A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Mourn.—This is the ordinary word used for noisy funeral lamentations (Jeremiah 4:8; 1Samuel 25:1).Ecclesiastes 2:1-8) and events which happen to people, the world of Providence rather than the world of creation. It would seem that most of his own works described in Ecclesiastes 2:1-8 were present to his mind. The rare word translated "season" means emphatically "fitting time" (compare Nehemiah 2:6; Esther 9:27, Esther 9:31).
dance—as David before the ark (2Sa 6:12-14; Ps 30:11); spiritually (Mt 9:15; Lu 6:21; 15:25). The Pharisees, by requiring sadness out of time, erred seriously.A time to weep; when men shall have just occasion for weeping and mourning. Psalm 137:1; and as it goes ill or well with the church of Christ, when there are corruptions in doctrine and worship, a neglect of ordinances, declensions in faith and practice, few instances of conversion, and there are divisions and contentions, it is a time for the mourners in Zion to weep but when God creates Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy, or makes her an eternal excellency, and the praise of the whole earth, then it is a time to rejoice and be glad, Isaiah 61:3; and as it is, with believers, when Christ is withdrawn from them, it is a time to lament, but, when the bridegroom is with them, it is a time of joy; when it is a night of darkness and desertion, weeping endures, but when the morning comes, the day breaks, and the sun of righteousness arises, joy comes with it, Matthew 9:15 John 16:19. Now in the present state is the saints' weeping time; in the time to come they will laugh, or be filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory, Luke 6:21;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance; to mourn at funerals, and to dance at festivals; in a spiritual sense, God sometimes turns the mourning of his people into dancing, or joy, which that is expressive of; see Psalm 30:11.A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)4. a time to weep] The two couples are naturally grouped together, the first taking in the natural spontaneous expression of individual feeling, the second the more formal manifestation of the feelings in the mourners and wailers of a funeral (Zechariah 12:10, where the same verb is found) and the dancers at a wedding feast. In the parable of the Children in the Market-place our Lord practically inculcates the lesson of the Debater. The Scribes who sneered at the fasts of John’s disciples, and condemned the disciples of Jesus for not fasting were as the children whose dramatic funerals and weddings were alike out of place and inopportune, and so the true followers after the Wisdom which “is justified of her children,” who recognised that the ascetic and the joyous life had each its true time and season, would not weep to their lamenting or dance to their piping (Matthew 11:16-19).Verse 4. - A time to weep, and a time to laugh, grouped naturally with a time to mourn, and a time to dance. The funeral and the wedding, the hired mourners and the guests at the marriage-feast, are set against one another. The first clause intimates the spontaneous manifestation of the feelings of the heart; the second, their formal expression in the performances at funerals and weddings and on other solemn occasions. The contrast is found in the Lord's allusion to the sulky children in the market-place, who would not join their companions' play: "We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented" (Matthew 11:17). Dancing sometimes accompanied religious sere-monies, as when David brought up the ark (2 Samuel 6:14, 16). Ecclesiastes 3:12, Ecclesiastes 3:22; Ecclesiastes 8:15, are not to be cited where טוב אין stands in the dependent sentence; the thought is not thus to be improved; its form is not this, for טוב rof ,siht, beginning a sentence, is never interrog., but affirm.; thus טוב אין is not equals הלא טוב, but is a negative statement. It is above all doubt, that instead of שׁיּ בּאדם we must read בּאדם משּׁיּ, after Ecclesiastes 3:12, Ecclesiastes 3:22; Ecclesiastes 8:15; for, as at Job 33:17, the initial letter mem after the terminal mem has dropped out. Codd. of the lxx have accordingly corrected ὃ into πλὴν ὃ or εἰ μὴ ὃ (thus the Compl. Ald.), and the Syr. and Targ. render ש here by אלא דּ and אלהן דּ unless that he eat; Jerome also has non est bonum homini nisi quod in his Comm.; only the Venet. seeks to accommodate itself to the traditional text. Besides, only מ is to be inserted, not אם כי; for the phrase לאכל אם כי is used, but not כי אם ס. Instead of ba-a-da-m, the form la-a-da-m would be more agreeable, as at Ecclesiastes 6:12; Ecclesiastes 8:15. Hitzig remarks, without proof, that bāādām is in accordance with later grammatical forms, which admit ב equals "for" before the object. ב, Ecclesiastes 10:17, is neither prep. of the object, nor is ἐν, Sir. 3:7, the exponent of the dative (vid., Grimm). bāādām signifies, as at 2 Samuel 23:3, and as ἐν ἀνθ, Sir. 11:14, inter homines; also Ecclesiastes 3:12 designates by טוב טוב what among them (men) has to be regarded as good.
It is interesting to see how here the ancient and the modern forms of the language run together, without the former wholly passing over into the latter; משׁי, quam ut edat, is followed by norm. perfects, in accordance with that comprehensive peculiarity of the old syntax which Ewald, by an excellent figure, calls the dissolution of that which is coloured into grey. טוב ... הד is equivalent to לו הי, Psalm 49:19, the causative rendering of the phrase טוב ראה, Ecclesiastes 3:13, or ר טובה, Ecclesiastes 5:17; Ecclesiastes 6:6. It is well to attend to בּעמלו by his labour, which forms an essential component part of that which is approved of as good. Not a useless sluggard-life, but a life which connects together enjoyment and labour, is that which Koheleth thinks the best in the world. But this enjoyment, lightening, embellishing, seasoning labour, has also its But: etiam hoc vidi e manu Dei esse (pendere). The order of the words harmonizes with this Lat.; it follows the scheme referred to at Genesis 1:4; cf. on the contrary, Ecclesiastes 3:6. Instead of גּם־זה, neut. by attraction, there is here the immediately neut. גּם־זה; the book uniformly makes use of this fem. form instead of זאת. This or that is "in the hand of God," i.e., it is His gift, Ecclesiastes 3:13, Ecclesiastes 3:18, and it is thus conditioned by Him, since man cannot give it to himself; cf. minni, Isaiah 30:1; mimmenni, Hosea 8:4; mimmennu, 1 Kings 20:33.
This dependence of the enjoyment of life on God is established.
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