Ecclesiastes

1611 King James Version (KJV)

 

Ecclesiastes
Chapter 4

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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.

2 Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead, more then the liuing which are yet aliue.

3 Yea better is he then both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seene the euill worke that is done vnder the Sunne.

4 Againe I considered all trauaile, and euery right worke, that for this a man is enuied of his neighbour: this is also vanitie, and vexation of spirit.

5 The foole foldeth his hands together, and eateth his owne flesh.

6 Better is an handfull with quietnesse, then both the hands full with trauell and vexation of spirit.

7 Then I returned, and I saw vanitie vnder the Sunne.

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.

9 Two are better then one; because they haue a good reward for their labour.

10 For if they fall, the one will lift vp his fellow; but woe to him that is alone, when he falleth: for he hath not another to helpe him vp.

11 Againe, if two lye together, then they haue heate; but howe can one be warme alone?

12 And if one preuaile against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold coard is not quickly broken.

13 Better is a poore and a wise child, then an old and foolish king who will no more be admonished.

14 For out of prison hee commeth to raigne, whereas also he that is borne in his kingdome, becommeth poore.

15 I considered all the liuing which walke vnder the sunne, with the second child that shall stand vp in his stead.

16 There is no end of all the people, euen of all that haue beene before them: they also that come after, shall not reioyce in him: surely this also is vanitie, and vexation of spirit.

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Commentary for Ecclesiastes 4

Miseries from oppression. (1-3) troubles from envy. (4-6) The folly of covetousness. (7,8) The advantages of mutual assistance. (9-12) the changes of royalty. (13-16)1-3 It grieved Solomon to see might prevail against right. Wherever we turn, we see melancholy proofs of the wickedness and misery of mankind, who try to create trouble to themselves and to each other. Being thus hardly used, men are tempted to hate and despise life. But a good man, though badly off while in this world, cannot have cause to wish he had never been born, since he is glorifying the Lord, even in the fires, and will be happy at last, for ever happy. Ungodly men have most cause to wish the continuance of life with all its vexations, as a far more miserable condition awaits them if they die in their sins. If human and worldly things were our chief good, not to exist would be preferable to life, considering the various oppressions here below.

4-6 Solomon notices the sources of trouble peculiar to well-doers, and includes all who labour with diligence, and whose efforts are crowned with success. They often become great and prosperous, but this excites envy and opposition. Others, seeing the vexations of an active course, foolishly expect more satisfaction in sloth and idleness. But idleness is a sin that is its own punishment. Let us by honest industry lay hold on the handful, that we may not want necessaries, but not grasp at both hands full, which would only create vexation of spirit. Moderate pains and gains do best.

7,8 Frequently, the more men have, the more they would have; and on this they are so intent, that they get no enjoyment from what they have. Selfishness is the cause of this evil. A selfish man cares for nobody; there is none to take care of but himself, yet he will scarcely allow necessary rest to himself, and the people he employs. He never thinks he has enough. He has enough for his calling, for his family, but he has not enough for his eyes. Many are so set upon the world, that in pursuit of it they bereave themselves, not only of the favour of God and eternal life, but of the pleasures of this life. The distant relations or strangers who inherit such a man's wealth, never thank him. Covetousness gathers strength by time and habit; men tottering on the brink of the grave, grow more grasping and griping. Alas, and how often do we see men professing to be followers of Him, who, "though he was rich, for our sakes became poor," anxiously scraping money together and holding it fast, excusing themselves by common-place talking about the necessity of care, and the danger of extravagance!

9-12 Surely he has more satisfaction in life, who labours hard to maintain those he loves, than the miser has in his toil. In all things union tends to success and safety, but above all, the union of Christians. They assist each other by encouragement, or friendly reproof. They warm each other's hearts while they converse together of the love of Christ, or join in singing his praises. Then let us improve our opportunities of Christian fellowship. In these things all is not vanity, though there will be some alloy as long as we are under the sun. Where two are closely joined in holy love and fellowship, Christ will by his Spirit come to them; then there is a threefold cord.

13-16 People are never long easy and satisfied; they are fond of changes. This is no new thing. Princes see themselves slighted by those they have studied to oblige; this is vanity and vexation of spirit. But the willing servants of the Lord Jesus, our King, rejoice in him alone, and they will love Him more and more to all eternity.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Ecclesiastes 4

  • Williedean
    Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.

    For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow, but woe to him that is alone when he falleth for he hath not another to help him up.

    Again, if two lie together, then they have heat, but how can one be warm alone?
  • BSP
    King Solomon wrote these words but unfortunately verse 13 applied to Solomon himself. He became an unwise old king because he stop listening to admonishment or warnings.
  • Jim
    A woman was made of man. Read the virtues of a good woman in Proverbs. A woman is not property. Paul writes that neither does a man have dominion over a woman nor a woman over the man but they are one flesh. While the man is the head of the woman, God is the head of them both.
  • Geraldine cole
    Gen.18.22.23.God made women for the man if u are not going by God plan u will have answere to God one day that the truth from the bible . .
  • Christopher
    God gives us all things in life and takes all things back, it 's not our place to know all but to try,and to be happy trying.It may not always be good times all the time but in the end of it all, life itself was and is worth it.
  • Deanna
    When i married my husband yesterday the pastor wrote dow a few verses to look up in the bible and i have his first was Ecclesiastes chapter 4 verses 9-12 and i couldn't believe it i now just how true it really is

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