Commentary on Ecclesiastes (Classic Reprint)
The book of Ecclesiastes presents many apparent problems, which have long been the subject of wonder and dispute, among the Jewish Rabbies as well as in the Christian church. Had not the evidence been strong and decisive of its rightful place in the Canon of the Hebrew sacred writings, it would undoubtedly have been rejected long ago by many, as not being a book of divine authority. Not a few passages seem to speak, at first view, the language of skepticism, i. e. of unbelief or doubt as to a future state, and also of devotedness to sensual enjoyment. It was on this ground, that some of the Jewish Rabbies, at the time when the Talmud was written, made an effort, as it would seem, to eject it from the sacred Canon, as we are told in the Talmud, Tract. Shabb. fol. 30, col. 2. Some of the Christian Fathers have intimated the like feelings, as existing among some Christians in their times: and since the revival of criticism in its late, and specially in its most recent form, the book has been treated as indeed a clever performance of the kind, but after all as the work of a skeptical Epicurean. Even De Wette, with his sober aspect and seeming impartiality, does not hesitate to bestow such an epithet on the author of the book. No wonder that he has had many imitators or followers in Germany.
The evidence that Ecclesiastes was a portion of the sacred Canon sanctioned by Christ and his apostles, is plain, and as certain as anything so remotely historical can be made out to be. This is shown in its proper place, in the Introduction to the Commentary. This admitted, it follows, that a serious obligation devolves on us to read the book, and at least to do what we can to understand it. Thousands of sermons have been preached on portions of the book, and a multitude of Commentaries have been written, most of which are merely ethical and hortatory. There is indeed no want of material in the book, for a basis to such sermons and homiletic commentary.
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