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  • Nick McDonald

Of Life Itself.



If we are going to be taught how to live, we will require a resume. Qoheleth knows this, which is why he presents his mask - the Qoheleth - but quickly lifts it, and winks: “the son of David, king in Jerusalem.”


Now it’s true that “son”, in biblical language, can span the generations. Christ himself was called “the son of David.” But in chapter 2, Qoheleth logs some of his accomplishments: “I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards…I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house…I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me.” Palaces, vineyards, slaves: these are all prominent pictures in the life of Solomon. But most telling of all is the “greater by far” language. “I will give you a wise and discerning heart,” says God to Solomon, “so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be” (1 Kings 3:12, italics mine).


The Qoheleth is unsubtle: he knows something of living. His political savvy, social networks and wealth are renowned. Now he has created a seminar for the Everyman, covering it all: wealth, sexuality, friendships, justice, time, philosophy and death. But Qoheleth’s chief concern, beyond the external trappings, is life itself.


What does it mean to really, truly live life to the full?

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