The Authorship of Ecclesiastes

Tradition unanimously ascribes Ecclesiastes to Solomon, but the evidence here is admittedly thin, so much so that even some evangelical writers are content to ascribe it to the period between 400-200 BC (that is, about 600-800 years after Solomon). But as usual we have found a diversity of opinion on key points, and here we are left at worst with uncertainty -- and may note as well that the NT at least does not say that Solomon authored this book.

So let's look at the factors cited in this discussion:

Beyond these matters, do we have positive evidence for Solomonic authorship? External evidence (tradition and other writers) are unanimous in a Solomonic ascription. Internally the book is credited to a son of David who is king in Jerusalem (1:1), who specializes in wisdom.

Whybray, though he dates it to the Ptolemaic period, sets the book as written at a time of "unexampled prosperity" and "intense economic development" [9-10] -- which fits the time of Solomon's brief expansion as well. Of course one may note that "authorship" in the ancient world did not always mean "I wrote it personally" -- various anomalies (such as the shift in persons) are easily attributable to the commonplace use of a scribe.

In conclusion: The evidence here is thin, but an attribution to Solomon seems as good as any.



  • Crenshaw, commentary on Ecclesiastes
  • Longman, commentary on Ecclesiastes
  • Murphy, commentary on Ecclesiastes
  • Seow, commentary on Ecclesiastes
  • Whybray, commentary on Ecclesiastes