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Bible Commentaries

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ecclesiastes 4

Verse 1

Any. God suffereth the innocent to be oppressed for a time, that they may merit a greater reward, Psalm lxxii.

Verse 3

Born. It is better to have no existence than to be in eternal misery, Matthew xxvi. 24. But the affliction of the just procureth glory for them. (Worthington) --- The pagan sages observed, that it was "best for mortals not to be born; and if they were, to die very soon." (Chalcid. and Theognis.) --- But they considered only temporal inconveniences. Religion has in view the danger of sin, and the desire of eternal happiness, Romans vii. 24.

Verse 4

Industries, or Hebrew, "righteous actions." If one be poor, he is in distress; if rich, he is exposed to envy; so that all is vanity. (Calmet)

Verse 5

Flesh, which he will not labour to sustain; (Haydock) or he repines at his own past misconduct, and at the affluence of others.

Verse 6

Mind. These are the words of the slothful, (Calmet) or of truth. (Haydock) (Proverbs xvii. 1.) --- The indolent will not observe moderation in the application of this sentence. (Menochius)

Verse 8

Things? He acts as if he were to live for ever, or feared to be starved.

Verse 9

Therefore is not in Hebrew, &c. The miser had better have some society. It is advantageous; though to refrain from its comforts, out of piety, is not blamed. The solitary must be "an angel or a devil." (Calmet) --- Society. Besides the advantages of friendship, this implies that a person must have Jesus Christ with him, that he may rise from sin and death by his assistance. (St. Jerome) (Worthington)

Verse 10

Fall into sickness, poverty, or sin. The saints have withdrawn people from the dangers of the world into monasteries, where they may fight together against the devil.

Verse 12

Cord. True charity increaseth in strength as it does in number, (St. Jerome; Worthington) though friendship may not admit of more than two persons. (Haydock) --- Some explain this triple cord of the blessed Trinity, or of the three monastic vows [poverty, chastity, and obedience], the theological virtues [faith, hope, and charity], or the parts of penance, &c.

Verse 13

Foolish. Great wisdom and prudence is required of kings; who, like others, are exposed to many vicissitudes.

Verse 14

Prison. The exaltation of Joseph, Mardochai, and Daniel, was remarkable. (Calmet) --- Si fortuna volet, fies de Rhetore Consul. (Juvenal, Sat. vii.)

Verse 15

Second heir. (Menochius) --- "They adore the rising (Papinius) more than the setting sun;["] (Plut.[Plutarch?] Pomp.) and a person is no sooner on the throne than his successor begins to be courted: (ver. 16.) so inconstant are mortals! (Calmet)

Verse 16

In him. Many are perfectly unacquainted with the king, who finds so many admirers about his person, and even of these the greatest part begin to be presently disgusted, and wish for another change.

Verse 17

Keep. Here many begin the fifth chap., as Solomon alters his style, and gives many important instructions. (Calmet) --- For. Hebrew, "rather than that fools should offer sacrifice, since they know not that they are doing wrong." (Montanus) --- Do not imitate hypocrites, (Haydock) who have the appearance of sanctity, while they despise God's orders, Jeremias vii. 2. (Calmet)

Verse 22

CHAPTER IV.

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/ecclesiastes-4.html. 1859.