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All the labor of man is for his mouth,
and yet the appetite is not filled. Bible

“appetite.” The Hebrew word is nephesh, sometimes translated “soul.” In this context it primarily seems to mean “appetite,” but “soul” (in the sense of the inner longings of the heart) and “desire” also fit to some extent. People’s need for sustenance is often the driving factor behind them working day after day.

“filled.” The use of “filled” here is using imagery that was common in the culture and used by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. For example, in Matthew 5:6, Jesus spoke of those who “hunger and thirst after righteousness” and being “filled.” The need for food and the enjoyment of a good meal along with the distressing pangs of hunger and/or worry about there being enough food to eat made food and eating a primary subject in people’s lives and led to there being many idioms in the language that involved food and eating.


Commentary for: Ecclesiastes 6:7