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Most, though not all, modern commentators regard the epilogue (12:9–14) as an addition by a later scribe.

Some have identified certain other statements as further additions intended to make the book more religiously orthodox (e.g., the affirmations of God's justice and the need for piety). As king he has experienced everything and done everything, but nothing is ultimately reliable. The only good is to partake of life in the present, for enjoyment is from the hand of God.

Notably, he avoids traditional religious moralizing. Indeed, whenever the diety is mentioned, it is usually as a personification of fate, and never does Kohelet imagine any sort of afterlife.

He ends the book with a poignant poem about old age and death, though a later scribe added an afterword of sorts with the injunction "Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone" ().

Kohelet reflects on the limits of human power: all people face death, and death is better than life, but we should enjoy life when we can.

The world is full of risk: he gives advice on living with risk, both political and economic.

Wisdom was a popular genre in the ancient world, where it was cultivated in scribal circles and directed towards young men who would take up careers in high officialdom and royal courts; there is strong evidence that some of these books, or at least sayings and teachings, were translated into Hebrew and influenced the Book of Proverbs, and the author of Ecclesiastes was probably familiar with examples from Egypt and Mesopotamia.

He may also have been influenced by Greek philosophy, specifically the schools of Stoicism, which held that all things are fated, and Epicureanism, which held that happiness was best pursued through the quiet cultivation of life's simpler pleasures.

Ecclesiastes in turn influenced the deuterocanonical works, Wisdom of Solomon and Sirach, both of which contain vocal rejections of the Ecclesiastical philosophy of futility.God and humans do not belong in the same realm and it is therefore necessary to have a right attitude before God.People should enjoy, but should not be greedy; no-one knows what is good for humanity; righteousness and wisdom escape us.He proclaims all the actions of humanity to be inherently hevel, meaning "vain" or "futile" (literally, "mere breath"); he declares that all effort expended is as pointless as "herding wind." Kohelet sometimes seems to endorse wisdom as a means for a well-lived life (though at one point he says that more knowledge leads to more misery) and sometimes he seems to conclude that it doesn't matter in the end anyway: everyone, the wise and the foolish, the good and the bad, all die and are forgotten equally.In light of this, Kohelet advocates enjoying our short and meaningless lives while (and if) we still can: eating, drinking, having marital sex, doing one's work well.

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