Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Ecclesiastes 6:11

For there are many words which increase futility. What then is the advantage to a man?
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ignorance;   Worldliness;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for September 6;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Things - Namely, the various circumstances detailed in the foregoing chapters, from the Preacher‘s personal experience, and his observation of other people, ending with the comprehensive declaration in Ecclesiastes 6:10 to the effect that vanity is an essential part of the constitution of creation as it now exists, and was foreknown.

What is man the better? - Rather, what is profitable to man?

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 6:11". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ecclesiastes-6.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Seeing there be many things that increase vanity,.... As appears by all that has been said in this and the preceding chapters; such as wisdom and knowledge, wealth and riches, pleasure, power, and authority. Man is a poor vain creature himself, all he is and has is vanity; and these serve but to increase it, and make him vainer and vainer still;

what is man the better? for these things? not at all, rather the worse, being more vain; there is no profit by them, no excellency arises to him from them, no happiness in them, nothing that will be of any service to him, especially with respect to a future state, or when he comes to die. It may be rendered, as it is in the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions, "seeing there are many words that multiply vanity"; as all such words do that are used with God by way of murmur and complaint concerning a man's lot and condition in this world, and as expostulating and contending with him about it; these increase sin, and by them men contract more guilt, and therefore are not the better for such litigations, but the worse; and so the words stand in connection with Ecclesiastes 6:10, but the former sense seems best, this being the conclusion of the wise man's discourse concerning vanity. So the Targum and Jarchi understand it of things, and not words.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 6:11". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/ecclesiastes-6.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

“Seeing” that man cannot escape from the “vanity,” which by God‘s “mighty” will is inherent in earthly things, and cannot call in question God‘s wisdom in these dispensations (equivalent to “contend,” etc.),

what is man the better — of these vain things as regards the chief good? None whatever.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 6:11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/ecclesiastes-6.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

“For there are many words which increase vanity: What cometh forth therefrom for man?” The dispute (objection), דּין, takes place in words; דּברים here will thus not mean “things” (Hengst., Ginsb., Zöckl., Bullock, etc.), but “words.” As that wrestling or contending against God's decision and providence is vain and worthless, nothing else remains for man but to be submissive, and to acknowledge his limitation by the fear of God; thus there are also many words which only increase yet more the multitude of vanities already existing in this world, for, because they are resultless, they bring no advantage for man. Rightly, Elster finds herein a hint pointing to the influence of the learning of the Jewish schools already existing in Koheleth 's time. We know from Josephus that the problem of human freedom and of God's absoluteness was a point of controversy between opposing parties: the Sadducees so emphasized human freedom, that they not only excluded ( Antt. xiii. 5. 9; Bell . ii. 8. 14) all divine predetermination, but also co-operation; the Pharisees, on the contrary supposed an interconnection between divine predetermination ( εἱμαρμένη ) and human freedom ( Antt. xiii. 5. 9, xviii. 1. 3; Bell . ii. 8. 14). The Talm. affords us a glance at this controversy; but the statement in the Talm. (in Berachoth 33 a, and elsewhere), which conditions all by the power of God manifesting itself in history, but defends the freedom of the religious-moral self-determination of man, may be regarded as a Pharisaic maxim. In Rom 9, Paul places himself on this side; and the author of the Book of Koheleth would subscribe this passage as his testimony, for the “fear God” is the “ kern und stern ” kernel and star of his pessimistic book.

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The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
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Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 6:11". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/ecclesiastes-6.html. 1854-1889.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Seeing there be many things that increase vanity, what is man the better?

Seeing — This seems to be added as a conclusion from all the foregoing chapters; seeing not only man is a vain creature in himself, but there are also many other things, which instead of diminishing, do but increase this vanity, as wisdom, pleasure, power, wealth; seeing even the good things of this life bring so much toil, and cares, and fears, with them.

The better — By all that he can either desire or enjoy here?

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 6:11". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/ecclesiastes-6.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Ecclesiastes 6:11 Seeing there be many things that increase vanity, what [is] man the better?

Ver. 11. Seeing there be many things that increase.] Seeing it is in vain to wrestle or wrangle with God, to seek to ward off his blow, to moat up one’s self against his fire. Why should vain man contend with his Maker? Why should he beat himself to froth, as the surges of the sea do against the rock? Why should he, like the untamed heifer unaccustomed to the yoke, gall his neck by wriggling? - make his crosses heavier than God makes them, by crossness and impatience? The very heathen could tell him that,

Deus crudelius urit,

Quos videt invitos succubuisse sibi. ”

- Tibul. Eleg. 1.

