(Eccl. 3:12-13) Is eating and drinking the meaning of life?

CLAIM: Solomon writes, “I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; 13 moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—it is the gift of God” (Eccl. 3:12-13). Does this mean that hedonism is the purpose of life?

RESPONSE: This would contradict all that Solomon wrote in chapter 2 of his book, where he shows the meaninglessness of hedonism. Instead, his focus here is not on eating and drinking, but rather, on “do[ing] good” and having a lasting effect on eternity (Eccl. 3:11). The Bible teaches that we will all be rewarded for our works (2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:10; Eph. 6:8). Thus Solomon seems to be focusing on how our lives’ work will impact eternity, which is the context of this statement (Eccl. 3:11).