Some translations use the literal rendering vapor of vapors and so claim to leave the interpretation to the reader.Intriguingly, this perspective does not diminish the author's opinion of God's role in the world. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.In light of this conclusion, Qoheleth advises his audience to make the most of life, for there is no guaranteed technique for securing favorable outcomes in the future—a perspective that has been compared to Epicureanism.
In Jewish society, Ecclesiastes is read on the Shabbat of the Intermediate Days of Sukkot, a harvest holiday.If there is no Intermediate Sabbath of Sukkot, it is read on Shemini Atzeret or (in Israel) on the first Shabbat of Sukkot.Martin Luther and certain other Christian leaders have quoted these verses in defense of the doctrine that the soul sleeps between death and resurrection.A meaningless life followed by oblivion is consistent with the purport of much (though not all) of the rest of the Tanakh as to the state of the dead (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10; Genesis ; Psalms 6:5; 1).A great portion of the book concerns itself with death.
The author emphatically affirms human mortality, going so far as to say that the dead in sheol know nothing. In fact, it is the lack of consequences after death that lead the author to advocate enjoying life while you can.
Ecclesiastes also acknowledges God as the Creator (Ecclesiastes 12:1; Genesis 1:1), though the references are not necessarily specific to the Israelite deity.
Throughout its twelve chapters, the book of Ecclesiastes uses the expression haelohim ("the God") 32 times.
Some of the issues with it include its seemingly-nihilistic perspective, its dearth of references to the Divine, and its predominantly negative view of death (and the afterlife). 7a), and was one of the matters on which the school of Shammai took a more stringent view than the school of Hillel; it was finally settled "on the day whereon R. Azariah was appointed head of the assembly." Endeavors were made to render it apocryphal on the ground of its not being inspired (Tosef., Yad. Because of its somewhat troubling observations, they perceived the need to retrieve the book from heresy and give it an orthodox patina.
As noted by Jastrow and Margoliouth, The canonicity of the book was, however, long doubtful (Yad. The editorial history of the book gives evidence of their efforts.
Although there has been considerable discussion concerning the structure and editorial shape of the book (see Wright 1968), there is a general consensus that the core of the book of Ecclesiastes is 1:2 through 12:8.