Who wrote Ecclesiastes?

The Bible does not say who wrote Ecclesiastes but the clues point to Solomon. According to the oldest tradition, it was King Solomon who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. There are other possibilities, but they have little evidence.

The author of the book of Ecclesiastes identifies himself as “the teacher”, or the preacher, in other translations. This is a generic term, which means someone who teaches a group of people. In Ecclesiastes 1: 1 he says that he is the son of David, king of Jerusalem . “Son” in the Bible can mean son or just descendant. So we know that the author of Ecclesiastes was a descendant of King David.

Why Solomon?

Solomon is the most likely candidate, according to the information in the book of Ecclesiastes. The author of Ecclesiastes and Solomon have several things in common:

King of Israel in Jerusalem

In Ecclesiastes 1:12 , the author claims to be king of Israel . Therefore, he was one of the kings of David’s lineage, who had Jerusalem as their capital. However, during the reign of Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, the kingdom of Israel divided into two: the kingdom of Israel, with its capital in Samaria, and the kingdom of Judah, with its capital in Jerusalem.

David’s descendants remained as kings of Judah. ​​The author of Ecclesiastes identifies himself as king of Israel in Jerusalem. Therefore, it must have reigned before the separation of the country. This leaves two candidates: Solomon or Rehoboam.

Dedicated to wisdom

The person who wrote Ecclesiastes showed great interest in wisdom and spent a lot of time looking for it. In addition, he wrote and collected many proverbs, gaining much knowledge ( Ecclesiastes 12: 9-10 ).

Solomon was famous for his wisdom, knowledge and proverbs ( 1 Kings 4: 30-33 ). His son Rehoboam, on the other hand, was known to be foolish.

See the story of Solomon here.

Very rich

The author of Ecclesiastes describes his wealth: treasures, cattle, estates, slaves, architectural projects and many wives. He was famous for his wealth and power ( Ecclesiastes 2: 9 ). In addition to being very wise, Solomon was the richest king in Israel. He built several large works and had hundreds of wives and concubines. Solomon had access to everything his heart desired ( 1 Kings 10: 23-24 ).

No other Israelite had the power and wealth of the author of Ecclesiastes. With the division of the country, Rehoboam and his successors became much poorer. The author speaks of a position of privilege, drawing conclusions from his life experience, not just theories. Only Solomon fits this description.

Other possibilities

Some scholars believe that Ecclesiastes was written by an Israelite after exile in Babylon , hundreds of years later. According to this theory, the author of Ecclesiastes identified himself with Solomon only to give credibility to his narrative.

However, this theory has several problems. After exile, Israel was a very poor place. It would be strange for an Israelite to write from the position of a person who today would be considered a billionaire, when there were no Israelis so rich.

Furthermore, the book of Ecclesiastes has references and parallels to other, much older literary works, to which the Israelites after exile would not have much access. The fact that Ecclesiastes bears no resemblance to any Persian or Greek work is also strange, because this was the dominant literature of the time of exile. Altogether, it is much more likely that Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes.

by Abdullah Sam
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