Ecclesiastes

1611 King James Version (KJV)

 

Ecclesiastes
Chapter 2

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1 I said in mine heart, Goe to now, I wil prooue thee with mirth, therfore enioy pleasure: and behold, this also is vanitie.

2 I saide of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?

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.

4 I made me great workes, I builded mee houses, I planted mee Uineyards.

5 I made mee gardens & orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kinde of fruits.

6 I made mee pooles of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth foorth trees:

7 I got me seruants and maydens, and had seruants borne in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattell, aboue all that were in Ierusalem before me.

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.

9 So I was great, and increased more then all that were before mee in Ierusalem; also my wisedome remained with me.

10 And whatsoeuer mine eyes desired, I kept not from them; I withheld not my heart from any ioy: for my heart reioyced in all my labour; and this was my portion of all my labour.

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.

12 And I turned my selfe to behold wisedome, and madnesse and folly: for what can the man doe, that commeth after the king? euen that which hath bene already done.

13 Then I saw that wisedome excelleth folly, as farre as light excelleth darkenesse.

14 The wise mans eyes are in his head, but the foole walketh in darknes: and I my selfe perceiued also that one euent happeneth to them all.

15 Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the foole, so it happeneth euen to me, and why was I then more wise? then I said in my heart, That this also is vanitie.

16 For there is no remembrance of the wise, more then of the foole for euer; seeing that which now is, in the dayes to come shall be forgotten; and how dieth the wise man? as the foole.

17 Therefore I hated life, because the worke that is wrought vnder the Sunne is grieuous vnto mee: for all is vanitie, and vexation of spirit.

18 Yea I hated all my labour which I had taken vnder the Sunne: because I should leaue it vnto the man that shalbe after mee.

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.

20 Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despaire of all the labour which I tooke vnder the Sunne.

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.

22 For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart wherein hee hath laboured vnder the Sunne?

23 For all his dayes are sorrowes, and his traueile, griefe; yea his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanitie.

24 There is nothing better for a man, then that he should eat and drinke, and that he should make his soule enioy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.

25 For who can eate? or who else can hasten hereunto more then I?

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.

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Commentary for Ecclesiastes 2

The vanity and vexation of mirth, sensual pleasure, riches, and pomp. (1-11) Human wisdom insufficient. (12-17) This world to be used according to the will of God. (18-26)1-11 Solomon soon found mirth and pleasure to be vanity. What does noisy, flashy mirth towards making a man happy? The manifold devices of men's hearts, to get satisfaction from the world, and their changing from one thing to another, are like the restlessness of a man in a fever. Perceiving it was folly to give himself to wine, he next tried the costly amusements of princes. The poor, when they read such a description, are ready to feel discontent. But the remedy against all such feelings is in the estimate of it all by the owner himself. All was vanity and vexation of spirit: and the same things would yield the same result to us, as to Solomon. Having food and raiment, let us therewith be content. His wisdom remained with him; a strong understanding, with great human knowledge. But every earthly pleasure, when unconnected with better blessings, leaves the mind as eager and unsatisfied as before. Happiness arises not from the situation in which we are placed. It is only through Jesus Christ that final blessedness can be attained.

12-17 Solomon found that knowledge and prudence were preferable to ignorance and folly, though human wisdom and knowledge will not make a man happy. The most learned of men, who dies a stranger to Christ Jesus, will perish equally with the most ignorant; and what good can commendations on earth do to the body in the grave, or the soul in hell? And the spirits of just men made perfect cannot want them. So that if this were all, we might be led to hate our life, as it is all vanity and vexation of spirit.

18-26 Our hearts are very loth to quit their expectations of great things from the creature; but Solomon came to this at length. The world is a vale of tears, even to those that have much of it. See what fools they are, who make themselves drudges to the world, which affords a man nothing better than subsistence for the body. And the utmost he can attain in this respect is to allow himself a sober, cheerful use thereof, according to his rank and condition. But we must enjoy good in our labour; we must use those things to make us diligent and cheerful in worldly business. And this is the gift of God. Riches are a blessing or a curse to a man, according as he has, or has not, a heart to make a good use of them. To those that are accepted of the Lord, he gives joy and satisfaction in the knowledge and love of him. But to the sinner he allots labour, sorrow, vanity, and vexation, in seeking a worldly portion, which yet afterwards comes into better hands. Let the sinner seriously consider his latter end. To seek a lasting portion in the love of Christ and the blessings it bestows, is the only way to true and satisfying enjoyment even of this present world.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Ecclesiastes 2

  • Will
    Love this book. It has many good insights in the world...
  • BSP
    Verse 11~Solomon was the richest and wisest man of his time and he came to the conclusion that lasting happiness and fulfillment is not found in seeking a life of materialism.
  • Cat
    There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.

    To have what you need and take satisfaction in your work and achievements is of God. Striving to have more than everyone else is totally unnecessary and vain.
  • Zee
    There is nothing new under the sun. All our labor
  • BSP
    Verse 24 shows that the only reason we can enjoy the things that bring us pleasure in life is because God allows us to enjoy them. We should truly be grateful to God and live our lives in a way that shows that we appreciate all the good that Jehovah God has done for us.
  • GeraldineCole
    All is well when we have Jesus as our leader all we have to do is obey his word that is the only truth then he will teach us how to treat our follow man and live In this world without being of the World when we walk and talk and pray and study the bible life is not hard we make it hard by the way we see things I our minds walk not in your understanding talk with Jesus before u do things Amen

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