Leupold writes the following in explanation of the purpose of the book of Ecclesiastes. I thought what he said was helpful and true as a necessary reminder for all Christians, as well as for its bearing on understanding Ecclesiastes. Italics are his, bolding is mine. I hope you enjoy it. "In determining what purpose this book is to serve we should emphasize particularly the following facts. The book is written primarily for the godly in Israel. They are the only ones, as usual, who would give attention to a book such as this Since the times are evil and the godly suffer much, this is primarily a book of comfort. It shows God's people how to meet their difficult problems. [i:8363ab3c20]Cox[/i:8363ab3c20] is right in claiming that this is 'one of the most consolatory and inspiriting Scriptures.' It is for this reason that the second half of the book gives counsel and comfort for evil days exclusively. Many of the efforts to expound this book suffer from the defect of not having discovered this basic truth about the book. "The way is prepared for such comfort by the first part of the book, which beautifully illustrates the second major purpose of the book. By teaching with tremendous emphasis the vanity of all earthly things the author first disillusions his hearers. [b:8363ab3c20]For men will have at least some expectation of the comfort and solace that are to be derived from the possession of earthly goods. As long as they are thus minded they are preparing the way for added sorrows[/b:8363ab3c20]. Especially in evil times men should stake no hope on earthly goods and treasures. The best service that can be rendered a man is to divorce him from the things of this world as completely as possible. We call that disillusionment. The author aims to achieve such an end as thoroughly as possible. [b:8363ab3c20]Men who know the vanity of all things are well prepared for the trials of depressing times[/b:8363ab3c20]. "In addition to these two major purposes of the book, which run parallel with the two halves of this book, [b:8363ab3c20]there is a subsidiary purpose, we believe, which takes account of the danger which godly men run of falling into the sins of a certain age[/b:8363ab3c20]. This is the purpose of [i:8363ab3c20]warning[/i:8363ab3c20]. Certain sins are the besetting sins of an age. The ungodly may not be persuaded to break with them. [b:8363ab3c20]The godly will heed instruction. Therefore, we have the author's warnings against formalism, discontent, attempting to solve what lies beyond our ken, looking with longing at what is thought to have been a desirable past, and the like[/b:8363ab3c20]." The last paragraph raises two interesting questions. 1.) What are the besetting sins of our age? 2.) How well have we (Reformed Christians individually, and as churches) avoided them?