I recently finished reading “A Table in the Mist” by Jeff Meyers, a commentary on the book of Ecclesiastes. The book is part of the “Through New Eyes” series. As I mention in my review on Goodreads (both linked and pasted below), I may write a more complete review in the future when I finish reading the book for a second time. Jeff Meyers pastors a PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) church in St. Louis, MO. He will be presenting a series of lectures on the book of Acts at Cornerstone Reformed Church in Carbondale IL, for our annual theological conference on March 22nd and 23rd. It should be really good.
Link to the Goodreads page:
This book is excellent. I finished it a few weeks ago. I have not written a full review because I am re-reading it with my wife, and I would like to digest the book a little further, then write a more detailed review.
In brief summary, the book presents a different account of Ecclesiastes then what I have typically heard. It starts with the interpretation of the Hebrew word “hebel” – often translated as “vanity” or “futility”. Jeff Meyers argues convincingly that the proper translation is “vapor” or “mist”. All of life is “vaporous”; it is NOT vain, meaningless, futile, etc. The message of the book is that we cannot CONTROL life or our circumstances, and we often cannot even understand it based on our perspective here “under the sun”. The book is about living by faith, while acknowledging that the “sight” we have of this life is often very confusing. Bad things happen to the righteous, good things happen to the wicked, and we are all alike trapped under the curse of death. We cannot gain leverage over our lives in such a way that gives us control, even by doing the right things and seeking wisdom. One of the great conclusions of the book is found in chapter 9, verses 7-9:
“Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works. Let your clothes be white all the time, and let not oil be lacking on your head. Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.”
Meyers ultimately argues that Solomon investigated for and wrote the book of Ecclesiastes during the period of his great wisdom, something Solomon himself attests to (12:9-10, among others). It was not written from the perspective of the non-believer, nor by Solomon in his later period of hardness and idol worship, but during the height of his wise ruling as “the Preacher” of Israel.