A Pondering Of The Contradictions Of Life

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Ecclsiastes: A Pondering of the Contradictions of Life

The book of Ecclesiastes is somewhat of an anomaly in the Bible. Compared other books, it focuses more on philosophy, but nonetheless still has a continuing focus on serving God. The work considers the meaning of life and how one goes about living. Tradition credits Solomon, the third king of Israel, as the author of Ecclesiastes due to the references to being king in Jerusalem and the son of David, and having great wealth and numerous written works (Bullock 183-85; Ehrman 203). The writer discusses women in a negative light, described as leading men to sin, so this could also validate this view. However, some scholars oppose this, saying that details like the use of past tense
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Qoheleth’s repeated advice to enjoy life while we have it follows the basic idea of hedonism, a Hellenistic philosophy that sets achieving self-satisfaction as the goal of life. There are two possible reasons for this. Either Qoheleth lived in the Hellenistic period and was influenced by the schools of thought of the time, or he was a thinker who was ahead of his time. According to Bullock and The New Interpreter’s Study Bible, Ecclesiastes was written at some time during the era of Persian empire.

In Ecclesiastes 7:15-29, we see Qoheleth discuss the paradoxes he sees in life, focusing mainly the themes of righteousness, wickedness, wisdom, and death. In 7:15-18, the writer realizes that he had been viewing life in a pointless manner. There are injustices that contrast what common sense suggests: misfortune coming to the righteous, and success to the evil. He sees this as a result of people’s actions, so he cautions the audience to stay in the middle of the moral spectrum and to fear God. In doing so, you could conclude that one would follow the laws of God, leading to avoiding the harm that comes from either end. The New Revised Standard Version (NSRV) and the King James Version (KJV) both express the need to hold onto both warnings while the more modern Good News Translation (GNT) excludes this statement. Perhaps the editors of the GNT wanted to avoid wordiness. Qoheleth believes that it
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