Ecclesiastes is the Greek translation of the Hebrew name "Qoheleth" or "Qeheleth" : Hebrew does not write vowels as western alphabets, so we are not sure of the pronunciation.
In the Hebrew the book begins "the words of Qoheleth, the son of David, king in Jerusalem". The meaning of Qeheleth is difficult to translate, but is related to the words for voice, speaker, convocation, and assembly - hence some English translations say "Preacher".
The theme of Ecclesiastes is the emptiness and futility of life "under the sun", without God.
Ecclesiastes 1:2 - the Hebrew word "Hevel" which is usually translated "vanity" can also mean nothingness, superficiality, transitoriness, uselessness, foolishness
Ecclesiastes 1:3 - the phrase "under the sun" refers to every-day life lived in a secular way, without much awareness of spiritual matters, or relationship to God
Ecclesiastes 1:13 - the search for happiness by the academic pursuit of knowledge
Ecclesiastes 1:18 - the more one learns about the world, without awareness of God, the worse things seem
Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 - the search for happiness in secular pleasures - merriment, drinking, houses and estates, possessions, servants, jewelery, positiom in society
Ecclesiastes 2:11 - once the things were accomplished or possessed, they ceased to give satisfaction
Ecclesiastes 2:14-15 - the realization that, whatever we did or accomplished in life, we all die
Ecclesiastes 2:18-21 - Solomon's son, Rehoboam, was so foolish that he lost the greater part of the kingdom which Solomon had built up (I Kings, chapter 12)
Ecclesiastes 9:1 & 7-10 - the Old Testament idea of the good life, before knowledge of the Resurrection
Ecclesiastes, chapters 10 & 11 - a collection of proverbs
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 - The conclusion of Ecclesiastes' meditation
Copyright © 1999 Shirley J. Rollinson, all Rights Reserved
Department of Religion
Portales, NM 88130
Last Updated: April 9, 2008