Ecclesiastes 1:4
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.

New Living Translation
Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes.

English Standard Version
A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.

New American Standard Bible
A generation goes and a generation comes, But the earth remains forever.

King James Bible
One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
A generation goes and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.

International Standard Version
A generation goes, a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.

NET Bible
A generation comes and a generation goes, but the earth remains the same through the ages.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Generations come, and generations go, but the earth lasts forever.

Jubilee Bible 2000
One generation passes away, and another generation comes, but the earth abides for ever.

King James 2000 Bible
One generation passes away, and another generation comes: but the earth abides forever.

American King James Version
One generation passes away, and another generation comes: but the earth stays for ever.

American Standard Version
One generation goeth, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth for ever.

Douay-Rheims Bible
One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth standeth for ever.

Darby Bible Translation
[One] generation passeth away, and [another] generation cometh, but the earth standeth for ever.

English Revised Version
One generation goeth, and another generation cometh; and the earth abideth for ever.

Webster's Bible Translation
One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

World English Bible
One generation goes, and another generation comes; but the earth remains forever.

Young's Literal Translation
A generation is going, and a generation is coming, and the earth to the age is standing.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

1:4-8 All things change, and never rest. Man, after all his labour, is no nearer finding rest than the sun, the wind, or the current of the river. His soul will find no rest, if he has it not from God. The senses are soon tired, yet still craving what is untried.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 4. - One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh. The translation rather weakens the force of the original, which is, a generation goeth, and a generation cometh. Man is only a pilgrim on earth; he soon passes away, and his place is occupied by others. Parallelisms of this sentiment will occur to every reader. Thus Ben-Sira, "All flesh waxeth old as a garment: for the covenant from the beginning is, Thou shalt die the death. As of the green leaves on a thick tree, some fall and some grow; so is the generation of flesh and blood, one cometh to an end, and another is born. Every work rotteth and consumeth away, and the worker thereof shall go withal" (Ecclus. 14:17, etc.; comp. Job 10:21; Psalm 39:13). The famous passage in Homer, 'Iliad,' 6:146, etc., is thus rendered by Lord Derby -

"The race of man is as the race of leaves:
Of leaves, one generation by the wind
Is scattered on the earth; another soon
In spring's luxuriant verdure bursts to light.
So with our race: these flourish, those decay."
(Comp. ibid., 21:464, etc.; Horace, 'Ars Poet.,' 60.) But (and) the earth abideth forever. While the constant succession of generations of men goes on, the earth remains unchanged and immovable. If men were as permanent as is their dwelling-place, their labors might profit; but as things are, the painful contrast between the two makes itself felt. The term, "for ever," like the Greek εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, does not necessarily imply eternity, but often denotes limited or conditioned duration, as when the slave is engaged to serve his master "for ever" (Exodus 21:6), or the hills are called "everlasting" (Genesis 49:26). This verse gives one instance of growth and decay in contrast with insensate continuance. The following verses give further examples.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh,.... This shows that a man can have no profit of all his labour under the sun, because of his short continuance; as soon almost as he has got anything by his labour, he must leave it: not only particular persons, but families, nations, and kingdoms; even all the inhabitants of the world, that are contemporaries, live together in the same age, in a certain period of time; these gradually go off by death, till the whole generation is consumed, as the generation of the Israelites in the wilderness were. Death is meant by passing away; it is a going out of time into eternity; a departure out of this world to another; a quitting of the earthly house of this tabernacle for the grave, the house appointed for all living; it is man's going to his long home: and this is going the way of all the earth; in a short time a whole race or generation of men go off the stage of the world, and then another succeeds (q); they come in by birth; and men are described from their birth by such as "come into the world"; for which there is a set time, as well as for going out, John 1:9; and these having been a while in the world, go off to make room for another generation; and so things have been from the beginning of the world, and will be to the end of it. Homer (r) illustrates this by the succession of leaves of trees; as is the generation of trees, he says, such is that of men; some leaves, the wind sheds them on the ground; others the budding forest puts forth, and they grow in their room in the springtime; so is the generation of men; one is born, and another ceases. Now death puts an end to all a man's enjoyments got by labour, his riches, honour, and natural knowledge; these all cease with him, and therefore he has no profit of all his labour under the sun;

but the earth abideth for ever; for a long time, until the dissolution of all things; and then, though that and all in it will be burnt up, yet it will rather be changed than destroyed; the form of it will be altered, when the substance of it will continue; it will not be annihilated, but renewed and refined. This is mentioned to show that the earth, which was made for man, of which he is the inhabitant and proprietor, is more stable than he himself; he soon passes off from it, but that continues; he returns to the earth, from whence he came, but that remains as it did; he dies, and leaves the earth behind him, and all his acquisitions in it; and therefore what profit has he of all his labours on it? Besides, that remains to have the same things transacted on it, over and over again, as has been already; God, that made it for men to dwell in, has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of men's habitations in it; he has appointed who shall dwell on it, and where, in successive generations; and till all these men are born and gone off, age after age, the earth shall continue, and then pass through its last change. The Targum is,

"the earth stands for ever, to bear the vengeance that is to come upon the world for the sins of the children of men.''

The Midrash Tanchuma, as Jarchi observes, interprets it of all the righteous of Israel, called the earth; and he himself, of the meek that shall inherit the earth: says R. Isaac (s),

"one kingdom comes, and another goes, but Israel abideth for ever.''

(q) "Nihil enim semper floret, aetas succedit aetati", Cicero. Orat. Philip. 11. (r) Iliad. 6. v. 146, &c. So Musaeus apud Clement. Stromat. l. 6. p 649. "Ut silvae foliis", &c. Horat. de Arte Poctica, v. 60. (s) Apud R. Joseph. Titatzak in loc.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

4. earth … for ever—(Ps 104:5). While the earth remains the same, the generations of men are ever changing; what lasting profit, then, can there be from the toils of one whose sojourn on earth, as an individual, is so brief? The "for ever" is comparative, not absolute (Ps 102:26).

Ecclesiastes 1:4 Additional Commentaries
Context
Preceding Generations Forgotten
3What advantage does man have in all his work Which he does under the sun? 4A generation goes and a generation comes, But the earth remains forever. 5Also, the sun rises and the sun sets; And hastening to its place it rises there again.…
Cross References
Psalm 104:5
He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.

Psalm 119:90
Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.

Psalm 125:1
A song of ascents. Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
Treasury of Scripture

One generation passes away, and another generation comes: but the earth stays for ever.

one generation

Ecclesiastes 6:12 For who knows what is good for man in this life, all the days of …

Genesis 5:3-31 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his …

Genesis 11:20-32 And Reu lived two and thirty years, and begat Serug…

Genesis 36:9 And these are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in mount Seir:

Genesis 47:9 And Jacob said to Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage …

Exodus 1:6,7 And Joseph died, and all his brothers, and all that generation…

Exodus 6:16 And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations; …

Psalm 89:47,48 Remember how short my time is: why have you made all men in vain…

Psalm 90:9,10 For all our days are passed away in your wrath: we spend our years …

Zechariah 1:5 Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live for ever?

but

Psalm 102:24-28 I said, O my God, take me not away in the middle of my days: your …

Psalm 104:5 Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.

Psalm 119:90,91 Your faithfulness is to all generations: you have established the …

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

2 Peter 3:10-13 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the …

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OT Poetry: Ecclesiastes 1:4 One generation goes and another generation comes (Ecclesiast. Ec Ecc Eccles.) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools

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