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Solomon Examines the Meaning of Pleasure, Worldly Wisdom and Work

Chapter 2 ofthe book of Ecclesiastes looks at pleasure and labor and Solomon concludes again that all is meaningless on this Earth.
I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure. Verse 10
I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” Verse 2

  • “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. Verse 2
  •  I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly… Verse 3
  •  I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. Verse 7
  •  I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. Verse 8
  •  I acquired male and female singers, and a harem[a] as well—the delights of a man’s heart.Verse 8
  •  I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. Verse 9

My heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
I undertook great projects:

  •  I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. Verse 4
  •  I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. Verse 5
  •  I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. Verse 6
  •  I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. Verse 7

Wisdom and Folly
Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom, and also madness and folly.

  •  I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness. Verse 13
  •  I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both. Verse 14
  •  For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered Verse 16
  •  Like the fool, the wise too must die! Verse 16

Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.

  •  I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. Verse 18
  •  And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. Verse 19
  •  All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. Verse 23

Solomon’s Conclusion:

This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? Verses 24b, 25

  • A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. Verse 24a
  • To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, Verse 26a
  • To the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. Verse 26b

The reading and studying of this chapter brought these verses to mind to compare and contrast Solomon’s wisdom in light of the wisdom of Jesus.

Luke 9:25, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” Solomon declares it meaningless in Ecclesiastes 2, to gain much and do much. “So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind,” Ecclesiastes 2:17.

Luke 18: 29-30, “’Truly I tell you,’ Jesus said to them, ‘no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.’”

Jesus quoted in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  : What does it mean “to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness?” Which Hebrew word for seek is used in Matthew 6:33?
From “God-consciousness,” Hebrew Word Study Skip Moen,     consciousness/
“Seek – The word used in this quotation from Yeshua means “to deliberately strive and desire something as an act of the will.” It is the Greek verb zeteo. Here the context implies putting your whole life at the disposal of God’s rule and will so that nothing takes greater priority. This meaning carries over the Old Testament idea that seeking God is an activity of the whole being, not simply an intellectual pursuit. Everything that comprises who we are is to be offered as a living sign of complete surrender to the pursuit of God and His kingdom. God-consciousness must be the ethos of life.
This verse tells us that whenever we consciously commit ourselves in utter abandonment to God’s will, He faithfully cares for our needs. In the previous verse, Yeshua simply says that God knows exactly what we need and we can have every confidence that He will provide for us when we surrender to Him. This is the essence of life in Christ. We could never do it alone, and we could never do it by just giving up. We had to surrender something to someone. We had to give ourselves completely to our powerlessness and let God do what only He could do. We didn’t know we could change until we gave up trying.”

The author of the Gospel of John remembering Jesus’ words of wisdom sheds some light on Solomon’s honest expression, “So I hated my life.” “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life,” John 12:25. John interprets this to mean in the first epistle of John,  “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever” 1 John 2: 15 – 17.

My Supposition: To strive and desire worldly riches, wisdom and accomplishments is meaningless and temporal. To strive to do the will of God is purposeful and eternal.

Categories: Folly vs Wisdom Wisdom of Christ Wisdom of Solomon

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Douglas Knight

I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at

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