Internal Evidence: Although not conclusive, the internal evidence leans in the direction of Solomon:

a. The author identifies himself as David’s Son who is a King over Israel in Jerusalem:

1) The author identifies himself as the “Son of David” (1:1)

2) The author identifies himself as a “King in Jerusalem” (1:1)

3) The author identifies himself as a “king over Israel in Jerusalem” (1:12)

b. The author identifies himself with qualities which would have been true of David’s son, Solomon:30

1) He has “magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before” him 1:16

2) He describes himself as a builder of great projects 2:4-6

3) He describes himself as possessing many slaves (2:7), herds of sheep and cattle (2:7), and great wealth (2:8)

4) He claimed to be greater than all who lived in Jerusalem before him 2:9

C. Date: Probably around 935 BC

1. Late Date: Many who hold to a late date due to linguistic concerns date the book as late as the postexilic period (c. 530-250 BC),31 but some32 date the book during the late Persian period (c. 450-350 BC)

2. If one holds to Solomonic authorship, than the date is between 970-931 BC

3. Within the span of Solomonic kingship it is more likely that this book was written toward the end of his life than at an earlier time; Kaiser writes,
“Therefore, given the Solomonic authorship of the book, it will be best placed not before his apostasy, for the questions and sins of Ecclesiastes did not trouble him then, nor during his years of rebellion, for then he had no occasion to use the language of spiritual things. Ecclesiastes is best placed after his apostasy, when both his recent turmoil and repentance were still fresh in his mind33

D. The Canonical Use of Ecclesiastes34

1. See “I” “D” in the outline above

2. Ecclesiastes was read on the third day of the Feast of Tabernacles to emphasize joy over man’s place in God’s good creation35

E. A Comparison of Ecclesiastes with other ANE Texts

1. The specific kind of wisdom literature to which Ecclesiastes is akin is “pessimism literature”36

2. “An example of the essential difference between Mesopotamian “pessimism literature” and that of Israel may be found in the first millennium Babylonian “Dialogue of Pessimism” which concludes a similar struggle as Solomon’s in Ecclesiastes with absolute despair:
“Slave, listen to me,” “Yes, master, yes.” “Then what is good?” “To have my neck and yours broken and to be thrown into the river. Who is so tall that he can reach to the heavens? Who is so broad that he can encompass the underworld?” “No, servant, I will kill you and let you go first.” “Then (I swear that) my master will not outlive me by even three days”37

F. The Unity and Structure of the Book

1. Some have viewed Ecclesiasties as a combination of the contradictory views of three men (a skeptic, a writer of wisdom, and a believer), but this has largely been abandoned38

2. Some see the book of Ecclesiasties as having a thematic unity, but no real structural unity or argument; rather, it is viewed as a loose collection of wisdom sayings similar to the book of Proverbs39

3. Some trace the argument of the book through rhetorical criticism involving the repetition of set formulas dividing the book into two main divisions with an introduction and conclusion added on:40

a. Introduction: The Futility of All Human Endeavor 1:1-11

b. The Futility of Human Achievement Empirically Demonstrated 1:12--6:9

c. The Limitations of Human Wisdom Empirically Demonstrated 6:10--11:6

d. Conclusion: Life Joyously and Responsibly in the Fear of God 11:7--12:14

4. Others trace the argument of the book into four parts around the formal refrain “to eat and drink and to realize the benefit of one’s labor” is all a gift from God” (2:24-26; 5:18-20; 8:15-17; 11:7-10)41

5. Others trace the argument of the book through a combination of themes and literary structure42

G. The Purposes of Ecclesiastes

1. To reach unbelievers through a “cultural apologetic” so that they might straighten out their thinking, acting, values and prepare for their eternal destiny43

2. To explain for unbelievers and believers that meaning in life is not to be found in life (which is unintelligible and hostile--meaningless, vanity), but in the God who gives life

3. To emphasize the central theme that an understanding of life begins with the fear of God44

4. To “set a new standard of godliness for potential proselytes and Gentiles in general in a society and culture filled with every form of idolatry, indecency, and injustice known to man”45


1 To say that Hebrew Wisdom Literature was similar to some of the writings of its neighbors does not mean that there were not differences--especially in its development with respect to one God. Nevertheless, several factors were similar: (1) it was essentially practical, (2) it was attributed to God alone, (3) it was relevant to all parts of life (see R. K. Harrison, Introduction, pp. 1004-1009; Hill and Walton, Survey, pp. 248-252; La Sor et al, Old, pp. 534-542; Pritchard, ANET, pp. 589-607).

2 Much of what follows is from S. Craig Glickman, class notes of student in 903 Soteriology, Dallas Theological Seminary, Fall 1981.

3 Much of what follows was adapted from Glickman, Ibid., Elliott E. Johnson, class notes of student in 303 Old Testament History II and Poetry, Dallas Theological Seminary, Spring 1981; Expository Hermeneutics: An Introduction, pp. 106-132.

