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Solomon says that a fool thinks of happiness.


The twenty-first Book in the Bible is Ecclesiastes. The word Ecclesiastes means "a speaker at an assembly". There is only one speaker in the book - The Teacher. Ecclesiastes is the sharing of one man's search for satisfaction in life, in which we discover that without God there is no meaning to be found. The Teacher wants to spare his readers the harsh lessons which he has himself learned.

All quotations from the Bible are taken from the Authorised King James Version.
Solomon says that a fool thinks of happiness whilst a wise man thinks of what?
Of death
Of poverty
Of misery
Of God
Thoughts of our inevitable deaths help to strengthen us, whilst time spent in pursuit of enjoyment is folly.

Ecclesiastes 7:3-4
"Sorrow is better than laughter:
for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning;
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth"
Ecclesiastes ends with Solomon's conclusion which is that we should fear God and obey his laws because this is our what?
Our calling
Our salvation
Our purpose
Our duty
Solomon has discovered that the only thing which can bring meaning to our lives is to obey God, and that God will judge our thoughts and our deeds.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil"
Although the author of Ecclesiastes is called the Teacher or the Preacher, what is his proper name?
Whereas the Book of Proverbs was written by Solomon in his youth when he was renowned for his wisdom, Ecclesiastes was written near the end of his life after he had strayed from God. In it Solomon repents of his womanising.

Ecclesiastes 7:23-26
"All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me. That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out? I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness: and I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her"
Solomon saw a poor man who was wise save his city from its enemies. What happened afterwards to the poor, wise man?
The king had him killed
He was given great wealth
Nobody remembered him
He was made a king
These verses remind us to listen to wisdom even from the lowly, rather than to the folly of the mighty.

Ecclesiastes 9:14-17
"there was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it: now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools"
In the 2nd verse of Ecclesiastes Solomon declares "vanity of vanities; all is vanity". What does he mean by this?
That people are too proud
That nothing is worthwhile
That people are too concerned about their appearance
That everything is wonderful
Solomon says that men die so what is the point of working hard? Nothing changes and the world goes on as before regardless of men. Here is the beginning of his sermon:

Ecclesiastes 1:1-3
"The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher,
vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
What profit hath a man of all his labour
which he taketh under the sun?"
Solomon tells us to remember God in the good times before our lives become harsh. How does he refer to these good times?
The days of our youth
The days of plenty
The days of our joy
The days of mirth
Solomon wants us to think of God before our lives become harder with age.

Ecclesiastes 12:1-3
"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; while the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: in the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened"
According to the Teacher, a living dog is better than a dead what?
A dead king
A dead lion
A dead prince
A dead bear
These verses tell how, for the dead, life on earth is meaningless.

Ecclesiastes 9:4-6
"For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun"
What is it that Solomon says will increase when knowledge also increases?
Grief and sorrow
Joy and gladness
Health and lifespan
Wealth and prosperity
The beginning of Ecclesiastes is very gloomy! It describes the misery of life when it does not contain God. Solomon talks of his wisdom and how it did not bring him joy.

Ecclesiastes 1:18
"For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow"
Solomon tells us to rejoice in the pleasant times during our lives but not to forget what?
That the good times will come to an end
That it is all a gift from God
That we are bound to serve God
That we are going to heaven
All things on earth are temporary. Only what comes after is eternal.

Ecclesiastes 11:7-8
"Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun: but if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity"
One section of Ecclesiastes was set to music and became a hit record in the 1960s entitled "Turn, turn, turn". It talks about the natural order of things and begins with which line?
The answer is blowing in the wind
When I find myself in times of trouble
To every thing there is a season
Spirit in the sky
The verses talk about the different times for things to happen. It is a popular reading at funerals for, as verse 2 says, we all have a time when we must die.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
"To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones,
and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace"


Author:  Graeme Haw

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