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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Ecclesiastes 6

Verses 1-12

Life an Enigma

1-6. Riches will not secure happiness.

1. Common among] RV ’heavy upon.’

2. A stranger] because he has no child to whom to leave it. The Easterns have a dread of being without a child, to keep the parents’ name in remembrance: cp. Genesis 15:2.

3. And his soul] RV ’But his soul.’ Misfortunes may render him miserable, though he has abundance of children and of years of life. Examples are Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:21) and Ahab (2 Kings 10:1). That he have no burial] The greatest importance was assigned to this tribute of respect: cp. Jeremiah 22:19;

4. He] RV ’it,’ i.e. the untimely birth: so in Ecclesiastes 6:5.

6. Yet hath he seen] RV ’and yet enjoy.’ To one place?] The grave embraces all alike.

7-12. The conditions of man’s life are essentially uncertain. Man’s aim is in the main directed to the satisfaction of his bodily desires. Yet at best this cannot be perfectly attained. The wise, no less than the fool, the poor equally with the rich, finds imperfect satisfaction in life.

8. That knoweth to walk before the living?] In other words, that has the skill so to conduct himself as to earn respect in the eyes of his fellows.

9. Better is] To enjoy what we have is better than yearning after things which elude our grasp. Vexation of spirit] see on Ecclesiastes 1:17.

10. That which hath been] RM ’Whatsoever he be.’ Is named already] RV ’the name thereof was given long ago.’ Man] RM ’Heb. Adam’ Thus the sense of the v. is, ’From the beginning man’s nature has corresponded to his bodily frame. He is known as man (Adam), because he was made out of the earth (Heb. Adamah), and he must accept his position: cp. Isaiah 45:9; Romans 9:20.

11. Things] RM ’words,’ perhaps the profitless discussions common in the philosophical schools (e.g. on fate and free-will).

12. Man can neither judge what is really for his happiness in life nor foresee the future fate of that in which he may be interested.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 6". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.