Some people are not able to enjoy the fruits of their labor. This, too, is meaningless.
VERSE 1. There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is heavy on men:
VERSE 2. a man to whom God gives riches, wealth, and honor, so that he lacks nothing for his soul of all that he desires, yet God gives him no power to eat of it, but an alien eats it. This is vanity, and it is an evil disease.
God gives riches, wealth, and honor. Some people are born into great abundance.
no power to eat of it. Some people are born into great wealth, but are not able to partake of it.
an alien eats it. That is, a “stranger” eats it. Perhaps the wealth was lost though a lawsuit. Or perhaps the person is a miser.
VERSE 3. If a man fathers a hundred children, and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not filled with good, and moreover he has no burial; I say, that a stillborn child is better than he:
If a man. Using hyperbolic language, the author describes an exceedingly blessed person:
|Verse 2||lacks nothing||great wealth|
|Verse 3||fathers a hundred children||great progeny|
|Verse 3||lives many years||long life|
Continuing with hyperbolic language, the author describes a stillborn:
|Verse 4||comes in vanity||it did not benefit from being born|
|Verse 4||departs in darkness||it disappears|
|Verse 4||name is covered with darkness||it is forgotten|
|Verse 5||not seen the sun||did not see the light of day|
|Verse 5||nor known it||never knew what life is like|
though he live a thousand years twice. Continuing with hyperbolic language, the author wonders about the great value of being able to live for 2,00 years.
fails to enjoy good. Even if you could live for 2,000 years, if you cannot enjoy good, then it is all meaningless.
the appetite is not filled. Many people are never fulfilled, no matter how much they accumulate.
VERSE 8. For what advantage has the wise more than the fool? What has the poor man, that knows how to walk before the living?
NLT translation: Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless—like chasing the wind.
dreaming about nice things is meaningless. Lots of inspirational speakers, both Christian and otherwise, urge their listeners to dream about getting rich and owning nice things. But Solomon says such dreaming is meaningless.
VERSE 10. Whatever has been, its name was given long ago; and it is known what man is; neither can he contend with him who is mightier than he.
VERSE 11. For there are many words that create vanity. What does that profit man?
For who knows. We cannot know the entire plan of God for our lives.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.