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Was King Solomon right when he said in Ecclesiastes that the only thing that matters in the end is to fear God and keep his commandments?
It’s important to note that we don’t know for certain who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. Whoever it was only identified themselves as Kohelet, a word that means “to gather.” We know he was a wise sage who gathered wise sayings for the end of the book says “Kohelet was wise and he passed on his teachings to the people. He pondered, searched out, and set in order many proverbs. He studied to find just the right words, and what he wrote was honest and true.”
The interesting thing about the end of the book is that it is written by someone other than Kohelet. It talks about him in the third person and tells us why we should trust what he wrote.
“The words of the wise guide our lives like a shepherd; their collected sayings are like firmly driven nails. Beware of adding to their words, for you will discover that there is no end to what people write, and trying to study it all will exhaust you. In the end, what matters most is to honor and obey God, for that is why we were created; and one day everything we do, including every secret thing, will be judged as evil or good.”
This early biographer of Kohelet is encouraging us to read Kohelet’s writings because he believes our lives will one day be evaluated and Kohelet’s wise words can prepare us for that day. Unfortunately for many hundreds of years, this admonition has become the message of the book, its ultimate conclusion, and very few people read Kohelet or seek to understand what he is teaching us about our working lives.
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