Kohéleth, having tried wisdom and philosophic investigation, proceeded next to see what cheerful enjoyment could do for human happiness.
Go to now.—Numbers 22:6; Judges 19:11.
“Draw,” margin. There is no Biblical parallel for the use of the word in this sense. The general meaning is plain.
Acquainting.—Rather, guiding. The word is used of the driver of an animal or the shepherd of a flock (2 Samuel 6:3; Psalm 80:1; Isaiah 63:4). Kohéleth contemplated not an unrestrained enjoyment of pleasure, but one controlled by prudence.
All the days.—(See margin). This phrase occurs again in Ecclesiastes 5:17; Ecclesiastes 6:12. We have “men of number” in the sense of “few”—i.e., so few that they can be numbered (Genesis 34:30, and often elsewhere). So we may translate here “for their span of life.”
Vineyards.—1 Chronicles 27:27; Song of Solomon 8:11.
Singers.—Music was regarded as a necessary accompaniment of feasts (Isaiah 5:12; Amos 6:5; Ecclesiasticus 32:5; Ecclesiasticus 49:1). For David’s employment of professional singers, see 2 Samuel 19:35.
Delights.—Song of Solomon 7:6; Proverbs 19:10; Micah 1:16; Micah 2:9.
Musical instruments.—The Hebrew word here used occurs nowhere else, and commentators are reduced to look to the etymology for the explanation of it. Their guesses are so numerous that it would be wearisome to recount them. That adopted in our version is by no means one of the most probable. The interpretation “concubines” is most in favour with commentators, though they differ among themselves as to the grounds on which they justify this translation. And it does appear unlikely that this notorious feature of Solomon’s court should be omitted in an enumeration of his luxury. It will be seen from the margin that the words “of all sorts” have nothing corresponding to them in the original, but are intended as an equivalent for a Hebrew idiom, in which a plural is intensified by prefixing a noun in the singular.
Excelleth.—There is profit in wisdom more than in folly. The same word “profit” is used as in Ecclesiastes 5:11. (See Note on Ecclesiastes 1:3.)
More than I.—There is a various rendering, which has the authority of the LXX., and which has every appearance of being right: “without Him.”