"Young Man holding a Skull", c 1626, by Frans Hals.
Ecclesiastes 1:1-3 - Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
3 What does man gain by all the toil
at which he toils under the sun?
There exists a style of painting, made popular during the 17th century, called Vanitas. The Vanitas style explores, in visual statements, the vanity of life.
Here we see a young boy holding a skull. We live, we die, and for what, the painting asks.
In Ecclesiastes, the word vanity is actually translated in the Hebrew as vapor. Our lives are but a vapor. Think about it, how well do you know your great-great-grandfather? In three generations, most of us will have disappeared as though we never existed.
So...what is this about?
Solomon is widely held as the wisest man that ever lived, and the richest man that ever lived. Tell me, if you could read the life journal of such a man, would you read it?
Ecclesiastes is just that! Ecclesiastes is King Solomon's personal journal. Here King Solomon looks at, and answers the question of all questions: why are we here!'
His answer will surprise some.