Ecclesiastes 5:19
Every man also to whom God has given riches and wealth, and has given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Ecclesiastes 5:19-20. Every man also, &c. — “And whosoever he be whom God hath blessed, not only with plenty of worldly goods, but also with such a noble and generous mind that he is not their slave, but truly master of them,” (so the Hebrew, השׂלישׂוsignifies,) “being able to enjoy them innocently, and that with cheerfulness, and to delight in doing good to others with them; let him be very thankful to Almighty God for so great a happiness, and acknowledge it to be a singular gift of his bounty.” For be shall not much remember the days of his life — “For he that is thus highly favoured by God, will not think life tedious or irksome; but, forgetting his past toils, and taking no” anxious “care for the future, will spend his time most comfortably; because God hath given him his hearths desire, in that inward tranquillity of mind, or, rather, joy and gladness of heart, wherewith God hath compensated all his pains, and testified his extraordinary kindness to him.” — Bishop Patrick. See notes on Ecclesiastes 2:24; and Ecclesiastes 3:12-13. 5:18-20 Life is God's gift. We must not view our calling as a drudgery, but take pleasure in the calling where God puts us. A cheerful spirit is a great blessing; it makes employments easy, and afflictions light. Having made a proper use of riches, a man will remember the days of his past life with pleasure. The manner in which Solomon refers to God as the Giver, both of life and its enjoyments, shows they ought to be received and to be used, consistently with his will, and to his glory. Let this passage recommend to all the kind words of the merciful Redeemer, Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life. Christ is the Bread of life, the only food of the soul. All are invited to partake of this heavenly provision.Rather, Behold what I have seen to be good, it is pleasant for a man to eat. Such thankful enjoyment is inculcated by the Law Deuteronomy 12:7, Deuteronomy 12:18. 19. As Ec 5:18 refers to the "laboring" man (Ec 5:12), so Ec 5:19 to the "rich" man, who gets wealth not by "oppression" (Ec 5:8), but by "God's gift." He is distinguished also from the "rich" man (Ec 6:2) in having received by God's gift not only "wealth," but also "power to eat thereof," which that one has not.

to take his portion—limits him to the lawful use of wealth, not keeping back from God His portion while enjoying his own.

Hath given him power, Heb. hath given him the dominion; who is the lord and master of his estate, not a slave to it. Of this and the former verse, See Poole "Ecclesiastes 2:24"; See Poole "Ecclesiastes 3:12", See Poole "Ecclesiastes 3:13". To take his portion to his own use, to use what God hath given him. Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth,.... Which include the whole of a man's substance; all his estate, personal and real; and all his goods and possessions, movable and immovable, as gold, silver, cattle, fields, and farms; which are all the gift of God, by whatsoever means they may be acquired or possessed;

and hath given him power; or, "caused him to have dominion" (r), over his wealth and riches, and not be a slave to them, as many are: but to have so much command of them and of himself, as

to eat thereof; comfortably enjoy them; and dispose of them to his own good, the good of others, and the glory of God. It follows,

and to take his portion; which God hath allotted him; to take it thankfully, and use it freely and comfortably;

and to rejoice in his labour; in the things he has been labouring for, in a cheerful use of them; blessing God for them, and taking the comfort of them;

this is the gift of God; to have such power over his substance, and not be a slave to it, and to enjoy the fruits of his labour, in a cheerful and comfortable manner; this is as much the gift of God as riches themselves (s).

(r) "eumque dominari eum fecerit", Tigurine version; "imperare fecit eum", Gejerus; "dominari eum fecerit", Rambachius. (s) "Di tibi divitias dederunt, artemque fruendi", Horat. Ep. l. 1. Ep. 4. v. 7.

Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. this is the gift of God] The words indicate a return to the sense of dependence on the Divine bounty, which we have seen in chs. Ecclesiastes 2:24, Ecclesiastes 3:13. Life itself, and the outward goods of life, few or many, and the power to enjoy these, all are alike God’s gifts.Verse 19. - Every man also. The sentence is anacoluthic, like Ecclesiastes 3:13, and may best be rendered, Also for every man to whom... this is a gift of God. Ginsburg connects the verse closely with the preceding one, supplying, "I have also seen that a man," etc. Whichever way we take the sentence, it comes to the same tiling, implying man's absolute dependence upon God's bounty. To whom God hath given riches and wealth. Before he can enjoy his possessions a man must first receive them from God's hands. The two terms here used are not quite synonymous. While the former word, osher; is used for wealth of any kind whatever, the latter, nekasim, means properly "wealth in cattle," like the Latin pecunia, and thence used generally for riches (volek). Hath given him power to eat thereof. Abundance is useless without the power to enjoy it. This is the gift of God, a great and special bounty from a loving and gracious God. Thus Horace, 'Epist.,' 1:4. 7 -

"Di tibi divitias dederunt artemque fruendi."

"The gods have given you wealth, and (what is more)
Have given you wisdom to enjoy your store."


(Howes.) "There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, riches kept by their possessor to his hurt: the same riches perish by an evil event; and he hath begotten a son, thus this one hath nothing in his hand." There is a gradation of evils. חולה רעה (cf. רע חלי ר, Ecclesiastes 6:2) is not an ordinary, but a morbid evil, i.e., a deep hurtful evil; as a wound, not a common one, but one particularly severe and scarcely curable, is called נחלה, e.g., Nahum 3:19. השׁ ... רא is, as at Ecclesiastes 10:5, an ellipt. relat. clause; cf. on the other hand, Ecclesiastes 6:1; the author elsewhere uses the scheme of the relat. clause without relat. pron. (vid., under Ecclesiastes 1:13; Ecclesiastes 3:16); the old language would use ראיתיה, instead of ראיתי, with the reflex. pron. The great evil consists in this, that riches are not seldom kept by their owner to his own hurt. Certainly שׁמוּר ל can also mean that which is kept for another, 1 Samuel 9:24; but how involved and constrained is Ginsburg's explanation: "hoarded up (by the rich man) for their (future) owner," viz., the heir to whom he intends to leave them! That ל can be used with the passive as a designation of the subj., vid., Ewald, 295c; certainly it corresponds as little as מן, with the Greek ὑπό, but in Greek we say also πλοῦτος φυλαχθεὶς τῷ κεκτημένῳ, vid., Rost's Syntax, 112. 4. The suff. of lera'atho refers to be'alav, the plur. form of which can so far remain out of view, that we even say adonim qosheh, Isaiah 19:4, etc. "To his hurt," i.e., at the last suddenly to lose that which has been carefully guarded. The narrative explanation of this, "to his hurt," begins with vav explic. Regarding 'inyan ra'. It is a casus adversus that is meant, such a stroke upon stroke as destroyed Job's possessions. The perf. והו supposes the case that the man thus suddenly made poor is the father of a son; the clause is logically related to that which follows as hypothet. antecedent, after the scheme. Genesis 33:13. The loss of riches would of itself make one who is alone unhappy, for the misfortune to be poor is less than the misfortunes to be rich and then to become poor; but still more unfortunate is the father who thought that by well-guarded wealth he had secured the future of his son, and who now leaves him with an empty hand.

What now follows is true of this rich man, but is generalized into a reference to every rich man, and then is recorded as a second great evil. As a man comes naked into the world, so also he departs from it again without being able to take with him any of the earthly wealth he has acquired.

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