Notes on Ecclesiastes

From the Original 1599 Geneva Bible Notes


Ec 1:1

1:1 The words of the {a} Preacher, the son of David, king of Jerusalem.

The Argument - Solomon as a preacher and one that desired to instruct all in the way of salvation, describes the deceivable vanities of this world: that man should not be addicted to anything under the sun, but rather inflamed with the desire of the heavenly life: therefore he confutes their opinions, which set their happiness either in knowledge or in pleasures, or in dignity and riches, wishing that man's true happiness consists in that he is united with God and will enjoy his presence: so that all other things must be rejected, save in as much as they further us to attain to this heavenly treasure, which is sure and permanent, and cannot be found in any other save in God alone.

Ec 1:2

1:2 {b} Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all [is] vanity.

Ec 1:3

1:3 What profit hath a man of all his {c} labour which he taketh under the sun?

Ec 1:4

1:4 [One] generation passeth away, and [another] generation cometh: but the earth abideth for {d} ever.

Ec 1:6

1:6 The {e} wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about to the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to its circuits.

Ec 1:7

1:7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea [is] not full; to the place from {f} which the rivers come, there they return again.

Ec 1:9

1:9 {g} The thing that hath been, it [is that] which shall be; and that which is done [is] that which shall be done: and [there is] no new [thing] under the sun.

Ec 1:12

1:12 {h} I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem.

Ec 1:13

1:13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all [things] that are done under heaven: this grievous labour hath God given to the sons of man {i} to be exercised with it.

Ec 1:15

1:15 [That which is] {k} crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is lacking cannot be numbered.

Ec 1:17

1:17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know {l} madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.

Ec 1:18

1:18 For in much wisdom [is] much {m} grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

Ec 2:1

2:1 I said in my heart, Come now, I will tempt {a} thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also [is] vanity.

Ec 2:3

2:3 I sought in my heart to give myself to wine, yet acquainting my heart with {b} wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what [was] that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.

Ec 2:7

2:7 I procured [me] male and female servants, and had servants born in my {c} house; also I had great possessions of herds and flocks above all that were in Jerusalem before me:

Ec 2:8

2:8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the special treasure of kings and of the provinces: I procured me male and female singers, and the {d} delights of the sons of men, {e} [as] musical instruments, and of all sorts.

Ec 2:9

2:9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom {f} remained with me.

Ec 2:10

2:10 And whatever my eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my {g} portion of all my labour.

Ec 2:12

2:12 And I turned myself to behold {h} wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what [can] the man [do] that cometh after the king? [even] that which hath been already done.

Ec 2:14

2:14 The wise man's {i} eyes [are] in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one {k} event happeneth to them all.

Ec 2:16

2:16 For [there is] no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool {l} for ever; seeing that which now [is] in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And {m} how dieth the wise [man]? as the fool.

Ec 2:20

2:20 Therefore I went about to cause my heart {n} to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.

Ec 2:21

2:21 For there is a man whose labour [is] in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured in it shall he {o} leave it [for] his portion. This also [is] vanity and a great evil.

Ec 2:24

2:24 [There is] nothing better for a man, [than] that he should eat and drink, and [that] he should {p} make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it [was] from the hand of God.

Ec 2:25

2:25 For who can eat, or who else can hasten {q} [to it], more than I?

Ec 3:1

3:1 To every [thing there is] a {a} season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

Ec 3:10

3:10 I have seen the labour, which God hath given to the sons of men {b} to be exercised in it.

Ec 3:11

3:11 He hath made every [thing] beautiful in its time: also he hath set the {c} world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

Ec 3:13

3:13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it [is] the {d} gift of God.

Ec 3:14

3:14 I know that, whatever God doeth, it shall be for {e} ever: nothing can be added to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth [it], that [men] should fear before him.

Ec 3:15

3:15 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God {f} requireth that which is past.

Ec 3:17

3:17 I said in my heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for [there is] a time {g} there for every purpose and for every work.

Ec 3:18

3:18 I said in my heart concerning the state of the sons of men, that God might {h} tempt them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.

Ec 3:19

3:19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing {i} befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all [is] vanity.

Ec 3:21

3:21 Who {k} knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

Ec 3:22

3:22 Wherefore I perceive that [there is] nothing better, than that a man should {l} rejoice in his own works; for that [is] his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?

Ec 4:1

4:1 So {a} I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of [such as were] oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors [there was] power; but they had no comforter.

Ec 4:2

4:2 Wherefore I praised the {b} dead who are already dead more than the living who are yet alive.

Ec 4:3

4:3 Yea, {c} better [is he] than both they, who hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

Ec 4:4

4:4 Again, I considered all labour, and every {d} right work, that for this a man is envied by his neighbour. This [is] also vanity and vexation of spirit.

Ec 4:5

4:5 The fool foldeth his hands together, and {e} eateth his own flesh.

