Ecclesiastes Chapter 2 (Original 1611 KJV Bible)
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1 The vanitie of humane courses in the workes of pleasure. 12 Though the wise be better then the foole, yet both haue one euent. 18 The vanitie of humane labour, in leauing it they know not to whom. 24 Nothing better then ioy in our labour, but that is Gods gift.
3 I sought in mine heart to giue my selfe vnto wine, (yet acquainting mine heart with wisedome) and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sonnes of men, which they should doe vnder the heauen all the dayes of their life.3
8 I gathered mee also siluer and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the prouinces: I gate mee men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sonnes of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.8
11 Then I looked on all the workes that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to doe: and behold, all was vanitie, and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit vnder the Sunne.11
19 And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a foole? yet shall he haue rule ouer all my labour, wherein I haue laboured, and wherein I haue shewed my selfe wise vnder the Sunne. This is also vanitie.19
21 For there is a man whose labour is in wisedome and in knowledge, and in equitie: yet to a man that hath not laboured therein, shall hee leaue it for his portion; This also is vanitie, and a great euill.21
26 For God giueth to a man that is good in his sight, wisedome, and knowledge, and ioy: but to the sinner hee giueth traueile, to gather and to heape vp that he may giue to him that is good before God: This also is vanitie and vexation of spirit.26
View Wesley's Notes for Ecclesiastes Chapter 2
2:1 I said - Being disappointed of my hopes from knowledge, I resolved to try another course. Go to - O my soul! I will try whether I cannot make thee happy, by the enjoyment of sensual delights. Vanity - Is vain, and unable to make men happy.
2:2 It is mad - This is an act of madness, more fit for fools who know nothing, than for wise men in this sinful, and dangerous, and deplorable state of mankind. What doth it - What good doth it? Or how can it make men happy? I challenge all the Epicures in the world to give me a solid answer.
2:3 To wine - To gratify myself with delicious meats and drinks. Yet - Yet resolving to use my wisdom, that I might try whether I could not arrive at satisfaction, by mixing wine and wisdom together. To lay hold - To pursue sensual pleasures, which was my folly. 'Till - 'Till I might find out the true way to contentment and satisfaction, during this mortal life.
2:6 The wood - The nurseries of young trees, which for the multitude of them were like a wood or forest.
2:8 Peculiar treasure - The greatest jewels and rarities of other kings, which they gave to me, either as a tribute, or by way of present. Of provinces - Which were imposed upon or presented by all the provinces of my dominions.
2:9 Great - In riches, and power, and glory. My wisdom remained - As yet I was not wholly seduced from God.
2:10 And - Whatsoever was grateful to my senses. Rejoiced - I had the comfort of all my labours, and was not hindered from the full enjoyment of them by sickness or war, or any other calamity. My portion - This present enjoyment of them, was all the benefit which I could expect from all my labours. So that I made the best of them.
2:11 Vexation - I found myself wholly dissatisfied. No profit - The pleasure was past, and I was never the better for it, but as empty as before.
2:12 I turned - Being frustrated of my hopes in pleasure, I returned to a second consideration of my first choice, to see whether there was not more satisfaction to be gotten from wisdom, than I discovered at my first view. Done - As by others, so especially by myself. They can make no new discoveries as to this point. They can make no more of the pleasures of sense than I have done. Let me then try once more, whether wisdom can give happiness.
2:13 I saw - I allowed thus much. Although wisdom is not sufficient to make men happy, yet it is of a far greater use than vain pleasures, or any other follies.
2:14 Head - In their proper place. He hath the use of his eyes and reason, and foresees, and so avoids many dangers and mischiefs. Yet - Notwithstanding this excellency of wisdom above folly, at last they both come to one end. Both are subject to the same calamities, and to death itself, which takes away all difference between them.
2:15 Why - What benefit have I by my wisdom?
2:16 For - Their memory, though it may flourish for a season, yet will in a little time be worn out; as we see it, most of the wise men of former ages, whose very names, together with all their monuments, are utterly lost. As the fool - He must die as certainly as the fool.
2:17 Life - My life was a burden to me. Is grievous - All human designs and works are so far from yielding me satisfaction, that the consideration of them increases my discontent.
2:18 All my labour - All these riches and buildings, and other fruits of my labour, were aggravations of my misery. Because - Because I must, and that everlastingly, leave them all behind me.
2:19 Or a fool - Who will undo all that I have done, and turn the effects of my wisdom into instruments of his folly. Some think he had such an opinion of Rehoboam.
2:20 Despair - I gave myself up to despair of ever reaping that satisfaction which I promised to myself.
2:21 Wisdom - Who uses great industry, and prudence, and justice too, in the use and management of his affairs. To a man - Who has spent his days in sloth and folly. A great evil - A great disorder in itself, and a great torment to a considering mind.
2:22 For what - What comfort or benefit remains to any man after this short and frail life is once ended?
2:23 Sorrows - Full of sorrows. Tho' he took great and unwearied pains all his days, yet the toils of his body were accompanied with vexation of mind. His heart - Because his sleep was broken with perplexing cares.
2:24 Enjoy - That he should thankfully take, and freely and chearfully enjoy the comforts which God gives him. It was - A singular gift of God.
2:25 More than I - Therefore he could best tell whether they were able of themselves, without God's special gift, to yield a man content, in the enjoying of them. Who can pursue them with more diligence, obtain them with more readiness, or embrace them with more greediness?
2:26 Wisdom - To direct him how to use his comforts aright; that so they may be blessings, and not curses to him. Joy - A thankful contented mind. To heap up - He giveth him up to insatiable desires, and wearisome labours, that he may leave it to others, yea to such as he least desired, to good and virtuous men.
Ecclesiastes Chapter 2 Sidenote References (from Original 1611 KJV Bible):
3 Chap. 1. 17. , Hebr. to draw my flesh with wine. , Hebr. the number of the dayes of their life.
7 Heb. sonnes of my house.
8 1. King.9. 28. and 10. 4. , Hebr. musicall instrument, and instruments.
12 Chap. 1. 17. and 7. 23. , Or, in those things which haue bene already done.
13 Hebr. That there is an excellencie in Wisedome more then in folly,&c.
14 Prou. 17. 24. chap. 8. 1.
15 Hebr. happeneth to me, euen to me.
18 Hebr. laboured.
19 Psal.49. 11. &c.
21 Hebr. giue.
22 Chap.1.3. and 3.9.
23 Iob 14.1.
24 Cha. 3.12, 22. and 5. 17. and 8. 15. , Or, delight his senses.
26 Hebr. before him. , Iob 27. 17.
* Courtesy of Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania
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