Geisler affirms that Legal literature provided the moral life of the people, Historical literature provided the political life of the people, and Poetical literature provided the spiritual experiences of the people (A Popular Survey of the Old Testament, p. 179). While there is some truth to this, the descriptions do not fully express the development of the different types of literature.

4 The wisdom aspect throughout the Psalms is the concept that the righteous will be vindicated and the wicked will suffer (Ps. 1).

5 See the discussion by La Sor et al, Old, p. 545.

6 Elliott E. Johnson, Principle of Recognition: Chapter IV (unpublished class notes in 315 Advanced Hermeneutics, Dallas Theological Seminary, Fall 1983), pp. 55-56.

7 The Hebrew term hmkh was generically used to describe the skill which one might have with craftsmanship (Ex. 31:1-11), architectural ability (1 Ki. 5:9-18) or, handiwork (1 Ki. 7:14; Isa. 44:9-17).

The skill that the fear of the Lord gives is the ability to make good choices about life (Prov. 1:1-7).

8 R. K. Harrison writes, worldly wisdom, through less elevated in nature, was different only in degree and not in kind from divine wisdom. The whole of life was thus connoted in terms of religious experience, and wisdom was held to be relevant at all points of existence (Introduction, p. 1008).

9 Two broad categories exist to define wisdom literature: (1) Proverbial wisdom--short, pity sayings which state rules for personal happiness and welfare [e.g., Proverbs], and (2) Contemplative or Speculative wisdom--monologues, dialogues, or essays which delve into basic problems of human existence such as meaning in life, or suffering [e.g., Ecclesiastes and Job]; see La Sor et al, Old, pp. 533-542.

10 These are concrete, down-to-earth statements rather than broad, philosophical evaluations (cf. Prov. 12:4; 11:2; 17:10); La Sor et al offer an enjoyable discussion of this characteristic (Old, pp. 537-538).

11 An example of the essential difference between Mesopotamian wisdom literature, and that of Israel may be found in the first millennium Babylonian Dialogue of Pessimism which concludes a similar struggle as Solomon's in Ecclesiastes with absolute despair:

Slave, listen to me, Yes, master, yes. Then what is good? To have my neck and yours broken and to be thrown into the river. Who is so tall that he can reach to the heavens? Who is so broad that he can encompass the underworld? No, servant, I will kill you and let you go first. Then (I swear that) my master will not outlive me by even three days (Pritchard, ANET, p. 601).

How much different is this conclusion than that of the modern existentialist?

12 As Ross writes, The Psalms are the inspired responses of human hearts to God's revelation of Himself in law, history, and prophecy (Psalms BKC, p. 779).

13 The language of the Psalms is concentrated when compared with prose. The concentration occurs through the use of images, symbols, figures, emotive vocabulary, and multiple meanings (Ross, Psalms, BKC, p. 780). The figurative language, is an instrument for conveying densely patterned meanings, and sometimes contradictory meanings, that are not readily conveyable through other kinds of discourse (Alter, The Art of Biblical Poetry, p. 113).

The word pictures enable the reader to feel much of what the poet did when he wrote the lines. This capacity to imagine that which one has not experienced is probably tied to the image of God (Who was able to imagine all possible creations before he made this one). Therefore, one must be sensitive to figurative language in order to capture the emotional meanings of the poetry.

14 Hill and Walton, Survey, pp. 252-253; Kidner, Psalms 1-72, pp. 1-4; R. K. Harrison, Introduction, pp. 965-972; Ryken, Words of Delight, pp. 180-185.

15 Hill and Walton, Survey, pp. 257-258; See also Ryken, Words of Delight, pp. 159-185, 313-340.

16 The two-fold division is argued upon (1) the way in which Moses' Law is referred to as a unit throughout the Scriptures, (2) the way in which the historical books are linked together as a unit, (3) the reference in Daniel to the Law and the books [9:2], and (4) the recognition of the Former prophetic books by the Latter (See Geisler and Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible, pp. 148-161).

17 Prologue to Ecclesiasticus (c. 132 B.C.), Jesus in Luke 24:44 (A.D. 30) Josephus, Against Apion, I.8 (A.D. 37-100).

18 The Writings include: (1) Poetical Books--Psalms, Proverbs, Job, (2) Five Rolls (Megilloth)--Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Esther, Ecclesiastes, (3) Historical Books--Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, Chronicles

Sometimes Ruth was attached to Judges, and Lamentations was attached to Jeremiah thereby making the Hebrew canon comprised of 22 books rather than the more usual 24 books (see Geisler and Nix, General, pp. 18-19).

19 Critical scholars assume that the three-fold division reflects dates of canonization in accordance with their dates of compositions--Law (400 B.C.), Prophets (c. 200 B.C.), Writings (c. A.D. 100). However, this thesis is untenable in light of early reports of a three-fold division (c. 132 B.C.; see above). See Geisler and Nix, General, p. 151.

