The author presents as "Qohelet" son of David, king of Israel in Jerusalem (1:1, 12, 16, 2:7, 9), without naming them. The end of the book he also attributes the writing of proverbs. It is traditionally identified with Solomon, which is disputed by Voltaire and modern exegetes after him, which date the work of the third century BC. BC, during the Hellenistic period when the Hebrews were influenced by various philosophical systems as Greek Epicureanism and Stoicism.
The book consists of personal or autobiographical reflections, widely expressed in maxims and aphorisms, terse paragraphs in evoking the meaning of life and how to carry it out. He emphatically proclaims the "futility" and the futility of all human action, wise and foolish knowing the common lot of death.
The stated objective of Qoheleth is to discover how to take advantage of life, a goal consistent with the general guidelines of Literature sapiential. For Qoheleth, however, any possible benefit of life is annihilated by the inevitability of death. As such, the Qoheleth concludes that life (and everything) is senseless. In light of this conclusion, Qoheleth advises his audience to make the most of life, to seize the day now, because there is no way to ensure a positive future. Although the latter conclusion has sometimes been compared to Epicureanism, it is presented to Qoheleth as the inevitable result of its failure to give meaning to existence.
This conclusion is reflected in the chorus that opens at the same time it closes the words of Qoeleth:
"Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities, all is vanity."
The word translated vanity הבל (Hevel), literally means vapor, mist, breath, light breath. It should be noted that the same word for one of the leading characters of Genesis and that tradition has resulted in Abel. Qoheleth uses it metaphorically and its precise meaning is extensively debated. Note that in French, in its current usage, the word vanity today tends to approach the notion of pride and often refers to the character of a person showing self-satisfaction and delights to express openly his love of sound. This is not the direction that should be retained in Ecclesiastes, where the word vanity is used in its older and more literary "what is vain", that is to say futile, illusory vacuum, little impact, even without any reality.
Finally, the author of Ecclesiastes comes to this conclusion in the penultimate line of the last chapter:
Let us hear the end of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments. This is what every man should be.
Some argue that this verse is an addition to the original manuscript because it contrasts with all previous statements. Others argue that in fact the full message by saying that nothing is more important than the work of God.