Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg, Commentary on Ecclesiastes:
Therefore, if God does not give us joy and pleasure, but we seek to contrive and create them for ourselves, nothing comes of it ; and on the contrary, as Solomon says, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. We can do nothing better then than willingly to accept and put up with that which God does to us and for us, and to accustom our heart to be satisfied and contented with that which God each moment sends us, be it good or evil, sorrow or joy. If a wife is given thee, regard it as a gift of God, thank Him, and be cheerful and contented. But if thou settest thyself to go beyond this, and to add thereto thy human devices, thinking to secure only gratifications and joys, honeymoons, and merry- makings, thou wilt make for thyself sadness and sorrow of heart. For this reason, should we accustom ourselves to resting satisfied with what God does and gives, with what He wills and intends, and not with what we will and intend. Solomon’s intention, then, is not to induce all the world to turn hermits and monks, to cast away all joy, mirth, pastime, all rest, comfort, amusement : what he means to say is, that thoughts and proposals are nothing when we think by their help to make to ourselves rest and peace, recreation and good courage. The truest joy and merriment is that which we do not expressly seek ….