1 There are two different words for time in v. 1, zemān (NIV, “time”) and ʿēt (NIV, “season”). There is no significantly appreciable difference between them. It is the second of these two words that occurs repeatedly as “time” in vv. 2–8.
3:1 As a research student of life and of human behavior, Solomon observed that there is a predetermined season for everything and a fixed time for every happening. This means that God has programmed every activity into a gigantic computer, and, as Hispanics say, “Que será, será”: What will be, will be! It also means that history is filled with cyclical patterns, and these recur with unchangeable regularity. So man is locked into a pattern of behavior which is determined by certain inflexible laws or principles. He is a slave to fatalism’s clock and calendar.
In verses 1–8, the Preacher enumerates twenty-eight activities which are probably intended to symbolize the whole round of life. This is suggested by the number twenty-eight, which is the number of the world (four) multiplied by the number of completeness (seven).
The list is made up of opposites. Fourteen are positives and fourteen negatives. In some ways, they seem to cancel out each other so that the net result is zero.
3:1 a season … a time: Both words are usually regarded as being specific points in time rather than a continuity of time. under heaven: That is, life “under the sun,” the sphere in which human life is lived.
3:1. Solomon said, There is a time … for every activity under heaven (cf. 8:6). By the word “activity” Solomon meant people’s deliberate, willful acts. The Hebrew word for “activity,” always used of people, literally means “desire,” and then by metonymy “what one desires” (cf. Isa. 58:13). For these willful acts people are held accountable (cf. Ecc. 3:17). Each activity, wrote Solomon, has its proper “time” (point in time) and season (duration)..
3:1 there is an appointed time, a time These two terms are similar and refer to specific points in time.
3:1 time. The truly wise know that all their “times” are in God’s hand (Ps. 31:15) and that there is an appropriate time for every human activity.
 Shepherd, J. E. (2008). Ecclesiastes. In T. Longman III, Garland David E. (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Proverbs–Isaiah (Revised Edition) (Vol. 6, p. 289). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
 MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 890). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
 Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 927). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.