Study questions, maps, charts, key words, history, background, outlines, and links to help you study the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes.
Jump to: Background; ** Maps; ** Key Words; ** Encyclopedias; ** Commentaries; ** Articles; ** GotQuestions ** Next **
- Author: Solomon, King of Israel, son of David
- Date: c. 931 BC (later in Solomon’s life)
- Distinguishing Features: despairing tone in outstanding poetry and loving reverence (fear) for God as foundation of wisdom.
- Purpose: To draw a sharp contrast between the despair and meaninglessness of a world without God and the enjoyment and fulfillment of life given by God; to warn and instruct the young of the kingdom.
- Key Texts: Ecclesiastes 2:24-25; Ecclesiastes 3:12-13; Ecclesiastes 5:20; Ecclesiastes 12:13
- The English title, Ecclesiastes, comes from the Greek and Latin translations. The LXX, the Greek translation of the OT, used the Greek term ekklēsiastēs for its title. It means “preacher,” derived from the word ekklēsia, translated “assembly” or “congregation” in the NT.
- Both the Greek and Latin versions derive their titles from the Hebrew title, Qoheleth, which means “one who calls or gathers” the people. It refers to the one who addresses the assembly; hence, the preacher.
- Along with Ruth, Song of Solomon, Esther, and Lamentations, Ecclesiastes stands with the OT books of the Megilloth, or “five scrolls.” Later rabbis read these books in the synagogue on 5 special occasions during the year—Ecclesiastes being read on Pentecost.
- Job, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, Song of Solomon
- General interest in humanity and universal pronouncements (as opposed to the people of Israel)
- Grounded in a theology of creation
- Fear of YHWH as proper context for wisdom, sometimes explicitly stated, but often implicit
- Questioning attitude about the basic problems of life: why is there suffering, inequality, death, why do the wicked prosper, etc.
Genre: Understanding Hebrew Poetry
Background & Outlines
NIV: Wisdom Literature
Kenneth Boa: Ecclesiastes Overview
James van Dine: Ecclesiastes Introduction
Charles Swindoll: Book of Ecclesiastes Overview – Insight for Living Ministries
Paul van Gorder: OT Reflections of Christ – Ecclesiastes
David Malick: The Book of Ecclesiastes – Introduction
David Malick: An Argument of the Book of Ecclesiastes
Maps from Holman Bible Atlas
Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary: Ecclesiastes, Theology of –
The Jewish Encyclopedia: Ecclesiastes, Book of
Fausset Bible Dictionary Ecclesiastes, the Book of
Holman Bible Dictionary Ecclesiastes, Book of
Morrish Bible Dictionary Ecclesiastes, Book of
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Ecclesiastes, or the Preacher
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible: Ecclesiastes
American Tract Society Ecclesiastes
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary Ecclesiastes
Chabad Knowledge Base Ecclesiastes
Easton’s Bible Dictionary Ecclesiastes
Hitchcock Bible Names Ecclesiastes
Watson’s Theological Dictionary Ecclesiastes
Commentaries & Study Bibles
Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible:
Matthew Henry: Ecclesiastes
Albert Barnes Notes: Ecclesiastes
Reformation Study Bible Notes: Ecclesiastes
Geneva Study Bible: Ecclesiastes
Precept Austin Commentaries & Sermons: Ecclesiastes
Roy Zuck: God and Man in Ecclesiastes (Bib Sac 148: 46-56, 1991) – Is Ecclesiastes a Misfit, Doctrine of God in Ecclesiastes, Doctrine of Man in Ecclesiastes.