Ecclesiastes Chapter 1 Verse 1
“The words of Qoheleth son of David king in Jerusalem.” This single sentence forms the complete introduction to the book of Ecclesiastes.
As the book begins with “Words of”, it ends in a similar way, with “words of” mentioned three times in chapter 12:10-11. There in the last chapter, Qoheleth sought to find “words of pleasing” (pleasant words); “words of truth”; and lastly the “words of the wise” with which he was well acquainted.
The genre for the book of Ecclesiastes seems to be “words of”, not just any words. But words carefully chosen. (See my article on Proverbs 16:1, which explores man’s responsibility to organize his heart and God’s role to provide the answer of the tongue). Truly the words in this book are the “words of” a wise man as is attested in Chapter 12:9, where it says “In addition to being a wise man . . . “. So in further establishing this style of writing we find that this first sentence of Ecclesiastes is very similar to the first sentence of the book of Proverbs where it reads “The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel.” Dr. Bruce Waltke writes “Proverbs distinguishes two forms of its content: ‘proverbs’ and ‘sayings of the wise’ (1:6). .. . In sum, there is no uniform formal distinction between ‘proverbs’ and ‘sayings’.” B. K. Waltke, “The Book of Proverbs Chapters 1-15” Grand Rapids, Wm. B. Eerdmanns, (2004), p. 57. It appears then that the author of Ecclesiastes is announcing in his introduction that the contents of the book will be “The sayings of the wise.” Which takes us to the second carefully chosen word of this six word introduction to the Book of Ecclesiastes, “Qoheleth”, often translated “Preacher”. This word will be considered in the next article. Until then the Lord bless you, JD.