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. . .
11:9 Gaudiamus igitur
12:7 Dust to dust and life to God
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