Ecclesiastes 2 - evidence of restoration?

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Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
It is generally held that people have different conversion experiences and by extension different works of grace in their lives. Bearing this in mind it is possible to see Solomon recounting a spiritually barren period in which he sought solace in this world before returning to God. This would explain his disillusionment with wine and women and commending a thankfulness for His daily providence which would it would not be strange to hear on the lips of the Apostle Paul.

What does strike me is that in chronicling Solomon's reign a latter restoration is not detailed. I have some thoughts on why but I would welcome others thoughts first.

I will open a discussion on the authorship of Ecclesiastes elsewhere. I only wish a discussion of Solomon's fall from grace and his restoration(?)on this thread.
 

Eoghan

Puritan Board Senior
OK, having waited for others to go first I share a few thoughts.

Solomon seems to have enjoyed wine rather than been controlled by it, if we accept his description of his mind remaining clear. His concubines are more problematic, yet was this not how Abraham had a son by Hagar? The focus here is not so much on the thing itself but trying to find meaning through it. His construction work while expansive has a hollow ring to him. It is here that Solomon explains that he finds no satisfaction in these things "under the sun" because they were never intended to be the sum of ones life. Jesus says something very similar in Luke 12 when he says that a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.

In reading Ecclesiastes I am constrained by Solomon sharing autobiographical details but for the purpose of instructing Israel - those who come after him. He is sharing something of himself but for a purpose; he wants to educate Israel, hence his persona as "the Preacher". For me this goes some way to explaining the "secular observations" on his spiritual insights. He can see the emptiness and futility of a life lived "under the sun" but holds back on piling on spiritual explanations that would have little traction with a secular audience.

I was reading elsewhere that you need to understand about 95% of a text to understand it. If recognition falls below this then meaning dissipates. Solomon uses explanations and experiences that are readily understood hitting this target. Hence what readily communicates is the futility and vanity of life "under the sun". What Solomon goes on to advocate is the contentment that Paul expounds in the epistles. To this end Solomon expands on the emptiness of his "life under the sun" and avoids recounting an intensely spiritual confrontation with personal sin such as that which David experiences regarding Bathsheeba.
 
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