|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:9-11 Men's hearts and their corruptions are the same now as in former times; their desires, and pursuits, and complaints, still the same. This should take us from expecting happiness in the creature, and quicken us to seek eternal blessings. How many things and persons in Solomon's day were thought very great, yet there is no remembrance of them now!
Verse 10. - Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? The writer conceives that objection may be taken to his statement at the end of the preceding verse, so he proceeds to reiterate it in stronger terms. "Thing" is dabar (see on ver. 8). Septuagint, "He who shall speak and say, Behold, this is new," seil. Where is he? Vulgate, "Nothing is new under the sun, nor is any one able to say, Lo! this is fresh." The apparent exceptions to the rule are mistaken inferences. It hath been already of old time, which was before us. In the vast aeons of the past, recorded or unrecorded, the seeming novelty has already been known. The discoveries of earlier time are forgotten, and seem quite new when revived; but closer investigation proves their previous existence.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Is there any thing whereof it may be said, see, this is new?.... This is an appeal to all men for the truth of the above observation, and carries in it a strong denial that there is anything new under the sun; and is an address to men to inquire into the truth of it, and thoroughly examine it, and see if they can produce any material objection to it; look into the natural world, and the same natural causes will be seen producing the same effects; or into the moral world, and there are the same virtues, and their contrary; or into the political world, and the same schemes are forming and pursuing, and which issue in the same things, peace or war; or into the learned world, and the same languages, arts, and sciences, are taught and learned; and the same things said over again (i): or into the mechanic world, and the same trades and businesses are carrying on: or the words may be considered as a concession, and carry in them the form of an objection, "there is a thing (k) whereof it may be said", or a man may say, "see, this is new"; so the Targum; there were some things in Solomon's time it is allowed that might be objected, as there are in ours, to which the answer is,
it hath been already of old time which was before us; what things are reckoned new are not so; they were known and in use in ages past, long before we had a being. R. Alshech takes the words to be an assertion, and not an interrogation, and interprets it of a spiritual temple in time to come, which yet was created before the world was.
(i) "Nullum est jam dictum, quod non dictum sit prius", Terent Prolog. Eunuch. v. 41. (k) "est quidpiam", Pagninus, Mercerus, Gejerus; "est res", Drusius, Cocceius, Rambachius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. old time—Hebrew, "ages."
which was—The Hebrew plural cannot be joined to the verb singular. Therefore translate: "It hath been in the ages before; certainly it hath been before us" [Holden]. Or, as Maurer: "That which has been (done) before us (in our presence, 1Ch 16:33), has been (done) already in the old times."
Ecclesiastes 1:10 Parallel Commentaries
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