“A proper perspective on any book demands that we first come to terms with the author’s intention…. There are three places to which we can go to obtain that information. We can read the preface or introduction to a book; we can flip quickly to the concluding chapter…; or we can skim the contents of the work for any repeated refrains.” –Walter Kaiser, Jr., in Ecclesiastes: Total Life

Getting the Big Picture by Means of the Above Method:

Ecclesiastes is frequently “summed up in such negative terms as…pessimistic, fatalistic, skeptical, cynical…and the like. But certainly those negative estimates reflect a superficial reading, for if the book is a unit, it also expresses an impressive list of positive ethical and spiritual injunctions.

“For instance, there are those repeated exhortations to (1) ‘fear God’ [7 times]; (2) receive all the ‘good’ things of life as a gift from God [4 times]; (3) reflect on the fact that God will judge the righteous and the wicked [5 times]; and (4) remember that God presently reviews the quality of every man’s life-style [7 times].” Also the “Hebrew rootword meaning ‘joy, gladness, pleasure,’ along with the verb meaning ‘to be glad,’ appears 17 times in Ecclesiastes.” –Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. in Ecclesiastes: Total Life