The JPS Bible Commentary: Ecclesiastes

About the Book

The Jewish Publication Society’s highly acclaimed Bible Commentary series provides a line-by-line commentary of the original Hebrew Bible text, complete with vocalization and cantillation marks, alongside the JPS English translation.

The Book of Ecclesiastes is part of the “wisdom literature” of the Bible. It concerns itself with universal philosophical questions, rather than events in the history of Israel and in the Hebrews’ covenant with God.

Koheleth, the speaker in this book, ruminates on what—if anything—has lasting value, and how—if at all—God interacts with humankind. Koheleth expresses bewilderment and frustration at life’s absurdities and injustices. He grapples with the inequities that pervade the world and the frailty and limitations of human wisdom and righteousness. His awareness of these discomfiting facts coexists with a firm belief in God’s rule and God’s fundamental justice, and he looks for ways to define a meaningful life in a world where so much is senseless.

Ecclesiastes is traditionally read on the Jewish holiday Sukkot, the harvest festival.


The JPS Ecclesiastes/Koheleth is a thorough, sensitive and engaging study with much to recommend it.

—Canadian Jewish News

This is an insightful and accessible commentary that reflects many years of deep engagement with the text.

—Journal of Hebrew Scriptures

This volume is a profitable resource for both scholars and pastors. Pastors will appreciate its brevity and clarity, and scholars will respect its depth and thoughtfulness.

—Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Michael V. Fox, PhD

Michael V. Fox received his rabbinical ordination from Hebrew Union College. He received a PhD in Bible, Semitics, and Egyptology from the Hebrew University. He is currently Halls-Bascom Professor of Hebrew at the University of Wisconsin.