In Ecclesiastes, What Does the Word "Vanity" Mean?
Meaning of Vanity from Ecclesiastes
The following is a transcript of the video below:
The vanity of vanity is everything is vanity, so even the book is vain, and even the scripture that it's in his vein. I think what the author is after, and what I love is some of the ways that that particular word can be translated. I love that that particular word that we translate vanity can also be translated vapor, or it can be translated breath or wind.
I love the fact that it gives us these images because what the author is trying to communicate is that all of these things of wealth and wisdom, or knowledge and joy, or experience, all these things that we tend to pursue, thinking that if I can just get this, then life will be worth it if I can just get this if I can get all these possessions, or get all this money, or attain all this wisdom, then it'll all make sense, then it'll all be worth it.
He says they're all just like chasing the wind. I mean, they're all empty. As a dad with little kids, I tend to think of it like watching my kids blowing bubbles outside. Those bubbles that they put the wand in and they blow them, and then they just run like mad to catch them. They get one on their finger and it's the height of joy, and before they know it, it's gone.
What the writer of Ecclesiastes is saying is that those of us as adults chasing all of these things, thinking that if we could just get them, if I just had this, then it would all be okay. He said it's like my four-year-old chasing that bubble, thinking that if he can just get it, he can hold onto it forever, and as soon as he gets it, it's gone and he's left to chase another one.
So I think what the writer is saying is that it's not worth it, but having these things can never provide the things that they promise, or what we hope to get out of them. I think that's what he's after when he's saying it.