God will have the better of those that contend with him: and his own reason will tell him that it is not fit that God should cast down the bucklers first: and that the deeper a man wades, the more he shall be wet.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 6:11". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/ecclesiastes-6.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ecclesiastes 6:11. Seeing there be many things that increase vanity For there are many arguments to shew the multitude of vanities which prevail on the earth. Desvoeux: who concludes the verse here, and begins the 12th thus, Now what remaineth to man? for who, &c. Solomon, in the 10th and 11th verses, thought proper to draw a general conclusion from the two former propositions, which were hitherto fully established, after a full inquiry into men's occupations and schemes of happiness: It appears that the name of vapour, or vanity, which was given them in the beginning, is a very fit one. Nay, it is a name as properly to be given to man, as to any thing else; for man can never be able to withstand the appointment of God, who sufficiently testified his will by the ways of his providence.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 6:11". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/ecclesiastes-6.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

This seems to be added as a conclusion of the disputation managed in all the foregoing chapters,

Seeing not only man is a vain creature in himself, as hath been now said, but there are also many other things in the world, which instead of removing or diminishing, as might be expected, do but increase this vanity, as wisdom, pleasure, power, wealth, and the like, the vanity of all which hath been fully and particularly declared. Seeing even the good things of this life bring so much toil, and cares, and fears, &c. with them.

What is man the better, to wit, by all that he can either desire or enjoy here? Hence it is evident that all these things cannot make him happy, but that he must seek for happiness elsewhere.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 6:11". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/ecclesiastes-6.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

11.Seeing, should be merely emphatic, that is, truly. All human concerns tend the same way; the mere affairs, the mere vanities. What advantage, then, can man gain from more or less of them, or, how can he make any selection among them?

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 6:11". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/ecclesiastes-6.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Disputing. Are we better acquainted with nature than former ages? This is another subject of confusion. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 6:11". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/ecclesiastes-6.html. 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

"For there are many words which increase futility. What then is the advantage to a man?"

"many words which increase futility"-There are many human arguments which in the end are only vanity. "Even though man is very glib and capable of varying and lengthy speeches, such exercises will only manifest his vanity" (Kidwell p. 149). Many human arguments simply prove that God is right when He says, "Nor is it in man who walks to direct his steps" (Jeremiah ). And nothing is improved by the multiplication of arguments or lengthening the arguments. A multiplication of words only multiplies the argument as being vain. "more exhaustive attempts at explaining the human situation (apart from God) only confound the facts and are of no benefit to humanity"

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 6:11". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/ecclesiastes-6.html. 1999-2014.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Seeing there be many things that increase vanity, what is man the better?

Many things that increase vanity. The more wealth the more vanity.

What (is) man the better? "Seeing" that man cannot escape from the vanity," which by God's "mighty" will is inherent in earthly things, and cannot call in question God's wisdom in these dispensations ("cannot contend with Him that is mightier than he") "what is man the better" of these vain things, as regards the chief good? None whatever. The seeming advantage of the rich over the poor vanishes on a closer examination.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 6:11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/ecclesiastes-6.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(11) Things.—We might also translate “words.”

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 6:11". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/ecclesiastes-6.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Seeing there be many things that increase vanity, what is man the better?
1:6-9,17,18; 2:3-11; 3:19; 4:1-4,8,16; 5:7; Psalms 73:6; Hosea 12:1
Reciprocal: Job 7:16 - my days;  Psalm 39:6 - surely;  Ecclesiastes 1:2 - GeneralEcclesiastes 4:4 - This is;  Ecclesiastes 11:8 - All that;  Luke 10:41 - many;  Romans 3:1 - advantage;  1 Corinthians 15:19 - this

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 6:11". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/ecclesiastes-6.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Ecclesiastes 6:11. For there are many things that increase vanity. דברים in the sense of "words" does not suit the connection. More property, more vanity. That is as certain as that man is not the lord of his own life, but is absolutely dependent on a higher power. What did it help the Persian that he had subdued a great part of the world and had appropriated its treasures to himself? When Alexander came and violently assailed the two-horned ram of the Persian, Empire, (Daniel 8:6) it became evident that it had only increased vanity. The same thing takes place in great commercial crises. Cartwright says—"quam ob rem animum ad studium pietatis convertamus, quae ad omnia utilis est et promissiones habet praesentis et futurae vitae, (1 Timothy 4)." What more has man? The rich have not in reality more than the poor. For their advantages turn out, on a closer examination, to be mere delusion and vanity: and they vanish as soon as the judgments of God go abroad in the world.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 6:11". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/ecclesiastes-6.html.