(1) Having dwelt on the instability of human happiness, the Preacher now turns to contemplate the actual misery of which the world is full.
Oppressions.—Job 35:9; Amos 3:9.
No comforter.—If Solomon were the writer, one asks, What was the king about? Could he do nothing but express helpless despair?
Poor.—The word occurs again in this book (Ecclesiastes 9:15-16), but not elsewhere in the Old Testament: kindred words occur in Deuteronomy 8:9; Isaiah 40:20. No confidence can be placed in the attempts made to find a definite historical reference in this verse and the next.
Ecclesiastes 4:16There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.