Last time we saw that we attribute to Solomon the phrase, eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. In Ecc 3-4, he expands and repeats this theme by comparing the kinds of things men spend their lives striving after.
He had already noted that the end of a wise man and the end of a fool was the same: they both die. Today he notes that the end of a man and the end of an animal is the same: they both die, and return to dust.
Men oppress each other, however, even though the oppressor has power, his oppression does not profit him, because he too will die.
Men strive after things because they are in competition with their neighbors, but their competition will not profit them, because they too will die.
People will not be happy with their king, no matter who he is. So there is an advantage to being a wise and good king instead of a foolish and wicked one, but its advantage is not in securing the affection of the people.
Men who love money, will labor for money, and hoard money, even though money cannot profit them, because they too will die, and they cannot take their money with them.
The moral of the story is to enjoy today what you have labored for, and be content. That is your reward. Hoarding profits nothing, so be generous.
Of course, Solomon lived before Yeshua came, and we know that we in fact do have a reward, when we labor for that which profits others or profits God, instead of that which profits ourselves. Our reward is eternal life with God. That labor is not vanity, because now, with the Spirit of God in us, what we do does not have to be transient and temporary, but eternal.