Ecclesiastes Chapter 4 (Original 1611 KJV Bible)
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1 Vanitie is encreased vnto men by oppression, 4 By enuie, 5 By idlenesse, 7 By couetousnesse, 9 By solitarinesse, 13 By wilfulnesse.
1 So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done vnder the sunne; & behold the teares of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter: and on the side of their oppressours there was power, but they had no comforter.1
8 There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither childe nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour, neither is his eye satisfied with riches, neither sayth hee, For whom doe I labour, and bereaue my soule of good? this is also vanitie, yea it is a sore trauell.
View Wesley's Notes for Ecclesiastes Chapter 4
4:1 I returned - I considered again. Oppressions - Whether by princes, magistrates, or other potent persons. No comforter - None afforded them pity or succour. But they, &c. - No comfort therein.
4:2 I praised - I judged them less miserable. For this is certain, that setting aside the future life, which Solomon doth not meddle with in the present debate; and considering the uncertainty, and vanity, and manifold calamities of the present life, a wise man would not account it worth his while to live.
4:3 Better is he - Who was never born. Not seen - Not felt: for as seeing good is put for enjoying it, so seeing evil is put for suffering it.
4:4 Right work - All the worthy designs of virtuous men. Envied - Instead of honour, he meets with envy and obloquy.
4:5 The fool - Is careless and idle: perceiving that diligence is attended with envy, he runs into the other extreme. Eateth - Wastes his substance, and brings himself to poverty, whereby his very flesh pines away for want of bread.
4:6 Better - These are the words of the sluggard, making this apology for his idleness, That his little with ease, is better than great riches got with much trouble.
4:8 Alone - Who has none but himself to care for. Brother - To whom he may leave his vast estate. Yet - He lives in perpetual restlessness and toil. For whom - Having no kindred to enjoy it. And bereave - Deny myself those comforts and conveniences which God hath allowed me? A sore travel - A dreadful judgment, as well as a great sin.
4:9 Two - Who live together in any kind of society. Because - Both have great benefit by such conjunction, whereby they support, encourage, and strengthen one another.
4:10 They - One of them. Fall - Into any mistake, or sin, or danger.
4:12 Prevail - Against either of them.
4:13 Better - More happy. Now he proceeds to another vanity, That of honour and power. Than a king - Who hath neither wisdom to govern himself, nor to receive the counsels of wiser men.
4:14 For he - The poor and wise child is often advanced to the highest dignity. Whereas - That old king is deprived of his kingdom.
4:15 I considered - The general disposition of common people, in all kingdoms, that they are fickle and inconstant. With the second child - This may be understood of the king's child, or son and heir, called second, in respect of his father, whose successor he is. Stand up - Arise to reign.
4:16 No end - This humour of the common people hath no end, but passes from one generation to another. Before them - Before the present generation. And so here are three generations of people noted, the authors of the present change, and their parents, and their children; and all are observed to have the same inclinations. In him - They shall be as weary of the successor, though a wise and worthy prince, as their parents were of his foolish predecessor.
Ecclesiastes Chapter 4 Sidenote References (from Original 1611 KJV Bible):
1 Chap.5.7. &c. , Heb. hand.
2 Iob 3.17. &c.
3 Iob 3.11, 16,21.
4 Heb. all the rightnes of worke. , Heb. this is the enuie of a man from his neighbour.
5 Prou.6.10 and 24.33.
6 Prou. 15. 16. and 16. 18.
13 Heb. who knoweth not to be admonished.
* Courtesy of Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania
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