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Bible Commentaries
Ecclesiastes 4

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-16

Chapter 4

So I returned, and I considered all of the oppressions that are done under the sun: and the tears of those that are oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter ( Ecclesiastes 4:1 ).

The philosophy, Might is right.

Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead, more than the living which were yet alive ( Ecclesiastes 4:2 ).

I looked at life and, man, you're better off dead than you are alive. Those that have already died, oh, they've got it made. You still alive, you got the headaches.

Yea, better is he both they, which have not been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun. Again, I considered all of the travail, and every right work, and for this man is envied of his neighbor. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit. The fool folds his hands together, and eats his own flesh. Better is a handful with quietness, than both of your hands full with travail and vexation of spirit ( Ecclesiastes 4:3-6 ).

There is a scripture says, "A little that a righteous man has is more than the riches of many wicked" ( Psalms 37:16 ). Now you're better off with just a little and the Lord, the comfort, than having both hands full and being frustrated.

Then I returned, and I saw the vanity [or the emptiness] under the sun. There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet there is no end of his labor ( Ecclesiastes 4:7-8 );

Even the man who doesn't have any children, he can't settle down and just enjoy what he has. He's got to keep on it. Keep laboring. No matter how rich he is, he can't be satisfied. He can't relax and enjoy it. Here's one man alone, he has no child, no brother, no one to inherit his wealth. And yet, he can't get away from the grindstone. There's no end of all of his labor.

neither is his eye satisfied with his riches; neither says he ( Ecclesiastes 4:8 ),

He doesn't consider, "What am I saving all this money for? Who am I saving it for? Why am I saving it? Who am I going to leave it to when I die?" And yet, he's bound to it. He's digging for more and more and more. Striving, struggling. Can't stop working. Pushing, grinding, in order to gain more and yet he doesn't have anybody to leave it to.

This also is vanity, it's a sore travail. Two are better than one; because [at least] they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falls; for there's no one to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they can have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevails against him, two will be able to withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Better is a poor and wise child than an old and foolish king ( Ecclesiastes 4:8-13 ),

Look to those little kids. They're better off than I am. Poor wise child than this old foolish king.

who will no more be admonished ( Ecclesiastes 4:13 ).

I won't listen to anything anymore. No one can tell me anything.

For out of prison he comes to reign; whereas also he that is born of his kingdom becomes poor. I consider all of the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead. And there is no end of all of the people, even of all that have been before them: and of all that shall come after they shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit ( Ecclesiastes 4:14-16 ).

It seems that life just goes on. There's, you know, multitudes before me. There's going to be multitudes after me. I'm just in the line here, but it's all so empty. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 4". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/ecclesiastes-4.html. 2014.
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