"If it needs a man who has suffered to write a commentary on Job . . . . Perhaps the only person entitled to comment on Ecclesiastes is a cynic who has revolted from the world in disillusionment and disgust." "If so," writes Michael Eaton, "I qualify."
Scholars have long wrestled with the gloomy pessimism and striking omission of any mention of Yahweh in this portion of the Wisdom literature. After setting forth the issues related to the text, authorship, date and canonicity, Eaton assesses the purpose and structure of the book. He then provides a passage-by-passage analysis that attempts to account for the oddities of the text and to show its contemporary relevance.
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Get the full commentary set: Tyndale Commentaries (49 vols.).
“The thrust of the passage is that man is offered a life that is joyful but not self-sufficient.” (Page 94)
“The possibility is held out of wealth combined with power” (Page 119)
“Why these omissions? The answer seems to be that the Preacher’s argument stands on its own feet and does not depend on Israel’s covenant faith to be valid. He is appealing to universally observable facts, not restricted to Old Testament revelation.” (Page 53)
“The hypothesis (and it can be no more than that), which accounts for these phenomena, is that an editor is presenting in his own words and style the teaching of a revered wise man. The revered teacher is ‘the Preacher’ (Heb. Qōhelet); the editor-author presenting Qoheleth’s wisdom is an unnamed and unknown admirer or disciple working at a date and location that cannot be precisely determined. Thus one style pervades the book; but two people, Qoheleth the originator of the material and an unnamed author-editor, lay behind it.” (Page 26)
“The right life walks the path between two extremes, shunning self-righteousness, but not allowing one’s native wickedness to run its own course.” (Page 130)
Michael Eaton holds degrees from the University of London, the University of Zambia, and the University of South Africa. In addition to this volume on Hosea, he published numerous books on the theology of Martyn Lloyd-Jones.