Ecclesiastes 4–5: What Brings Happiness?

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 136–137


Is there a way of life that makes people happy even when they do not believe or accept truths about God, His commandments, and eternal life? Even though the preacher saw so much “vanity” in the world, in Ecclesiastes 4–5 he admitted that there were still things worth doing that lead to greater happiness in a world that didn’t make much sense to him otherwise (without an understanding of God’s plan).

Understanding the Scriptures

Ecclesiastes 4

Oppressions (v. 1)Bad things that happen to people 
Travail (vv. 4, 6, 8)Business, work 
Envied of his neighbor (v. 4)His neighbor is jealous of him 
Prevail (v. 12)Overpower 
Admonished (v. 13)Taught and corrected 

Ecclesiastes 5

Be not rash with thy mouth (v. 2)Do not speak harshly. 
Hasty (v. 2)Quick 
Multitude of business (v. 3)Jobs or tasks 
Vow (vv. 4–5)Promise 
Divers (v. 7)Many 
Violent perverting (v. 8)Terrible twisting or changing 
Marvel not (v. 8)Do not be surprised. 
Regardeth (v. 8)Sees it 
Profit (v. 9)Riches 
Abundance (vv. 10, 12)A great number 
Saving (v. 11)Except 
Travail (v. 14)Work 
Comely (v. 18)Right 
Portion (vv. 18–19)Reward or gain 

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study Ecclesiastes 4–5.

Activity A iconFind Some Good Advice

Ecclesiastes mentioned several deeds that still make sense to do even if “all is vanity.” Write about two things you read about in Ecclesiastes 4–5 that would be good advice even to someone who does not believe in God. Explain the advice as if you were giving it to a person who does not believe in God.