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Bible Commentaries

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary
Ecclesiastes 9

 

 

Verse 1

Of God. He seems to treat both alike, so that the just themselves cannot say whether their sufferings be a punishment or a trial. (St. Jerome) (Calmet) --- Knoweth not certainly, and in an ordinary manner. (Worthington) --- Hatred. Hebrew and Septuagint, "yet love and hatred man knoweth not." (Haydock) --- Prosperity or adversity proves nothing. (Calmet) --- Mortals cannot tell whether their afflictions tend to their greater improvement, like Job's, or they are in punishment of sin, like those of Pharao, and of the Egyptians. This they shall know after death. (Worthington) --- Yet the wicked know already that they are displeasing to God. (Salmeron in 2 Corinthians xii.) "The just and....their works are in the hand of God, even love and hatred; men know not," &c. (De Dieu; Amama)


Verse 2

But. Hebrew joins this with the preceding not, "by all that is before them. All things come alike to all, there is one event to," &c. (Protestants) (Haydock) --- The pagans distinguished real goods and evils from those which were only apparent, like prosperity and adversity, which are determined only by the good or bad use. (St. Jerome) --- Thus religion looks upon virtue and vice in the former light; and riches, poverty, &c., in the latter. It may be difficult to decide, whether, under adversity, the just have supported themselves better by virtue, or the wicked by vanity. God will manifest the truth. (Calmet) --- Perjured. Hebrew and Septuagint, "swearer, so he that fears an oath." (Haydock)


Verse 3

Evil. People hence take occasion to indulge in vice, (chap. viii. 14.) though the conduct of God be irreproachable. (Calmet) --- Shall. Hebrew, "they go to the dead." (Haydock) --- Many think that these are the sentiments of the impious.


Verse 4

There. Even those who have had the vanity to claim divine honours, never could persuade themselves that they would escape death. But the just forms a different conclusion from the wicked. He looks upon his life only as a preparation for the other, (Hebrews xi. 13., and Ephesians ii. 19.) while libertines make haste to enjoy the fleeting pleasure, Isaias xxii. 13. To the former death seems desirable, (chap. iv. 2., and vi. 3.) to the latter it is a subject of consternation; and he prefers the vilest creature living, to the most noble when dead. (Calmet) --- Hebrew, "for whosoever is chosen (yebuchar. Marginal note yechubar, "is united") to all the living, has hope; for a," &c. (Haydock) --- Moderns generally follow the marginal reading of the Masorets. (Calmet) --- "For who shall live for ever?" (Symmachus) "Who partakes with all the living? There is hope." (Septuagint) (Haydock) --- During life alone the sinner may amend, chap. ii. 3. The Gentiles are preferred before the Jews. (Worthington)


Verse 5

Know nothing more, viz., As to the transactions of this world, in which they have now no part, unless it be revealed to them; neither have they any knowledge or power now of doing any thing to secure their eternal state, (if they have not taken care of it in their lifetime) nor can they now procure themselves any good, as the living always may do, by the grace of God. (Challoner)


Verse 7

God. Be grateful to him, and make a good use of his benefits, (St. Jerome, exp. 2.) or these are the words of libertines. (Bossuet) (St. Jerome, 1. explicat.) (Calmet)


Verse 8

White. As in times of joy, and among people of quality, chap. x. 17., and Proverbs xxxi. 23. --- Head. Our Saviour reproaches the Pharisees for neglecting this, Luke vii. 45.


Verse 9

Wife. Some translate, "the woman," or harlot; as if the wicked still spoke.


Verse 10

Earnestly. Live in delights, or perform many good works, chap. ii. 5. Our Lord seems to allude to this passage. What thou dost, do quickly, John xiii. 27.


Verse 11

All. Thus it appears to the inattentive, and to the wicked. For Solomon frequently inculcates that Providence directs all wisely. Human industry is not always attended with success, Deuteronomy xxix. 19. This is a fresh proof of the vanity of all things. (Calmet)


Verse 12

With. Hebrew adds, "evil." Net, (Montanus) or hook. (Haydock) --- Them. They may use precautions; but, without God's aid, they will not succeed, Psalm cxxvi. 1. (Calmet)


Verse 14

And the siege, &c. Hebrew has only "great bulwarks over or against it." (Haydock)


Verse 15

Afterward, is not in Hebrew. The poor man was unnoticed before. (Calmet) --- Vulgate insinuates that he met with no return of gratitude, which is but too common; (Haydock) and this shews the vanity of the world.


Verse 16

Heard? Ecclesiasticus xiii. 28. Men are so unjust as to despise wisdom, if it be in a poor man. The prudence of an individual has often saved cities, as was the case at Abela, and Bethulia; (2 Kings xx. 22.; Calmet) and Syracuse was defended a long time by Archimedes against the whole Roman army. (Plut.[Plutarch?] in Marcel.)


Verse 17

CHAPTER IX.

Fools. Though the wise often meet with contempt, it is only among fools, who form the majority. (Calmet) --- Vain declaimers in the Church shew their own folly, as well as that of their hearers. (St. Jerome)


Verse 18

Things. A woman saved Abela; and Achan almost ruined Israel. Want of prudence in a general is often fatal. Virtues are connected, as well as vices. (Calmet) --- For one transgression, many acts of virtue are lost. (St. Jerome)

 


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Bibliography Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 9:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/ecclesiastes-9.html. 1859.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, December 8th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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