Today’s reading in Ecclesiastes starts off talking about vanity in all things under the sun. There is vanity in having wisdom, "For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow." There is vanity in self-indulgence, "Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun." There is vanity in living wisely, "How the wise dies just like the fool!" There is vanity in toil, "I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool?" And there is vanity in wealth and honor, "He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income."
We are told that there is a season for everything. That we should be joyful and do good as long as we live, and we should eat and drink and take pleasure in all our toil-this is God’s gift to man. And that as we all came from dust, so we all return.
Then we are told of evil under the sun. We are told of the tears of the oppressed, and how there was no one to comfort them. How those who are dead are more fortunate than the living, and how better off those who have not been are because they have not seen the evil deeds done under the sun.
We are told to guard ourselves before God, and watch what you vow to God. For it is better to not vow anything, than to vow something and not pay what is vowed.
"Whatever has come to be has already been named, and it is known what man is, and that he is not able to dispute with one stronger that he."