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Comparison of Solomon’s Work with Eden (the formatting came out strange):

Ecclesiastes 2:1 (ESV)

1 I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.”

But behold, this also was vanity.

Genesis 4:2 (ESV)

2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground.

Ecclesiastes 2:2 (ESV)

2 I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?”

Ecclesiastes 2:3 (ESV)

3 I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life.

First wine: Genesis 9:21

Ecclesiastes 2:4 (ESV)

4 I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself.

Genesis 2:8 (ESV)

8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.

First “house”: in the ark: Gen. 6:14

First vineyard: Gen. 9:20

Ecclesiastes 2:5 (ESV)

5 I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees.

Genesis 2:8 (ESV)

8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Genesis 2:9 (ESV)

9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Ecclesiastes 2:6 (ESV)

6 I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees.

Genesis 2:10 (ESV)

10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers.

Ecclesiastes 2:7 (ESV)

7 I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks [sheep], more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem.

Genesis 2:18 (ESV)

18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

Genesis 4:2 (ESV)

2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep [flocks], and Cain a worker of the ground.

Ecclesiastes 2:8 (ESV)

8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure[1] of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women,

Genesis 2:11–12 (ESV)

11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there.

and many concubines, the delight of the sons of man.

Genesis 2:22 (ESV)

22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.

Ecclesiastes 2:9 (ESV)

9 So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me.

Ecclesiastes 2:10 (ESV)

10 And whatever my eyes desired [they asked] I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward [portion/inheritance] for all my toil.

Genesis 3:6 (ESV)

6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Ecclesiastes 2:11 (ESV)

11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving[2] after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.


His ordered gardens may have been relaxing, but even then they were a visual metaphor in the ancient world for the control a king had over his entire kingdom. Furthermore, with terminology reminiscent of the Garden of Eden, Qoheleth describes his achievements as those of one who took seriously God’s primary commission of earth’s management (Gen. 1:26-28). As Verheij notes, common words to both the End account and Eccelsiastes 2:4-6 include ‘plant’, ‘garden’, ‘trees of all fruits’, ‘to water’, ‘to sprout’, ‘to make or do.’ Just as the Edenic passage is the first manifestation of human sovereignty over and earthly domain, Solomon’s activities are a description of an aggressive management of an economic and political enterprise. Another Solomonic tradition, 1 Kings 4:33 at those the Genesis account of humanity’s primary commission where, in addition to being extolled specifically for his botanical knowledge, it is said, “he spoke of trees, a cattle, a fowl, of creepers and fish”, all in Hebrew terminology that in Genesis 1:26, 29. Furthermore, id., as a garden, was not a place for idle pleasure; it was a place of work and responsibility, even before the Fall (Fredricks, Ecclesiastes, 93).

[1] סְגֻלָּה (seḡǔl∙lā(h)): n.fem.; ≡ Str 5459; TWOT 1460a—1. LN 57.1–57.21 treasured possession, i.e., valued personal property, what is owned by someone, which the owner has special affection or holds special value (Ex 19:5; Dt 7:6; 14:2; 26:18; Ps 135:4; Mal 3:17+); 2. LN 57.25–57.35 personal wealth, i.e., a personal accumulation of values, as contrasted with a governmental treasury (1Ch 29:3; Ecc 2:8+) James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament), electronic ed. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

[2] רעה: see II רֵעַ for the connection of this verb with that sbst., see also MHeb. vb. ריע hif., and Akk. râʾu; according to KBL basic meaning to have to do with one another; similarly J. Fichtner Gottes Weisheit 89: to associate with each other, keep company with one another. Ludwig Koehler, Walter Baumgartner, M.E.J Richardson and Johann Jakob Stamm, The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, electronic ed. (Leiden; New York: E.J. Brill, 1999), 1262.