Kohelet One: Perspectives

The first verse gives us an introduction into who the writer of this book is – Kohelet, son of David. Kohelet is traditionally believed to be synonymous with King Solomon, who is credited as the author of the book, though there are scholars who dispute this. Regardless, this is said to be a book of wisdom, and he is known for being the wise king, so perhaps it’s in his spirit, if nothing else. For this first chapter, the piece of wisdom that appeals to me the most is one of the most famous. “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).” It’s ironic, of course, because clearly whatever commentary I offer on this verse will not be new. It’s been written about for centuries, and I can wholeheartedly say that I have no unique insights. Sometimes it’s depressing to think that every good, even innovative, idea has already been had, but there’s also a beauty to approaching that same idea from a different perspective. What if we looked at things by saying that we have the honor and opportunity to build on the work of previous generations, bringing new perspectives and experiences to timeless realities and concepts? I think it would make the work of today seem less futile and more like another layer on the ongoing building of the history of humanity.

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