The Bible is both the inspired word of God for his people, whether in biblical times or for the church today, and a fully human book, written in a variety of cultural settings. The Apollos Old Testament Commentary aims to take with equal seriousness the divine and human aspects of Scripture. This volume by Daniel J. Estes and Daniel J. Estes expounds the books of Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs in a scholarly manner, and it shows the relevance of these important books to today’s readers. Edited by David W. Baker and Gordon J. Wenham, these commentaries are intended primarily to serve the needs of those who preach from the Old Testament, but is equally suitable for use by scholars and all serious students of the Bible.
“Gen. 2:23; Prov. 5:15–19; 18:22 and Prov. 31, not the degenerate Qoheleth described in 7:26. We notice two more nuances to Qoheleth’s instruction about a man’s relationship with his wife. It is clearly one’s life that is to be enjoyed with the spouse, not just the woman herself as an object of his enjoyment. She is to be a partner in life’s happiness, one without whom life cannot be full. Furthermore, that one woman (‘a woman’) is to be a partner and helper all of one’s days. The expectation is that this partnership is to be lifelong, not an episode or an experiment; it is to be dissolved only when death itself parts them.” (Page 210)
“But when the book is studied methodically by considering hebel to mean ‘temporary’, the reader will discover a book that speaks clearly to the effects of the Fall.” (Page 70)
“The question is natural because the curse was not. We were created for labour but not laborious labour, according to Genesis.” (Page 75)
“Qoheleth recounts many joys in his own life in addition to those he encourages his audience to enjoy. Eating and drinking are only metonyms for all other pleasures: music (2:8), the feminine form (2:8), food and drink (2:24; 9:7), laughing and dancing (3:4), embracing (3:5), love (3:8), doing good (3:12), rest (4:6; 5:12), wealth (5:19; 7:11–12), a good reputation (7:1), prosperity (7:13), wine (9:7), spouse (9:9), the light (11:7), youth (11:9–10) and, actually, for the wise who use discretion, everything one’s eyes and heart desire (2:10; 11:9–10) is to be a source of joy.” (Page 39)
“God’s providence has left perplexing questions, perhaps temporarily, perhaps eternally. Yet after all of his afflicted study of the world and all its matters, Qoheleth is able to utter the words of ultimate, comprehensive faith—God has made everything beautiful in its own time! This is the greatest statement of divine providence in the whole of Scripture. It is the theorem from which the believer’s hope is derived that all things work together for good for those who love God (Rom. 8:28).” (Page 124)