This critical approach is suggested by La Sor et al as an explanation for the placement of Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles, Esther, Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes when they write, Essentially, the purpose of the Writings as a whole was to collect those sacred books whose purpose, character, or date excluded them form the collections of law and prophecy (Old, p. 508-509).

20 Song of Solomon (eighth day of Passover), Ruth (second day of Weeks, or Pentecost), Lamentations (ninth day of Ab, in mourning for the destruction of Solomon's temple), Ecclesiastes (third day of Tabernacles), Esther (Purim).

21 The word truth ( tma) was composed of the initial letters of each book--a ( boya, Job), m (ylvm, Proverbs), and t ( <ylht, Praises or Psalms) see R. K. Harrison, Introduction, p. 965.

22 Law = Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

History = Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I Samuel, II Samuel, I Kings, II Kings, I Chronicles, II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther

Poetry = Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon

Prophets/Major = Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel

Prophets/Minor = Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

For a more extensive overview see Geisler and Nix, General, pp. 17-25.

23 Kaiser would argue that the feminine participle actually describes the act of gathering people together rather than one who gathers people together (Ecclesiastes, pp. 24-25).

24 Luther did reject Solomonic authorship in his Tischreden (Table-Talk) affirming that the book had not reached us in its completed form and that Sirach rather than Solomon had been its author (see K & D 6:190).

25 Kaiser notes the following, The often repeated charge that the Talmud and Midrashim were ambivalent about Ecclesiastes' place in the canon is an overstatement. If the charge is that there were some serious questions about how to interpret Ecclesiastes, the answer is that the problem was not confined to Qoheleth; consider Song of Solomon, Proverbs, and certain Psalms. Further, those objections were all from the school of Shammai, whose rules of interpretation were hotly contested by the school of Hillel. Shammai was in fact overruled by the seventy elders, and so the Synagogue had settled the issue. What is more, the complaint this school raised that the words of Qoheleth contradict one another was only an apparent difficulty that was resolved just as alleged internal contradictions of the same kind in Proverbs were resolved: by careful exegesis of the text.

26 Mitchell Dahood, Canaanite-Phoenician Influence in Qoheleth, Biblica 33 (1952): 201-202.

27 Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18), Adonizedic (Josh. 10:1), Araunah (2 Sam. 24:23).

28 Donald R. Glenn, Ecclesiastes, in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty: Old Testament, edited by John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985), p. 975. Also Gleason L. Archer has summarized these features and argues that the Hebrew in Ecclesiastes is unique to any other Hebrew from any other period (Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible [Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1975] s.v. Ecclesiastes, 2:184-187. See also Michael A. Eaton, Ecclesiastes: An Introduction & Commentary, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, edited by D. J. Wiseman (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1983), p. 19. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Ecclesiastes: Total Life (Chicago: Moody Press, 1979), p. 28.

29 These would include oppression (4:1; 8:9), injustice (5:8), and corrupt government (5:8-9; 10:16-20).

30 Hill and Walton recognize that the writer intends for the reader to think of Solomon's experiences, but still come to the conclusion that Solomonic authorship is doubtful (A Survey, p. 293. One wonders how they justify the deception of the author as a part of Scripture.

31 Fragments of Ecclesiastes found at Qumran rule out a date later than 150 BC.

32 Hengstenberg, Delitzsch, Leupold, and E. J. Young.

33 Kaiser, Ecclesiastes, pp. 30-31. See also 1 Kings 11. See also Jerusalem Talmud, tractate Sanhedrin 20c.

34 For a more detailed discussion of canonicity see Eaton, Ecclesiastes, pp. 24-28.

35 See Kaiser's discussion in Ecclesiastes, pp. 41-42.

36 Eaton, Ecclesiastes, pp. 34-36. Pritchard, ANET, pp. 407-410, 423-424, 441-444, 467.

37 Pritchard, ANET, p. 601. How much different is this conclusion than that of the modern existentialist?

38 Glenn, Ecclesiastes, BKC, p. 978.

39 See the discussion by Eaton, Ecclesiastes, pp. 48-51.

40 Glenn, Ecclesiastes, BKC, p. 978.

41 This view does not have a monolithic expression (see Kaiser, Ecclesiastes, pp. 20-24; Glenn, Ecclesiastes, BKC, p. 978.

42 See Hill and Walton, A Survey, pp. 295-297, and the argument of this writer which follows below.

43 Kaiser, Ecclesiasties, pp. 31-32. See Deuteronomy 4:6-8; 1 Ki. 10:1.

44 See Deuteronomy 4:105:29; 6:2,13,24; 8:6; 10:12,20; 13:4; 14:23; 17:19; 28:58; 31:12-13.

45 Kaiser, Ecclesiastes, p. 37.

Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines