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. *


A long life and innumerous progeny - How proud people are of the litters of rabbits that they turn out! But when old age comes and sickness strikes and death awaits, what value are any of these things? The man is worse off, says Solomon, than a stillborn child that never saw light. All the good things left behind only make the end more sad. **

4 For he cometh in with vanity, and departeth in darkness, and his name shall be covered with darkness.

5 Moreover he hath not seen the sun, nor known any thing: this hath more rest than the other.

6 Yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, yet hath he seen no good: do not all go to one place?

7 All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.

8 For what hath the wise more than the fool? what hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living?

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. *

That is, better the enjoyment of what we have than the unsatisfied yearning for what we have not and think we want. Happiness consists in totally casting out desire and replacing it with thankful rejoicing. How hard this lesson is to be learned! And yet, how simple it really is!

How happy we think we would be, if only we had this or that! Or, this or that would happen! Desire has never wrought true happiness, but only unhappy desire for something else. But contentment with things exactly as they are, because they are as God has arranged them to be - an inner state of mind beyond the control or disturbance of any outside influence or person - that is an immediate guarantee of happiness and peace.

What we have, or can have freely - life itself - the assurance of immortal joy, if we are worthy - the understanding of the scriptures - the revelation of the beauty and goodness of God - the guarantee of his love and care, if we wholly cast ourselves upon Him.

All this is so infinitely more valuable and more wonderful than anything we could have in this life, that if we cannot be totally happy with this, then we couldn't be happy with anything. So the problem of happiness is totally within ourselves. Nothing or nobody outside ourselves can either give it or take it away.**

**Bro Growcott - Fear God and keep his commandments

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. *

11 Seeing there be many things that increase vanity [hevel], what is man the better [what profit is there for adam]?

In the Scripture of truth, God has set out our destiny before us in the most intelligible terms. He pronounces us sinners by nature and practice; and because sinners, corruptible and mortal "in body, soul and spirit, the whole person;" as it is written, the wages of sin is death. This life is probationary. We are placed here to prove ourselves worthy of the destiny we may choose. "The gracious gift of God is Eternal Life through Jesus Christ the Lord." Which will you? Life and Death are set before you; will you strike for freedom from the law of sin; or choose ye rather to fret out the "few and evil days," which may remain to you as the bond slaves of this perishing state, and "die accursed?" God invites you to reconciliation; "come unto me," says Jesus, "all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Have you no ambition beyond the mean and grovelling aspirations of this animal life? Are the glories of personal decoration with silks and velvets, and gold, and precious stones, &c., the choicest brilliants after which you sigh? Is the honour which comes from vain and foolish man, corruptible and defiled in all his parts, your highest aspiration? Is the immortality of fame with future generations, the most renowned for which you long?

Fellow mortals! Of what value are baubles, such as these, to tenants of the tomb? Are the particles of dust which once rejoiced in the glory and renown of a Nebuchadnezzar, a Cyrus, an Alexander, a C├Žsar, or a Napoleon, more happy or estimable than those of a Lazarus? All these things perished in the using, and now are equally valueless to all, both of high and low degree.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Feb 1860

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 - BYT 1.21