Ecclesiastes 1:16
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
I said to myself, "Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge."

New Living Translation
I said to myself, "Look, I am wiser than any of the kings who ruled in Jerusalem before me. I have greater wisdom and knowledge than any of them."

English Standard Version
I said in my heart, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.”

New American Standard Bible
I said to myself, "Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has observed a wealth of wisdom and knowledge."

King James Bible
I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I said to myself, "Look, I have amassed wisdom far beyond all those who were over Jerusalem before me, and my mind has thoroughly grasped wisdom and knowledge."

International Standard Version
I told myself, "I have become greater and wiser than anyone who ruled before me in Jerusalem—yes, I have acquired a great deal of wisdom and knowledge."

NET Bible
I thought to myself, "I have become much wiser than any of my predecessors who ruled over Jerusalem; I have acquired much wisdom and knowledge."

New Heart English Bible
I said to myself, "Look, I have obtained for myself great wisdom above all who were before me in Jerusalem. Yes, my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I thought to myself, "I have grown wiser than anyone who [has ruled] Jerusalem before me. I've had a lot of experience with wisdom and knowledge."

JPS Tanakh 1917
I spoke with my own heart, saying: 'Lo, I have gotten great wisdom, more also than all that were before me over Jerusalem'; yea, my heart hath had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.

New American Standard 1977
I said to myself, “Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has observed a wealth of wisdom and knowledge.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
I communed with my own heart, saying, Behold, I am come to great estate and have gotten more wisdom than all those that have been before me in Jerusalem; and my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.

King James 2000 Bible
I communed with my own heart, saying, Lo, I have come to greatness, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.

American King James Version
I communed with my own heart, saying, See, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yes, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.

American Standard Version
I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I have gotten me great wisdom above all that were before me in Jerusalem; yea, my heart hath had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I have spoken in my heart, saying: Behold I am become great, and have gone beyond all in wisdom, that were before me in Jerusalem: and my mind hath contemplated many things wisely, and I have learned.

Darby Bible Translation
I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I have become great and have acquired wisdom more than all they that have been before me over Jerusalem; and my heart hath seen much of wisdom and knowledge.

English Revised Version
I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I have gotten me great wisdom above all that were before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart hath had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.

Webster's Bible Translation
I communed with my own heart, saying, Lo, I have come to great estate, and have gained more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: and my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.

World English Bible
I said to myself, "Behold, I have obtained for myself great wisdom above all who were before me in Jerusalem. Yes, my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge."

Young's Literal Translation
I -- I spake with my heart, saying, 'I, lo, I have magnified and added wisdom above every one who hath been before me at Jerusalem, and my heart hath seen abundantly wisdom and knowledge.
Study Bible
With Wisdom Comes Sorrow
15What is crooked cannot be straightened and what is lacking cannot be counted. 16I said to myself, "Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has observed a wealth of wisdom and knowledge." 17And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind.…
Cross References
1 Kings 3:12
behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you.

1 Kings 4:30
Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.

1 Kings 10:23
So King Solomon became greater than all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom.

Ecclesiastes 2:9
Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me.
Treasury of Scripture

I communed with my own heart, saying, See, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yes, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.

communed

2 Kings 5:20 But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my …

Psalm 4:4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart on your bed, …

Psalm 77:6 I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with my own …

Isaiah 10:7-14 However, he means not so, neither does his heart think so; but it …

Jeremiah 22:14 That said, I will build me a wide house and large chambers, and cuts …

Ezekiel 38:10,11 Thus said the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same …

Daniel 4:30 The king spoke, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have …

lo

Ecclesiastes 2:9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in …

1 Kings 3:12,13 Behold, I have done according to your words: see, I have given you …

1 Kings 4:30 And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the …

1 Kings 10:7,23,24 However, I believed not the words, until I came, and my eyes had …

2 Chronicles 1:10-12 Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before …

2 Chronicles 2:12 Huram said moreover, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, that made …

2 Chronicles 9:22,23 And king Solomon passed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom…

great experience of

Hebrews 5:14 But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age…

(16) Wisdom and knowledge.--Isaiah 30:6; Romans 11:33.

