Rashi on Ecclesiastes
1:1א׳:א׳
1 א

דִּבְרֵי קֹהֶלֶת. כָּל־מָקוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "דִּבְרֵי" אֵינוֹ אֶלָּא דִבְרֵי תוֹכֵחוֹת. "אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר משֶׁה", "וַיִּשְׁמַן יְשֻׁרוּן". "דִּבְרֵי עָמוֹס", "שִׁמְעוּ הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה פָּרוֹת הַבָּשָׁן". "דִּבְרֵי יִרְמְיָהוּ", "שַׁאֲלוּ־נָא וּרְאוּ אִם־יֹלֵד זָכָר וְגוֹ'". "אֵלֶּה דִּבְרֵי דָוִד", "וּבְלִיַּעַל כְּקוֹץ מֻנָד כֻּלָּהַם". "דִּבְרֵי קֹהֶלֶת", "וְזָרַח הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ . . . כָּל־הַנְּחָלִים הוֹלְכִים אֶל־הַיָּם". כִּנָּה אֶת־הָרְשָׁעִים בְּחַמָּה וּלְבָנָה וְיָם, שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם מַתְּנַת שָׂכָר. כַּךְ שְׁנוּיָה בְסִפְרֵי. וְלָמַדְתִּי מִשָּׁם שֶׁהָעִנְיָן מְדַבֵּר בָּרְשָׁעִים, וְהִמְשִׁילָם לְתִגְבֹּרֶת הַחַמָּה, שֶׁסּוֹפָהּ שׁוֹקַעַת. תּוֹסֶפֶת: דָּבָר אַחֵר: "כָּל־הַנְּחָלִים הוֹלְכִים אֶל־הַיָּם". מַה תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר? בְּעוֹבְדֵי עֲבוֹדַת אֱלִילִים נֶאֱמַר: שׁוֹטִים הַמִּשְׁתַּחֲוִים לַמַּיִם, סְבוּרִים שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶם מַמָּשׁ לְפִי שֶׁרוֹאִין אֶת־הַיָּם הַגָּדוֹל, שֶׁכָּל־הַנְּחָלִים הוֹלְכִים בּוֹ, וְהוּא אֵינוֹ מָלֵא, וְאֵינָן יוֹדְעִין לְהָבִין כִּי אֶל הַמָּקוֹם שֶׁהַנְּחָלִים הוֹלְכִים, שָׁם הֵם שָׁבִים לָלֶכֶת, שֶׁמֵּימֵי הַנְּהָרוֹת הַהוֹלְכִים לְתוֹךְ הַיָּם, הֵם הַמַּיִם עַצְמָם שֶׁהָלְכוּ כְבָר. הֵם נוֹבְעוֹת מִתַּחַת הַתְּהוֹם וְהוֹלְכִים לְמַעְלָה מִן הַקַּרְקַע עַד הַיָּם וְחוֹזְרִים וְנוֹבְעִים; לְפִיכָךְ אֵין הַנְּהָרוֹת פּוֹסְקִים וְאֵין הַיָּם מָלֵא, וְלֹא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶן מַמָּשׁ. עַד כַּאן:

The words of Koheles. Wherever it is stated, “the words of דִּבְרֵי,” it introduces words or reproof. [For example,] “These are the words הַדְּבָרִים that Moshe spoke,”1Devarim 1:1. [followed by,] “And Yeshurun became fat [and kicked].”2Ibid. 32:15. [Also,] “The words דִּבְרֵי of Amos,”3Amos 1:1. [followed by,] “Hear this word, you cows of Bashan.”4Ibid. 4:1. [Also,] “The words דִּבְרֵי of Yirmiyahu,”5Yirmiyahu 1:1. [followed by,] “Ask now and see whether a male gives birth, etc.”6Ibid. 30:6. [And finally,] “And these are the words דִּבְרֵי of Dovid,”7II Shmuel 23:1. [followed by,] “But the wicked are all like thorns thrust away.”8Ibid. 23:6. “The words דִּבְרֵי of Koheles” [is followed by,] “The sun rises ... All the rivers flow into the sea.”9Below, verse 5. He refers to the wicked as the “sun,” the “moon,”10Below, verse 7. and the “sea,” which earn no reward. So it was taught in Sifre. I learned from there that the section deals with the wicked and he compares them to the rising sun, which ultimately sets. Addendum: Another explanation, “All the rivers flow into the sea.” What is the meaning of this? This is stated concerning idolaters, the fools who prostrate themselves to the water thinking that it has substance because they see the Great Sea, into which all the rivers flow and it is not full, but they have no understanding that to the place where the rivers flow, they repeatedly go, for the water of the rivers that flow into the sea are the very same waters that already flowed; they flow from under the deep and flow above the surface until the sea and then flow again. Therefore, the rivers do not stop, and the sea is not full, and not because they have substance. End of addendum.

2 ב

קֹהֶלֶת. עַל־שֵׁם שֶׁקִּהֵל חָכְמוֹת הַרְבֵּה, וְכֵן בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר קוֹרֵהוּ אָגוּר בִּן־יָקֵה, שֶׁאָגַר כָּל־הַחָכְמָה וַהֲקִיאָהּ וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים שֶׁהָיָה אוֹמֵר כָּל־דְבָרָיו בְהַקְהֵל:

Koheles. [He was called Koheles] because he gathered [=קִהֵל much wisdom,11The term קהלת meaning gathering is in Devarim 33:4 where it states, “the gathering [קהלת] of Yaakov.” (Metsudas Tzion) and similarly, elsewhere [Scripture] calls him, “Agur Bin Yokeh,”12Mishlei 30:1. This is a reference to Shlomo, meaning the gatherer [אגור] of wisdom [בן] spewed out [יקה] the prophecy [המשא]. because he gathered אָגַר all the wisdom and spewed וַהֲקִיאָהּ it out, and some say that he would say all his words in public assembly [=בְּהַקְהֵל.13Alternatively, he gathered together and clarified many conflicting views. (Metsudas Tzion)

3 ג

מֶלֶךְ בִּירוּשָׁלָםִ. עִיר הַחָכְמָה:

King in Yerusholayim. The city of wisdom.14Shlomo is known by three titles. In Shir Hashirim 3:11 he is called King Shlomo, in Mishlei 1:1 he is called “King of Yisroel,” and here he is called “King in Yerusholayim.” The Gemara in Maseches Sanhedrin 20b, comments that his kingdom was diminished by the virtue of sin. He was first recognized universally as King Shlomo, after his sin he was King of Yisroel only, and then King of Yerusholayim alone. Alternatively, Sefer Koheles is replete with wisdom, therefore it states that its author reigned in “the city of wisdom,” thus he was exposed to much wisdom and his conclusions are worthy of great regard.