|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.
Verse 6. - The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; literally, going towards the south, and circling towards the north. These words, as we have seen above, are referred to the sun by the Septuagint, Vulgate, and Syriac; but it is best to make this verse refer only to the wind - a fresh example of motion continually repeated with no real progress to an end. Thus each verse comprises one subject and idea, ver. 4 being concerned with the earth, ver. 5 with the sun, ver. 6 with the wind, and ver. 7 with the waters. There seems to be no particular force in the naming of north and south, unless it be in contrast to the sun's motion from east to west, mentioned in the preceding verse. The words following show that these two directions are not alone intended. Thus the four quarters are virtually included. It whirleth about continually. The original is more forcible, giving by its very form the idea of weary monotony. The subject is delayed till the last, thus: Going towards the south... circling, circling, goeth the wind; i.e. it blows from all quarters at its own caprice. And the wind returneth again according to his circuits. And on its circlings returneth the wind; it comes back to the point whence it started. The wind, seemingly the freest of all created things, is bound by the same law of immutable changeableness, insensate repetition.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north,.... The word "wind" is not in this clause in the original text, but is taken from the next, and so may be rendered, "it goeth towards the south", &c. that is, the sun (x) before mentioned, which as to its diurnal and nocturnal course in the daytime goes towards the south, and in the night towards the north; and as to its annual course before the winter solstice it goes to the south, and before the summer solstice to the north, as interpreters observe. And the Targum not only interprets this clause, but even the whole verse, of the sun, paraphrasing the whole thus,
"it goes all the side of the south in the daytime, and goes round to the side of the north in the night, by the way of the abyss; it goes its circuit, and comes to the wind of the south corner in the revolution of Nisan and Tammuz; and by its circuit it returns to the wind of the north corner in the revolution of Tisri and Tebet; it goes out of the confines of the east in the morning, and goes into the confines of the west in the evening.''
But Aben Ezra understands the whole of the wind, as our version and others do, which is sometimes in the south point of the heavens, and is presently in the north;
it whirleth about continually; and the wind returneth again according to his circuits; which may be meant of the circuits of the sun, which has a great influence on the wind, often raising it in a morning and laying it at night; but it is the wind itself which whirls and shifts about all the points of the compass, and returns from whence it came, where the treasures of it are. Agreeably to Solomon's account of the wind is Plato's definition of it,
"the wind is the motion of the air round about the earth (y).''
This also exemplifies the rotation of men and things, the instability, inconstancy, and restless state of all sublunary enjoyments; the unprofitableness of men's labours, who, while they labour for riches and honour, and natural knowledge, labour for the wind, and fill their belly with east wind, which cannot satisfy, Ecclesiastes 5:16; as well as the frailty of human life, which is like the wind that passes away and comes not again; and in this respect, like the rest of the instances, exceed man, which returns to its place, but man does not, Job 7:7.
(x) Jarchi, Alshech, and Titatzak, interpret it of the sun; so Mercerus, Varenius, Gejerus; accordingly Mr. Broughton renders it "he walketh to the south." (y) Definition. p. 1337. Ed. Ficin.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. according to his circuits—that is, it returns afresh to its former circuits, however many be its previous veerings about. The north and south winds are the two prevailing winds in Palestine and Egypt.
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