Encountering the Old Testament, 3rd Edition

A Christian Survey

series: Encountering Biblical Studies


23. Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs: Israelite Faith in Everyday Life

Chapter Intro Video

Chapter Objectives

  • State and discuss the themes of Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs
  • Outline the basic content of the book of Ecclesiastes
  • Relate the key issues surrounding the authorship of Ecclesiastes
  • Outline the basic content of the Song of Songs
  • Find ancient Near Eastern metaphors in Song of Songs

Chapter Summary

  1. The central idea in Ecclesiastes is that the only hope of surviving the trials of this life is to fear and obey God.
  2. The term “ecclesiastes” may mean leader or speaker of an assembly, preacher, or teacher.
  3. The author of the book of Ecclesiastes is anonymous.
  4. The Song of Songs means that this is the best of all songs.
  5. Song of Songs is a song about the sexual love of a husband and wife.
  6. Ancient Near Eastern metaphors like “your hair is descending like a flock of goats” abound in the Song of Songs.

Study Questions


  1. What type of outlook on life does ¬Ecclesiastes reflect?
  2. How did the book get the name Ecclesiastes? What other names does the book have?
  3. What is the purpose of the author in writing this book?
  4. How is this purpose accomplished?
  5. According to the author, what is the whole duty of humanity? What practical meaning does this have?
  6. Discuss the date and authorship issues of the book of Ecclesiastes. What is the only sure conclusion concerning authorship?
  7. What theological themes are found in the book?

Song of Songs

  1. What is the meaning of the title “Song of Songs”?
  2. With what subject does Song of Songs deal?
  3. What is the book’s intended message?
  4. What is the overall structure of Song of Songs?
  5. Discuss the authorship issues of the book.
  6. What does Song of Songs teach about love, sex, and marriage?