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Bible Commentaries

G. Campbell Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

Ecclesiastes 1

 

 

Verses 1-18

The first verse of this chapter introduces us to the author of the Book. Taken in conjunction with verse Ecclesiastes 1:12, it leaves no room for doubt that he is Solomon. In stating his theme he employs phrases which recur through the whole of the Book: "vanity," "what profit?" "under the sun." The statement is a declaration of the emptiness of life when it is wholly conditioned in material things-"under the sun."

In this first section we have a still more particular statement in general terms. The generations come and go while the earth abides. The sun rises and sets. The wind moves in a ceaseless circuit. Rivers run into the sea, only to be returned to the places from which they come. Man comes to the scene with desires which are never satisfied, and passes away into a land of forgetfulness. Some of the declarations are very remarkable for scientific accuracy, eves in the light of latter-day discoveries. The circuit of the wind to the south and back again to the north is of but recent discovery. The return of rivers to the mountains by evaporation is also of recent discovery. Yet the intention of this whole passage is to impress on the mind the fact of the constant grind of the mechanism of the universe in the midst of which man lives his brief day and passes out to forget and be forgotten. This is still the view of men of science who lose their vision of the spiritual realities which constitute the upper half of human life.

The discourse proceeded to state the grounds on which such conclusions have been reached. They are twofold. First, the actual experiences of the king; and, second, the widespread observation of other men and of matters in general. Commencing with his own experience, he states first the vanity of knowledge, of mirth, of wealth. As to knowledge, he had applied his heart to seek and search out all the works done under the sun, and had come to the conclusion that they were all vanity, and that knowledge of them was grief. Knowledge unillumined by spiritual consciousness is utterly unsatisfactory.

 


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Bibliography Information
Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 1:4". "G. Campbell Morgan Exposition on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gcm/ecclesiastes-1.html. 1857-84.

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