Ecclesiastes Chapter 4  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Ecclesiastes 4
 
Ecc 4:1

“Then I turned and saw.” The Sage is starting on a new topic. He paints a bleak picture, but it is real life.

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Ecc 4:2(top)
Ecc 4:3(top)
Ecc 4:4

“pointless.” See commentary on Ecclesiastes 1:2.

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Ecc 4:5

“eats his own flesh.” The phrase refers to the fact that the person who does not work will have nothing to eat but himself. The NIV84, “ruins himself,” catches the ultimate end of the situation, but misses the punchy proverb. A way to ruin yourself is to not work.

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Ecc 4:6

“Better is a handful of rest.” All rest with no work ruins one’s life, but all work with no rest is not as good as taking some rest. People who just work and work without rest and paying attention to family time or a restful break end up hurting themselves in the long run.

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Ecc 4:7

“pointless.” See commentary on Ecclesiastes 1:2.

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Ecc 4:8

“pointless.” See commentary on Ecclesiastes 1:2.

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Ecc 4:9

“wage.” The word “wage” is used in a broader sense than just the wages paid for work, but any “wage” or benefit one gets from work. But there is clearly also the idea that people will get paid for the good work they do, even by God on Judgment Day. In contrast, the “wages” of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).

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Ecc 4:10(top)
Ecc 4:11(top)
Ecc 4:12

a man. This supplied “man” is coming from the masculine verb.

“broken.” The Hebrew word is nathaq (#05423 נָתַק), which is not the usual word for “broken.” It can mean “broken,” but it more specifically means to tear apart.

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Ecc 4:13(top)
Ecc 4:14

“For out of prison….” The pronouns in this verse and the difficult Hebrew grammar make this verse extremely unclear and the scholars debate its meaning. Many say it means basically the following: “For out of prison he [the poor but wise yourth] came to be king even though he [the poor youth] was born poor in his [the old king’s] kingdom.

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Ecc 4:15

“are walking about.” As in many cases, the average person is too busy with their own life to pay too much attention to what is going on with leadership other than to seemingly want something new and the promise of things perhaps getting better. Thus, the people would side with a new king coming along.

“the next youth, who replaced him.” Here the text introduces a third person, a second youth, who replaces the other youth who was born poor. Thus we see in this text a reflection of the theme in Ecclesiastes that there is a continual succession in life with one thing coming after another and the older things not really being remembered or regarded. Thus we see how ephemeral even royal power is.

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Ecc 4:16

“yet those who come later will not rejoice in him.” Peoples’ historical memory is notoriously short-lived. The people who come after even a good king do not usually remember much about him.

“pointless.” See commentary on Ecclesiastes 1:2.

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