Ecclesiastes dwells on the word hebel – used 37 times (more than half of OT occurrences). Hebel has been translated as vanity, meaningless, futility; it literally means vapor, breath/wisp of air.

Ecclesiastes is written in “rambling” style – I see this as an artistic reflection of the wandering despair that takes place in during depression. Other features making it a difficult read are the antithetical statements within and the apparent contradictions to the rest of the Bible due to its weak understanding of the resurrection

Conclusions from Ecclesiastes

1. The only indisputable reality is God the Creator of all

2. God’s ways are not always, if ever, understandable

3. The way things should be are not, if ever, what is

4. The great leveler of all statuses of life is death

The final assessment of Ecclesiastes is that after wrestling with the hard realities of life, one should still live life as a gift from God (“fear God and keep his commandments”). Others see it as a picture of the futility of life without God – the reasonable point of view without hope of resurrection.


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