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Geneva Study Notes
Ecclesiastes Chapter 1

Ecclesiastes 1:1
1:1 The words of the {a} Preacher, the son of David, king of

 The Argument - Solomon as a preacher and one that desired to
    instruct all in the way of salvation, describes the
    deceivable vanities of this world: that man should not be
    addicted to anything under the sun, but rather inflamed with
    the desire of the heavenly life: therefore he confutes their
    opinions, which set their happiness either in knowledge or
    in pleasures, or in dignity and riches, wishing that man's
    true happiness consists in that he is united with God and
    will enjoy his presence: so that all other things must be
    rejected, save in as much as they further us to attain to
    this heavenly treasure, which is sure and permanent, and
    cannot be found in any other save in God alone.

    (a) Solomon is here called a preacher, or one who assembles
        the people, because he teaches the true knowledge of
        God, and how men ought to pass their life in this
        transitory world.

Ecclesiastes 1:2
1:2 {b} Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of
    vanities; all [is] vanity.

    (b) He condemns the opinions of all men who set happiness in
        anything but in God alone, seeing that in this world all
        things are as vanity and nothing.

Ecclesiastes 1:3
1:3 What profit hath a man of all his {c} labour which he taketh
    under the sun?

    (c) Solomon does not condemn man's labour or diligence, but
        shows that there is no full contentment in anything
        under the heavens, nor in any creature, as all things
        are transitory.

Ecclesiastes 1:4
1:4 [One] generation passeth away, and [another] generation
    cometh: but the earth abideth for {d} ever.

    (d) One man dies after another, and the earth remains
        longest, even to the last day, which yet is subject to

Ecclesiastes 1:6
1:6 The {e} wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about to
    the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind
    returneth again according to its circuits.

    (e) By the sun, wind and rivers, he shows that the greatest
        labour and longest has an end, and therefore there can
        be no happiness in this world.

Ecclesiastes 1:7
1:7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea [is] not full;
    to the place from {f} which the rivers come, there they
    return again.

    (f) The sea which compasses all the earth, fills the veins
        of it which pour out springs and rivers into the sea

Ecclesiastes 1:9
1:9 {g} The thing that hath been, it [is that] which shall be;
    and that which is done [is] that which shall be done: and
    [there is] no new [thing] under the sun.

    (g) He speaks of times and seasons, and things done in them,
        which as they have been in times past, so come they to
        pass again.

Ecclesiastes 1:12
1:12 {h} I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem.

     (h) He proves that if any could have attained happiness in
         this world by labour and study, he should have obtained
         it, because he had gifts and aids from God to it above
         all others.

Ecclesiastes 1:13
1:13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom
     concerning all [things] that are done under heaven: this
     grievous labour hath God given to the sons of man {i} to be
     exercised with it.

     (i) Man by nature has a desire to know, and yet is not able
         to come to the perfection of knowledge, which is the
         punishment of sin, to humble man, and to teach him to
         depend only on God.

Ecclesiastes 1:15
1:15 [That which is] {k} crooked cannot be made straight: and
     that which is lacking cannot be numbered.

     (k) Man is not able by all his diligence to cause things to
         go other than they do: neither can he number the faults
         that are committed, much less remedy them.

Ecclesiastes 1:17
1:17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know {l} madness
     and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of

     (l) That is, vain things, which served to pleasure, in
         which was no convenience, but grief and trouble of

Ecclesiastes 1:18
1:18 For in much wisdom [is] much {m} grief: and he that
     increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

     (m) Wisdom and knowledge cannot be come by without great
         pain of body and mind: for when a man has attained the
         highest, yet is his mind never fully content: therefore
         in this world is no true happiness.

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