12 Chapters, 222 verses, 5,584 words.
No time period or writer's name is mentioned in the book, but several passages strongly suggest that King Solomon is the author (1:1, 12, 16; 2:4-9; 7:26-29; 12:9; cf. 1Ki 2:9; 3:12; 4:29-34; 5:12; 10:1-8). On the other hand, the writer's title ("Teacher," Hebrew qoheleth; see note on 1:1), his unique style of Hebrew and his attitude toward rulers (suggesting that of a subject rather than a monarch--see, e.g., 4:1-2; 5:8-9; 8:2-4; 10:20) may point to another person and a later period.
With his life largely behind him, the author takes stock of the world as he has experienced it between the horizons of birth and death--the latter a horizon beyond which man cannot see. The world is seen as being full of enigmas, the greatest of which is man himself.
From the perspective of his own understanding, the Teacher takes measure of man, examining his capabilities. He discovers that human wisdom, even that of a godly person, has limits (1:13, 16-18; 7:24; 8:16-17). It cannot find out the larger purposes of God or the ultimate meaning of man's existence.
As the author looks about at the human enterprise, he sees man in mad pursuit of one thing and then another--laboring as if he could master the world, lay bare its secrets, change its fundamental structures, break through the bounds of human limitations and master his own destiny. He sees man vainly pursuing hopes and expectations that in reality are "meaningless, a chasing after the wind" (1:14; 2:11, 17, 26; 4:4, 16; 6:9; cf. 1:17; 4:6).
But faith teaches him that God has ordered all things according to his own purposes (3:1-15; 5:19; 6:1-2; 9:1) and that man's role is to accept these, including his own limitations, as God's appointments. Man, therefore, should be patient and enjoy life as God gives it. He should know his own limitations and not vex himself with unrealistic expectations. He should be prudent in everything, living carefully before God and the king and, above all, fearing God and keeping his commandments (12:13).
Life not centered on God is purposeless and meaningless. Without him, nothing else can satisfy (2:25). With him, all of life and his other good gifts are to be gratefully received (see Jas 1:17) and used and enjoyed to the full (2:26; 11:8). The book contains the philosophical and theological reflections of an old man (12:1-7), most of whose life was meaningless because he had not himself relied on God.