Top  >  Literary Structures of the Bible  >  Ecclesiastes  >  Pericope

Literary structure (chiasm, chiasmus) of Ecclesiastes

Chiastic Structure and Concentric Structure and Parallel of each pericope

[1]  (Eccles 1:1-11)
P(1:1)1:1 The words of David's son, Qoheleth, king in Jerusalem:(1:1)
1:3 What profit has man from all the labor which he toils at under the sun?   
1:4 the world forever stays   
1:9 Nothing is new under the sun.    
"1:10 Even the thing of which we say, "See, this is new!" has already existed in the ages that preceded us. "   
   A: Under the sun. B: Forever.

[2]  (Eccles 1:12-18)
  A(1:12-14)  1:14 all is vanity and a chase after wind
    B(1:15)    1:15 What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is missing cannot be supplied. (1:15)
  A'(1:16-17)  1:17 this also is a chase after wind
    B'(1:18)    1:18 For in much wisdom there is much sorrow, and he who stores up knowledge stores up grief.(1:18)
   A: A chase after wind. B: Proverbs.

[3]  (Eccles 2:1-11)
  A(2:1-2)  2:1 behold, this too was vanity
    B(2:3-10)    Joy and toil
  A'(2:11)  2:11 behold! all was vanity and a chase after wind
   A: Vanity. B: Joy and toil.

[4]  (Eccles 2:12-26)
  A(2:12-16)  2:13 wisdom has the advantage over folly as much as light has the advantage over darkness.
    B(2:17-18)    2:18 I detested all the fruits of my labor under the sun, because I must leave them to a man who is to come after me.
      C(2:19)      2:19 who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool
    B'(2:20-21)    2:21 For here is a man who has labored with wisdom and knowledge and skill, and to another, who has not labored over it, he must leave his property.
  A'(2:22-26)  2:26 to the sinner he gives the task of gathering possessions to be given to whatever man God sees fit
   A: Good and evil. B: To leave for those who have not labored over it. C: A wise man or a fool.

[5]  (Eccles 3:1-15)
  A(3:1)  3:1 There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. (3:1)
3:9 What advantage has the worker from his toil?   
3:10 the task which God has appointed   
3:11 He has put the timeless into their hearts   
3:13 enjoy the fruit of all his labor   
  A'(3:14-15)  3:14 there is no adding to it, or taking from it
   A: To be appointed. B: Labors. C: To be given.

[6]  (Eccles 3:16-22)
  A(3:16-17)  3:17 both the just and the wicked God will judge
"3:19 Both have the same life-breath, and man has no advantage over the beast; but all is vanity"   
      C(3:20)      3:20 to the dust they both return
3:21 Who knows if the life-breath of the children of men goes upward and the life-breath of beasts goes earthward?   
  A'(3:22)  3:22 Who will let him see what is to come after him?
   A: Judgement. B: Human and animal. C: Dust.

[7]  (Eccles 4:1-6)
4:1 the hand of their oppressors   
4:2 I declared more fortunate in death   
4:3 better off than both is the yet unborn   
4:5 The fool folds his arms   
   A: Hands. B: Happiness.

[8]  (Eccles 4:7-14)
  A(4:7-8)  4:8 riches do not satisfy his greed
4:9 Two are better than one   
4:12 two together can resist   
  A'(4:13-14)  4:13 a poor but wise youth
   A: Rich and poor. B:

[9]  (Eccles 4:15-5:11)
4:16 This also is vanity   
    B(4:17-5:1)    4:17 they know not how to keep from doing evil
5:2 For nightmares come with many cares   
        D(5:3-5)        5:3 When you make a vow to God, delay not its fulfillment
5:6 With many dreams come vanities and a multitude of words   
    B'(5:7-8)    5:7 violation of rights and justice in the realm
5:9 so this too is vanity   
   A: Vanity. B: Evils. C: Dreams. D: A vow to God.

[10]  (Eccles 5:12-19)
5:12 riches kept by their owner to his hurt   
5:16 all their days they eat in darkness   
5:17 true happiness lies in eating and drinking   
5:18 Any man to whom God gives riches and property   
   A: Days of life. B: God gives.

[11]  (Eccles 6:1-12)
  A(6:1-2)  6:2 This is vanity and a dire plague
    B(6:3-5)    6:4 its name is enveloped in darkness
6:6 who would never have known the good things of life   
  A'(6:7-9)  6:9 This also is vanity and a chase after wind
"6:10 Whatever is, was long ago given its name"   
      C'(6:12)      6:12 For who knows what is good for a man in life
   A: Vanity. B: Names. C: The good things of life.

[12]  (Eccles 7:1-29)
7:1 the day of death than the day of birth.(7:1)   
    B(7:4-10)    7:5 It is better to hearken to the wise man's rebuke than to hearken to the song of fools
7:14 God has made the one as well as the other   
7:17 why should you die before your time?   
    B'(7:19-22)    7:19 Wisdom gives strength to the wise
7:29 God made human beings straightforward   
   A: Death. B:A wise man. C: God made.

[13]  (Eccles 8:1-17)
  A(8:1-8)  8:7 he is ignorant of what is to come
    B(8:9-11)    The wicked is not punished
      C(8:11-13)      8:13 he shall not prolong his shadowy days, for his lack of reverence toward God
    B'(8:14-15)    The wicked is not punished
  A'(8:16-17)  8:17 man is unable to find out all God's work
   A: Ignorance. B: The wicked is not punished. C: Reverence.

[14]  (Eccles 9:1-12)
  A(9:1)  9:1 Love from hatred man cannot tell
    B(9:2-3)    9:3 things turn out the same for all
  A'(9:4-10)  9:6 love and hatred and rivalry have long since perished
    B'(9:11-12)    9:11 a time of calamity comes to all alike
   A:Llove and hatred. B: Alike.

[15]  (Eccles 9:13-10:20)
  A(9:13-16)  9:13 under the sun
    B(9:17-10:3)    A wise and a fool
      C(10:4)      10:4 Should the anger of the ruler burst upon you
  A'(10:5-7)  10:5 under the sun
    B'(10:8-15)    A wise and a fool
      C'(10:16-20)      10:16 O land, whose king was a servant, and whose princes dine in the morning
   A: Under the sunl. B: A wise man and a fool. C: Authority.

[16]  (Eccles 11:1-12:7)
11:5 Just as you know not how the breath of life fashions the human frame in the mother's womb    
11:8 All that is to come is vanity   
11:10 the dawn of youth is fleeting   
12:7 the life breath returns to God who gave it   
   A: Breath. B: Vanity.

[17]  (Eccles 12:8-14)
12:8 all things are vanity   
    B(12:9-11)    12:10 to write down true sayings with precision
    B'(12:12)    12:12 Of the making of many books there is no end
12:13 for this is man's all   
   A: To write down. B: All.

Citations of the Bible are from New American Bible, New Revised Standard Version and New Jerusalem Bible.

Creative Commons License
Literary Structure of the Bible by Hajime Murai is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Caution: The copyright of the cited Bible verses belongs to each translator and publisher.