Who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes?

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The author

It is a general consensus of who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes is that of King Solomon. The phrase, “son of David, king in Jerusalem” (Ecclesiastes 1:1), is an evidence supporting Solomon as its author. It is also the undisputed opinion of all scholars that Solomon wrote Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon.

The date

Although the writer is identified, we can’t determine the exact date for the writing of Ecclesiastes. Modern scholars commonly believe that the author wrote the book in the 3rd century B.C. However, king Solomon died in the year 931/30 b.c. So, if we assume that he is the author, the date of writing would be before that time.

The order of the book of Ecclesiastes in the Hebrew canon can pinpoint the estimated date of the addition of the book into the canon. First, Ecclesiastes is added to the Megilloth, the five miscellaneous books—Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther. Second, Ecclesiastes is one of the last five books in the Hebrew canon—Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra–Nehemiah, and Chronicles.

In both cases, we find Ecclesiastes immediately preceding Esther. This may propose that these two books became part of the canon at around the same period. Also, it is likely that the author wrote the book centuries before compilers added it to the cannon.

Other works by the same author

There are differences in literary style in these books. The difference in the style of Ecclesiastes, as compared with that of Proverbs and the Song of Solomon, is due to various subject matter.  Also, it could be due to growth in Solomon’s later experience in life. Therefore, the Song of Solomon ascribed to the time of Solomon’s first love for God in his early youth. Whereas, Proverbs to a later period and Ecclesiastes to the close of his life (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

Solomon stands as the sole qualified person to write the book of Ecclesiastes simply because no other writer can match his wisdom. “And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs” (Ecc. 12:9).  Such an understanding makes the “Preacher” of Ecclesiastes none other but King Solomon.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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