Ec 4:9

4:9 {f} Two [are] better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.

Ec 4:12

4:12 And if one prevaileth against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold {g} cord is not quickly broken.

Ec 4:14

4:14 For out of {h} prison he cometh to reign; though also [he that is] {i} born in his kingdom becometh poor.

Ec 4:15

4:15 I considered all the living who walk under the sun, {k} with the second child that shall stand up in his stead.

Ec 4:16

4:16 [There is] no {l} 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.

Ec 5:1

5:1 Keep thy {m} foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of {n} fools: for they consider not that they do evil.

Ec 5:2

5:2 Be not {a} rash with thy mouth, and let not thy heart be hasty to utter [any] thing before God: for God [is] in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be {b} few.

Ec 5:4

5:4 When thou vowest a vow to God, defer not to pay it; for [he hath] no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast {c} vowed.

Ec 5:6

5:6 Allow not thy mouth to cause thy {d} flesh to sin; neither say thou before the {e} angel, that it [was] an error: why should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thy hands?

Ec 5:8

5:8 If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, wonder not at the matter: for [he that is] {f} higher than the highest regardeth; and [there are] higher than they.

Ec 5:9

5:9 Moreover the {g} profit of the earth is for all: the king {h} [himself] is served by the field.

Ec 5:12

5:12 The sleep of a labouring man [is] sweet, whether he eateth little or much: but the {i} abundance of the rich will not allow him to sleep.

Ec 5:13

5:13 There is a grievous evil [which] I have seen under the sun, [namely], riches {k} kept for the owners of them to their hurt.

Ec 5:14

5:14 But those riches perish by evil labour: and he begetteth a son, and [there is] nothing in his {l} hand.

Ec 5:16

5:16 And this also [is] a grievous evil, [that] in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the {m} wind?

Ec 5:17

5:17 All his days also he eateth in {n} darkness, and [he hath] much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.

Ec 5:18

5:18 Behold [that] which I have seen: [it is] good and proper [for one] to {o} eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it [is] his portion.

Ec 5:20

5:20 For he shall not much remember the days of his {p} life; because God answereth [him] in the joy of his heart.

Ec 6:2

6:2 A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that he lacketh nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet {a} God giveth him not power to eat of it, but a stranger eateth it: this [is] vanity, and it [is] an evil disease.

Ec 6:3

6:3 If a man begetteth an hundred [children], and liveth many years, so that the days of his years are many, and his soul is not {b} filled with good, and also [that] he hath no {c} burial; I say, [that] an untimely birth [is] better than he.

Ec 6:4

6:4 For {d} he cometh with vanity, and departeth in darkness, and his name shall be covered with darkness.

Ec 6:7

6:7 All the labour of man [is] for his mouth, and yet the {e} appetite is not filled.

Ec 6:9

6:9 Better [is] the {g} sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this [is] also vanity and vexation of spirit.

Ec 6:10

6:10 That which hath been is named already, and it is known that it [is] man: neither may he contend with him that is {h} mightier than he.

Ec 6:12

6:12 For who knoweth what [is] {a} good for man in [this] life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?

Ec 7:1

7:1 A good name [is] better than precious ointment; and the day of {b} death than the day of one's birth.

Ec 7:2

7:2 [It is] better to go to the house of {c} mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that [is] the end of all men; and the living will lay [it] to his heart.

Ec 7:6

7:6 For as the crackling of {d} thorns under a pot, so [is] the laughter of the fool: this also [is] vanity.

Ec 7:7

7:7 Surely oppression maketh a wise man {e} mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.

Ec 7:8

7:8 Better [is] the {f} end of a thing than its beginning: [and] the patient in spirit [is] better than the proud in spirit.

Ec 7:10

7:10 Say not thou, What is [the cause] that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire {g} wisely concerning this.

Ec 7:11

7:11 Wisdom [is] good with an {h} inheritance: and [by it there is] profit to them that see the sun.

Ec 7:14

7:14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity {i} consider: God also hath appointed the one as well as the other, to the end that man should find {k} nothing after him.

Ec 7:15

7:15 All [things] have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just [man] that perisheth in his {l} righteousness, and there is a wicked [man] that prolongeth [his life] in his wickedness.

Ec 7:16

7:16 Be not righteous {m} over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?

Ec 7:17

7:17 Be not {n} over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?

Ec 7:18

7:18 [It is] good that thou shouldest take hold of {o} this; yea, also from {p} this withdraw not thy hand: for he that feareth God shall escape from them all.

Ec 7:21

7:21 Also take no {q} heed to all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:

Ec 7:24

7:24 That which is far off, {r} and exceedingly deep, who can find it out?

Ec 7:27

7:27 Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, [counting] one by one, to {s} find out the account:

Ec 7:29

7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many {t} devices.

