Bible reading guide: Kohelet / Ecclesiastes

KOHELET reading guide (following Anchor Bible divisions)
Rabbi David L. Kline

Part I A  Reflection: Everything is Ephemeral and Unreliable
Preface: Nothing changes
1:2-11            There is nothing new under the sun.
Nothing is ultimately reliable.
1:18            In great wisdom there is great anger.
2:11            All is in vain and pointless.
2:15            The wise and the fool have the same end.
2:24            Nothing better than to eat, drink, and enjoy.
Everything is in the hand of God
3:1-11            Everything is good in its season.  Existentialism.
3:19            Humans have no advantage over animals.
Relative good is not good enough
4:2            The dead are better off but best is not to have been born.
4:9            Two are better than one.
Part I B  Ethics: Coping with uncertainty, Attitude before God  4:17- 5:6
5:1            Don’t be hasty to speak before God.
Enjoyment, not greed  5:7-6:9
5:9            A money lover will not be satisfied with money.
6:2            Wealth and status are a disease

Part II A  Reflection: everything is Elusive
No one knows what is good 6:10-7:14
6:12            Who knows what is good for a person in this life?
7:1fff            Some things are better than others     Irony
Righteousness and wisdom are elusive 7:15-29
7:15            Righteous one dies --- wicked one endures
7:21            Don’t pay attention to everything that is said.
7:23            Test by wisdom doesn’t work
It's an arbitrary world  8:1-17
8:15            Hurray for happiness
Part II B  Ethics: Coping with risks and death
Carpe Diem    9:1-10
9:4            A live dog is better than a dead lion.
The world is full of risks  9:11-10:15
9:11            The race is not won by the swift.
10:5            Folly placed on lofty heights.
Living with risks 10:16-11:6
11:1            Send your bread forth. . .
Conclusion 11:7-12:8
11:9            Gaudiamus igitur
12:7            Dust to dust and life to God
Epilogue 12:9-14
12:14            The end of the matter, all being heard: fear God, keep His commandments.

ר' יונתן: מדרך ארץ כשאדם נער אומר דברי זמר, הגדיל אומר דברי משלות, הזקין אומר דברי הבלים
Rabbi Yonatan: It is the way of the world that when a man is young he utters words of song; when he grows he utters words of proverbs; when he gets old he utters words of hot air.  Shir Hashirim Rabbah, 1:1 #10

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