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Ecclesiastes 1 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Ecclesiastes 1 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

3 What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?

4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

"The earth abideth for ever."
Will the earth last forever?

5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.

"The sun also ariseth"
Although this verse is interpreted figuratively today, it was taken literally by virtually all Christians until the Copernican revolution, and was used by the Church to condemn Galileo for teaching the heliocentric heresy.
I agree with the author of the SAB: the phrase sunrise is a clear indication that someone believes the sun revolves around the sun. It's amazing how widespread that believe is to this very day. For example the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand is still living in pre-Copernican times. It's just shocking.

6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.

7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.

"The place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again." Good description of the water cycle.
Index to Creationist Claims
The Index to Creationist Claims refers to an article in the Watchtower. As Jehovah Witnesses are not Christians, this endeavor will not attempt to defend their claims. The responses made by the anonymous author seem to be spot on.

8 All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.

9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

"There is nothing new under the sun." What's new?
The “new things” the preacher refers to here are natural, created things. God finished his creation in six days. But the verses the author of the SAB refers to, such as Is. 65:17, list supernatural things, because have been or will be created by God after the six days of creation.

10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.

11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.

12 I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem.

13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.

14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.

16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.

17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.

18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

"For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." Does wisdom make people happy?
There are two kinds of wisdom compared here: the wisdom in Prov. 3:13 is the wisdom from God. It requires man not to lean on his own understanding, Prov. 3:5 and not wise in his own eyes, Prov. 3:7. But the kind of wisdom Solomon refers to here is the wisdom of philosophers, verse 13, and the wisdom of engineers, verse 14. Although useful at times, it is not to be compared with fearing God which is the beginning of the first kind of wisdom, Prov. 1:7.