Ecclesiastes 1:2 (ESV)

2 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.

The Preacher, seeking to convey wisdom to the people of Israel, starts with his teaching. He exclaims: “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” He will continue to repeat this theme throughout the book. The author seems like a pessimist. It seems Solomon is here conveying the perspective held by many people throughout history, including many in our own time. We need to read the whole of the book as a unity to see that the Preacher is not a pessimist. For his view on life, we should especially contemplate the end of his book.