“…Koheleth writes his book in old age, recapitulating the stages of his spiritual history in the process…”
…Koheleth writes his book in old age, recapitulating the stages of his spiritual history in the process. As he contemplates his past career, he has no personal complaint to make; on the whole, life has been good to him. He has been spared the degradation of poverty and the terror of insecurity, nor has he ever had to taste the bitterness of personal tragedy. His charm, insight and skill have doubtless made him a successful teacher in the Wisdom academies and brought him tangible as well as intangible rewards. The competence he has acquired now makes it possible for him to enjoy the amenities of life – a fine house in Jerusalem, a sense of independence, and the blessing of unqorried leisure. Thus, he sits in the sunset hours of his life, a tiny island of ease and contemplation within the whirling currents of life in the capital city.
His is a comfortable old age, but there is a quiet loneliness about it. He has no wife to share either the simple happenings of ordinary existence or the rare moments of deeper experience. His home has never reëchoed with the voices of children at play. He has never been stirred to ecstasy by their laughter or driven to distraction by their tears.
Robert Gordis, Koheleth – The Man and His World: A Study of Ecclesiastes, 3rd ed. (Shocken Books: New York, 1968), 84.