Ec 8:1

8:1 Who [is] as the wise [man]? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? a man's wisdom maketh his face {a} to shine, and {b} the boldness of his face shall be changed.

Ec 8:2

8:2 I [counsel thee] to keep the king's {c} commandment, and [that] in regard of the oath of God.

Ec 8:3

8:3 {d} Be not hasty to go out of his sight: stand not in an evil thing; for he doeth whatever pleaseth him.

Ec 8:5

8:5 He who keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerneth both {e} time and judgment.

Ec 8:6

8:6 Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the {f} misery of man [is] great upon him.

Ec 8:8

8:8 [There is] no man that hath power {g} over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither [hath he] power in the day of death: and [there is] no discharge in [that] war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.

Ec 8:9

8:9 All this have I seen, and applied my heart to every work that is done under the sun: [there is] a time in which one man ruleth over another to his own {h} hurt.

Ec 8:10

8:10 And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and {i} gone from the {k} place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done: this [is] also vanity.

Ec 8:11

8:11 Because sentence against an evil work is not {l} executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

Ec 8:14

8:14 There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there are just [men], to whom it happeneth according to the {m} work of the wicked; again, there are wicked [men], to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also [is] vanity.

Ec 8:15

8:15 Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than {n} to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.

Ec 9:1

9:1 For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, [are] in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or {a} hatred [by] all [that is] before them.

Ec 9:3

9:3 This [is] an evil among all [things] that are done under the sun, that [there is] one {b} event to all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness [is] in their heart while they live, and after that [they go] to the dead.

Ec 9:4

9:4 For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a {c} living dog is better than a dead lion.

Ec 9:7

9:7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now {d} accepteth thy works.

Ec 9:8

9:8 Let thy garments be always {e} white; and let thy head lack no ointment.

Ec 9:11

9:11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race [is] not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and {f} chance happeneth to them all.

Ec 9:12

9:12 For man also knoweth not his {g} time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so [are] the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

Ec 10:2

10:2 A {a} wise man's heart [is] at his right hand; but a fool's heart [is] at his left.

Ec 10:3

10:3 Also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth [him], and he {b} saith to every one [that] he [is] a fool.

Ec 10:4

10:4 If the {c} spirit of the ruler riseth against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.

Ec 10:5

10:5 There is an evil [which] I have seen under the sun, as an {d} error [which] proceedeth from the ruler:

Ec 10:6

10:6 Folly is set in great dignity, and the {e} rich sit in low place.

Ec 10:10

10:10 If the iron is blunt, and he doth not whet the edge, then must he use more {f} strength: but wisdom [is] profitable to direct.

Ec 10:15

10:15 The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the {g} city.

Ec 10:16

10:16 Woe to thee, O land, when thy king [is] a {h} child, and thy princes {i} eat in the morning!

Ec 10:17

10:17 Blessed [art] thou, O land, when thy king [is] the son {k} of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

Ec 10:20

10:20 Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a {l} bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.

Ec 11:1

11:1 Cast thy bread upon the {a} waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.

Ec 11:3

11:3 If the {b} clouds are full of rain, they empty [themselves] upon the earth: and if the {c} tree falleth toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.

Ec 11:4

11:4 He that observeth the {d} wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.

Ec 11:6

11:6 In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening {e} withhold not thy hand: for thou knowest not which shall prosper, either this or {f} that, or whether they both [shall be] alike good.

Ec 11:8

11:8 But if a man shall live many years, [and] rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of {g} darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh [is] vanity.

Ec 11:9

11:9 {h} Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thy eyes: but know thou, that for all these [things] God will bring thee into judgment.

Ec 11:10

11:10 Therefore remove {i} sorrow from thy heart, and {k} put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth [are] vanity.

Ec 12:2

12:2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, are not darkened, nor the {a} clouds return after the rain:

Ec 12:3

12:3 In the day when the {b} keepers of the house shall tremble, and the {c} strong men shall bow themselves, and the {d} grinders cease because they are few, and those that {e} look out of the windows shall be darkened,

Ec 12:4

12:4 And the {f} doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the {g} grinding shall be low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the {h} bird, and all the {i} daughters of music shall be brought low;

Ec 12:5

12:5 Also [when] they shall be afraid of [that which is] {k} high, and fears [shall be] in the {l} way, and the almond tree shall {m} flourish, and the {n} grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:

Ec 12:6

12:6 Or ever the {o} silver cord shall be loosed, or the golden {p} bowl be broken, or the {q} pitcher be broken at the {r} fountain, or the {s} wheel broken at the {t} cistern.

Ec 12:7

12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the {u} spirit shall return to God who gave it.

Ec 12:11

12:11 The words of the wise [are] as goads, and as nails {x} fastened [by] the masters of assemblies, [which] are given from one {y} shepherd.

Ec 12:12

12:12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many {z} books [there is] no end; and much study [is] a weariness of the flesh.


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