With disillusionment and despair casting ever-enlarging shadows across his path, the writer of this journal began to intensify his reactions. Intellectualism didn’t satisfy. Pleasures finally fell flat, landing with a dull thud. Laughter failed to lighten life’s load. Possessions, projects, parks, livestock, collections of precious gems, slaves, singers, and even sex did nothing to remove the monotony of existence.
As life continued to cave in all around Solomon, he pondered the possibility of things changing in the next generation. “Maybe the answer lies in those who come after me,” he mused. But, as we shall see, not even that gave him any hope. The result? Twice he said it: “I hated life.… I hated all the fruit of my labor” (Ecclesiastes 2:17–18). Doesn’t anything work? Isn’t there any pursuit that will truly satisfy?
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