I. Throughout this sixth chapter the Preacher is speaking of the lover of riches, not simply of the rich man; not against wealth, but against mistaking wealth for the chief good.—The man who trusts in riches is placed before us; and, that we may see him at his best, he has the riches in which he trusts. Unless some immortal provision be made for the immortal spirit, it will pine, and protest, and crave till all power of happily enjoying outward good be lost.
II. Look at your means and possessions.—Multiply them as you will, yet there are many reasons why, if you seek your chief good in them, they should prove vanity and breed vexation of spirit. (1) One is that beyond a certain point you cannot use or enjoy them. (2) Another reason is that it is hard, so hard as to be impossible, for you to know ‘what is good’ for you to have. That on which you had set your heart may prove to be an evil rather than a good when at last you get it. (3) A third reason is that the more you acquire, the more you must dispose of when you are called away from this life; and who can tell what shall be after him?
These are the Preacher’s arguments against love of riches.
‘This section contains firstly the negative of the illustration relative to the nature of true wisdom, which forms the contents of the third discourse, or a censure of the vain and perverse efforts of those who seek that wisdom in the way of external and earthly happiness. In two clearly marked sections or strophes of equal length, the author first shows that all worldly blessings are of no avail to him who is not able to enjoy them (Ecc_6:1-6), and then that this very incapability of enjoyment depends partly on the perception of the vanity of earthly things, and partly on the necessity, affecting all men, of depending on a totally dark and uncertain future, while dissatisfied with the present (Ecc_6:7-12).’