In this episode, Tim and Jon begin their discussion on the book of Ecclesiastes. This is an interesting book in Scripture, and the author is relentlessly trying to get the reader to rethink their black and white mindset. It can be a bit depressing to read, and it doesn’t quite give you the same type of feel-good wisdom that the book of Proverbs does. The guys will try to get at what this book is trying to teach us and what the author thinks it means to live a good and godly life.
In the first part of the episode (02:14-09:57), the guys talk about the two distinct voices in Ecclesiastes. We know that it was written by a son of David, which could mean an actual king, or it could mean someone who wrote in the tradition of the wisdom of the kings. Getting a little bit of context about the author will help us to figure out what this book is trying to say.
In the next part of the episode (10:18-17:28), the guys discuss the Hebrew word, “hevel,” used thirty-eight times in this short book. “Hevel” is roughly translated to “vanity,” but as Tim points out, this is not the best translation. Hevel technically means smoke or vapor, but it is also used metaphorically to mean absurd or an enigma.
In the next part of the episode (17:51-34:46), the guys talk about the way Ecclesiastes stands out among the other books in the Old Testament. Is this book scandalous among the Jewish Scriptures?
In the final part of the episode (35:09-51:20), the guys unpack the concept of the “good life” that Ecclesiastes is teaching about. What does it mean to live a good life? What are our motives for pursuing the good life if there is so much hevel?