ECCLESIASTES 6
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Kohelet 6 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)

1 There is an evil [ ra'ah] which I have seen under the sun [shemesh], and it is common among men [great weight upon the adam]:

2 A man [ ish] to whom elohim hath given riches [osher], wealth [nekhasim (possessions)], and honour [kavod], so that he wanteth nothing for his soul [nefesh] of all that he desireth, yet elohim giveth him not power [shlitah (empowerment)] to eat thereof [have enjoyment thereof], but a stranger [ ish nochri] eateth it: this is vanity [hevel], and it is an evil disease [grievous ill].

3 If a man [ish] beget an hundred children, and live many years {shanim rabbot], so that the days of his years be many [ rav be the yamim of his shanim], and his soul [nefesh] be not filled with good [hatovah], and also that he have no burial [kevurah (grave)]; I say, that an untimely birth [nefel (stillborn)] is better than he.

Chapter 6 is a continuation of the theme of the vanity of the present. Great possessions, a multitudinous family, mean nothing of themselves. These are not the basic realities of life, and true success and accomplishment cannot be measured by them. For with all these things, what is the end result but death?

And even while life lasts, these things give no assurance of happiness or peace. We must go much deeper for the answer to life's great purpose.

Bro Growcott. *



9 Better is the sight of the eyes [eynayim] than the wandering [roving] of the desire [nefesh]: this is also vanity [ hevel] and vexation of spirit [chasing after ruach].

Happiness lies in the appreciation and quiet enjoyment of what we have -- not in the restless yearning for what we have not -- in casting out desire, and replacing it with rejoicing.

How hard this lesson is to learn, and yet how simple it really is! Desire has never brought happiness, but only unhappiness. But contentment -- an inner state of the mind beyond the control of any outside influence -- is an immediate guarantee of happiness and peace.

What we have -- or can have freely -- life itself, the assurance of immortal joy if we walk worthy, the understanding of the Scriptures, the revelation of the beauty and goodness of God, the gracious invitation to companionship and comfort and joy in Him -- all this is so infinitely more valuable than anything in the world that we could desire, that if we cannot be content and happy and abundantly satisfied in this, we could never find happiness or satisfaction in anything.

So the problem of happiness is entirely within ourselves -- not in anything outside of us that we think we desire.

These are deep and basic facts. Ecclesiastes presents the Gospel in a different way. It shows that the way of the Truth is not only a command, an obligation, a responsibility, but that it is the only sensible way -- the only way to find what all mankind is seeking -- happiness, contentment, satisfaction, the greatest good, the most lasting joy and pleasure.

Ecclesiastes examines all the things men strive for -- all the things they attach value to -- all the things they think will bring them satisfaction -- and logically traces them all through to the same final conclusion -- vanity. *


10 That which hath been is named [shem] already [Whatsoever hath been, the name thereof was given long ago - RV], and it is known that it is man [adam] [And it is known what man is - RV]: neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he.

There is nothing new, nothing that has not been tried as a way of happiness and satisfaction, and all has been shown to bear the name "vanity"

The word here used for "man" is "Adam," which speaks of his frailty, his dust constitution, his end in the grave. *


12 For who knoweth [has da'as] what is good [tov] for man [adam] in this life, all the [few] days of his vain life [chayyei hevel] which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man [adam] what shall be after him under the sun [shemesh]?

Who among man knows what is best? Where shall he look, for all human activity is so futile when measured in the scales of eternity?

Bro Growcott - This is the whole man.