The latest addition to the Welwyn Commentary series has leading Old Testament scholar and series editor John D Currid bring a fresh approach to a book that seems to draw a lot of comment of the the wrong kind. In his Introduction he says:
There is no book in the Old Testament that is as maligned and criticized as the book of Ecclesiastes. People point to the teachings of vanity, scepticism, and fatalism that they see so dominant in the writing. Why live, one asks, if the writer of Ecclesiastes is right that life is without meaning and purpose? . . .
I would argue that the real reason that no book in the Old Testament is as disparaged as Ecclesiastes is simply because no book is so misunderstood. It is ironic, in my opinion, that no book in the Old Testament is, in reality, as joyful as Ecclesiastes. When the reader properly understands the argument in the book, he will be led to joy and he will be filled with adoration for God. Consequently, that which is criticized for having no joy is really the book that brings joy.