Shelf Life Book Review: The Words of the Wise Are Like Goads

Miles Custis

The Words of the Wise Are Like Goads: Engaging Qohelet in the 21st Century
Eisenbrauns, 2013


In this resource, Mark J. Boda, Tremper Longman III and Christian G. Rata present essays on Ecclesiastes in five categories. The first set of essays discusses how Ecclesiastes was understood throughout history by early interpreters, rabbis, Reformers and Puritans. Essays in the second section relate to the history, form, and rhetoric of Ecclesiastes, while part three examines specific passages—such as the epilogue or Ecclesiastes 7:23–8:1—or key concepts, like the use of Hebrew words throughout the book. The fourth section deals with technical examinations of the language and grammar of Ecclesiastes, and the final section discusses practical issues of interpretation.

It is the final section that sets the volume apart from other collections of essays. “The Theology of Ecclesiastes,” by Craig Bartholomew, examines the key messages of the book in light of the biblical canon. Pastors and teachers will find Daniel Fredericks’ essay, “Preaching Qohelet,” especially relevant. Fredericks provides sermon outlines and suggests useful themes—like humanity’s limitations and God’s sovereignty—that pastors or teachers can develop and share with their congregations.

Article courtesy of Bible Study Magazine published by Faithlife Corporation. Originally published in print, Vol. 6 No. 2