Ecclesiastes has fascinated everyone for millennia. Christians who think God demands happiness at all times often misinterpret it as a warning against dark thoughts, while pagans find in it confirmation of nihilism. Jeffrey Meyers shows how both are wrong, and reveals the book's true message—that life can be bleak, that suffering exists, but that God has given us good things to enjoy, and that part of our duty as believers is to enjoy them and not wallow in sadness and depression.
This doesn't mean we wear rose-colored glasses and ignore the facts. Far from it—the world is full of evil, and there's not always a point. Meyers reminds us that true wisdom is not the ability to understand why things happen, but by our ability to recognize and accept our inability to understand the world and its events and submit ourselves to God's will. Once we understand that, Ecclesiastes stops looking so bleak and simply looks like an accurate reflection of the way things are.
Using James Jordan's Bible study methods (pioneered in Through New Eyes), Meyers looks at Ecclesiastes from a literary perspective, looking for patterns and symbolism, analyzing structures, and identifying meaning rather than proof-texting. This isn't an academic approach: A Table in the Mist is intelligent and well-reasoned, but primarily concerned with believers' practical understanding of the text. Meyers deals with passages in context rather than going verse-by-verse.
Beginning with a brief examination of wisdom literature, Meyers then launches into an accessible examination of Ecclesiastes that doesn't scrub clean Solomon's realism for Christians. He also shows how the book's positive message—that God gave us good things to be enjoyed—is often just as shocking to those whose Gospel is tamed by a kind of "decency." Earthy, readable and biblical, A Table in the Mist is (ironically) one of the most encouraging and peaceful books you'll read.