v. 1-11 "I thought in my heart, 'Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.' But that also proved to be meaningless. 'Laughter,' I said, 'is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?' I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly-my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives. I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well-the delights of the heart of man. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun."
Solomon thought that he could test himself and be ok. That is dangerous ground to be walking on. We think that we can get away with things or that we won't get addicted to something. Then after a long time of suffering and after digging our way out, we can see the dangerous cliff we were on and how helpless we were. He tried to cheer himself up with wine. Alcohol in moderation is ok, but when people dive in to addiction it will never fill the emptiness. He was saying that he still had wisdom even though what he was doing was not wise. Many people do things, me included, that are dumb even though we know better.
Solomon had the means to spend great amounts of money so he built many houses, gardens, parks and reservoirs; he had a great many slaves, herds, a vast treasure, singers and a harem. This man had what many would have thought to be all anyone could ask for, yet he said it all was meaningless. Solomon did many great things, but because he did them for the wrong reasons, they were hollow inside. This book is a warning that we should not put God out of the way because if that is the case then we will not prosper. What are the reasons behind your goals? Do you want to do good in this world or just get ahead? Let us all think of what is at the core of the things we do.