Verse 16. - Koheleth now arrives at his first conclusion, that wisdom is vanity. I communed with mine own heart. The expression suggests, as it were, an internal dialogue, as the Greek Venetian puts it, Διείλεγμαι ἐγὼ ξὺν τῇ καρδίᾳ μου (comp. Ecclesiastes 2:1, 15). Lo, I am come to great estate. If this be taken by itself, it makes Koheleth speak of his power and majesty first, and of his progress in wisdom afterwards; but it is best to connect it with what follows, and to confine the clause to one idea; thus: "I have obtained great and ever greater wisdom" - I have continually added to my stores of knowledge and experience. Than all they (above all) that have been before me in (over) Jerusalem. Who are the rulers alluded to? Solomon himself was only the second of the Israelite kings who reigned there; of the Canaanite princes who may have made that their capital, we have no knowledge, nor is R likely that Solomon would compare himself with them. The Targum has altered the approved reading, and gives, "Above all the wise men that were in Jerusalem before me." The reading, "in [instead of 'over'] Jerusalem," has indeed some manuscript authority, and is confirmed by the Septuagint, Vulgate, and Syriac, but it is evidently a correction of the text by critics who saw the difficulty of the authorized wording. Motais and others assert that the preposition in the Masoretic text, עַל (all, often means "in," as well as "over," when the reference is to an elevated spot; e.g., Isaiah 38:20; Hosea 11:11. But even granting this, we are still uncertain who are the persons meant. Commentators point to Melchizedek, Adonizedek, and Araunah among rulers, and to Ethan, Heman, Chalcol, and Darda (1 Kings 4:31) among sages. But we know nothing of the wisdom of the former, and there is no tangible reason why the latter should be designated "before me in Jerusalem." Doubtless the words point to a succession of kings who had reigned in Jerusalem, and the writer, involuntarily, perhaps, betrays his assumed character, in relying an excusable anachronism, while giving to the personated monarch a position which could not belong to the historical Solomon. Yea, my heart had great experience of (hath seen abundantly, κατὰ πολύ Venetian) wisdom and knowledge, הַרְבֵה used adverbially qualifies the word before it, "hath seen." The heart, as we have observed (ver. 13), is considered the seat of the intellectual life. In saying that the heart hath seen wisdom, the writer means that his mind has taken it in, apprehended and appropriated it (comp. Ecclesiastes 8:16; Job 4:8). Wisdom and knowledge; chokmah and daath; σοφίαν καὶ γνῶσιν (Septuagint), the former regarding the ethical and practical side, the latter the speculative, which leads to the other (comp. Isaiah 33:6; Romans 11:33). I communed with my own heart,.... That is, looked into it, examined it, and considered what a stock and fund of knowledge he had in it, after all his researches into it; what happiness accrued to him by it, and what judgment upon the whole was to be formed upon it; and he spoke within himself after this manner:

saying, lo, I am come to great estate; or become a great man; famous for wisdom, arrived to a very great pitch of it; greatly increased in it, through a diligent application to it;

and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem; or, "that before me were over Jerusalem" (p); governors of it, or in it; not only than the Jebusites, but than Saul, the first king of Israel, or than even his father David; or, as Gussetius (q), than any princes, rulers, and civil magistrates in Jerusalem, in his own days or in the days of his father; and also than all the priests and prophets, as well as princes, that ever had been there: and indeed he was wiser than all men, 1 Kings 4:30; and even than any that had been in Jerusalem, or any where else, or that should be hereafter, excepting the Messiah; see 1 Kings 3:12. And seeing this is said of him by others, and even by the Lord himself, it might not only be said with truth by himself, but without ostentation; seeing it was necessary it should be said to answer his purpose, which was to show the vanity of human wisdom in its highest pitch; and it was nowhere to be found higher than in himself;

yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge; or, "saw much wisdom and knowledge" (r); he thoroughly understood it, he was a complete master of it; it was not a superficial knowledge he had attained unto, or a few lessons of it he had committed to memory; some slight notions in his head, or scraps of things he had collected together, in an undigested manner; but he had made himself thoroughly acquainted with everything worthy to be known, and had digested it in his mind.

(p) "super Jerusalaim", Montanus, Cocceius, Schmidt; "qui praefueriut ante me Jeruscthalamis", Junius & Tremellius. (q) Comment. Heb. p. 604. (r) "vidit multum sapientiae et scientiae", Montanus, Amama; "vidit plurimam sapientiam et scientiam", Tigurine version. 16. communed with … heart—(Ge 24:45).

come to great estate—Rather, "I have magnified and gotten" (literally, "added," increased), etc.

all … before me in Jerusalem—namely, the priests, judges, and two kings that preceded Solomon. His wisdom exceeded that of all before Jesus Christ, the antitypical Koheleth, or "Gatherer of men," (Lu 13:34), and "Wisdom" incarnate (Mt 11:19; 12:42).

had … experience—literally, "had seen" (Jer 2:31). Contrast with this glorying in worldly wisdom (Jer 9:23, 24).1:12-18 Solomon tried all things, and found them vanity. He found his searches after knowledge weariness, not only to the flesh, but to the mind. The more he saw of the works done under the sun, the more he saw their vanity; and the sight often vexed his spirit. He could neither gain that satisfaction to himself, nor do that good to others, which he expected. Even the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom discovered man's wickedness and misery; so that the more he knew, the more he saw cause to lament and mourn. Let us learn to hate and fear sin, the cause of all this vanity and misery; to value Christ; to seek rest in the knowledge, love, and service of the Saviour.
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