Ecclesiastes 2:1-7

Ecclesiastes 2:1

I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.


Then Solomon directs his heart to experience mirth which would be “pleasure, frivolity, or merrymaking.”  In this verse “prove” means he will try or make an attempt to satisfy himself with mirth.  He is going to bask in an enjoyment of pleasure.  After he had done this, his anticipation was greater than the results and he categorizes pleasure as vanity.  In other words, it was an empty experience and one that had no substance to fill his heart with what was needed.  Earthly vanities are fleeting.


Ecclesiastes 2:2

I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?


Even laughter when it is not controlled by the individual or is in response to some sinful act or words it seems like madness.  A foolish person laughs at everything including laughing to scorn.  Job had suffered the laughing derision by those who knew him.  I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.  (Job 12:4)  Then Solomon asks the question, what good does it do man or how does scornful or foolish laughing minister to a person?  Of course, the question remained open ended because no one on earth could give a proper answer.


Ecclesiastes 2:3

I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.


In ancient pagan societies, people would believe that if you got drunk you would be better able to connect with your god which is what the Apostle Paul wrote against in Ephesians 5:18.  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;  (Ephesians 5:18)  In Deuteronomy God speaks to that specific situation.  Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the LORD your God.  (Deuteronomy 29:6)  Solomon was experimenting with wine and did not become drunk and out of control as much wine would do that.  He was in full control of his faculties as we read that his heart was being driven by wisdom.  He wanted to know why so many turned to wine and to folly which if they remain unsaved will be how they will run their lives until death.  Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.  (Proverbs 31:6)  In Proverbs 31:6, it says give wine unto those who have heavy hearts.  The word “heavy” carries with it the meaning of “discontented or bitter.”  Many drink alcohol because they believe it will help mollify their problems or fill up an emptiness in their heart.  Looking at the spiritual aspect of Proverbs 31:6, we give the “strong drink” of the gospel to the unsaved especially those who mock or reject.  How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.  (Jude 18)  We give the wine of the gospel to those who are of heavy hearts, maybe after a personal tragedy or a personal situation.  But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.  (Luke 5:38) 


Ecclesiastes 2:4

I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:


Solomon then begins to state what he did with the great wisdom and talents the LORD gave him.  He did great works, that is, he did not sit around and get fat like so many world rulers.  Solomon had designed and directed the building using his arts and skills. This is not speaking of only one project but speaks about what he generally did throughout his rule.


{17} And Solomon built Gezer, and Beth-horon the nether,  {18} And Baalath, and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land,  {19} And all the cities of store that Solomon had, and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen, and that which Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.  (1 Kings 9:17-19)


Then he built houses and his greatest accomplishment was the great temple of Solomon which was the house of God.  His own personal house was thirteen years in building made of gold, ivory, silver, and the cedars of Lebanon.  And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the LORD, and the king's house, and all Solomon's desire which he was pleased to do,  (1 Kings 9:1)  Then he not only did building projects but he also was into the agricultural arena by planting vineyards.  Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon; he let out the vineyard unto keepers; every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand pieces of silver.  (Song of Solomon 8:11) 


Ecclesiastes 2:5

I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:


Solomon then went on to plant gardens, orchards, and trees with all kinds of fruits. Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard,  (Song of Solomon 4:13)  Camphire was a flower which had a very sweet smell and was used by women to paint their nails on their hands and feet.  The Hebrew name is “kophar” and the Arab name is “henna.”


{11} Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon; he let out the vineyard unto keepers; every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand pieces of silver.  {12} My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.  {13} Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it.  (Song of Solomon 8:11-13)


Ecclesiastes 2:6

I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:


Then Solomon had pools of water created to be able to keep a constant flow of water for the trees.  Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the king's pool: but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass.  (Nehemiah 2:14)  The trees would then grow up strong and be able to supply all the wood necessary for any building projects that would come along.  South of Bethlehem, there are three large reservoirs called the Pools of Solomon.  Josephus in his commentaries also speaks about a pool of Solomon.


Ecclesiastes 2:7

I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:


Solomon was able to purchase servants and maidens because to take care of his estate was a huge responsibility and many were needed to accomplish that.  Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.  (1 Kings 10:8)  Solomon’s servants were even born to him in his house. 


{55} The children of Solomon's servants: the children of Sotai, the children of Sophereth, the children of Peruda,  {56} The children of Jaalah, the children of Darkon, the children of Giddel,  {57} The children of Shephatiah, the children of Hattil, the children of Pochereth of Zebaim, the children of Ami.  {58} All the Nethinims, and the children of Solomon's servants, were three hundred ninety and two.  (Ezra 2:55-58)


To get an idea of the vastness of the flocks which he owned, just look at the amount of sacrifices he made at the dedication of the Temple.  And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the LORD, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the LORD.  (1 Kings 8:63)  The requirements of Solomon for each day was also immense. 


{22} And Solomon's provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal,  {23} Ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallowdeer, and fatted fowl.  (1 Kings 4:22-23)