Ecclesiastes 11:2
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New International Version
Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.

New Living Translation
But divide your investments among many places, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead.

English Standard Version
Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.

New American Standard Bible
Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth.

King James Bible
Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Give a portion to seven or even to eight, for you don't know what disaster may happen on earth.

International Standard Version
Apportion what you have into seven, or even eight parts, because you don't know what disaster might befall the land.

NET Bible
Divide your merchandise among seven or even eight investments, for you do not know what calamity may happen on earth.

New Heart English Bible
Give a portion to seven, yes, even to eight; for you do not know what evil will be on the earth.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Divide what you have into seven parts, or even into eight, because you don't know what disaster may happen on earth.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Divide a portion into seven, yea, even into eight; For thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.

New American Standard 1977
Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Give a portion to seven and even to eight, for thou dost not know what evil shall come upon the earth.

King James 2000 Bible
Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for you know not what evil shall be upon the earth.

American King James Version
Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for you know not what evil shall be on the earth.

American Standard Version
Give a portion to seven, yea, even unto eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Give a portion to seven, and also to eight: for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.

Darby Bible Translation
Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.

English Revised Version
Give a portion to seven, yea, even unto eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.

Webster's Bible Translation
Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.

World English Bible
Give a portion to seven, yes, even to eight; for you don't know what evil will be on the earth.

Young's Literal Translation
Give a portion to seven, and even to eight, For thou knowest not what evil is on the earth.
Study Bible
Cast Your Bread upon the Waters
1Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days. 2Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth. 3If the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth; and whether a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever the tree falls, there it lies.…
Cross References
Matthew 5:42
Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Luke 6:30
Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what is yours, do not demand it back.

1 Timothy 6:18
Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, and to be generous and ready to share,

1 Timothy 6:19
treasuring up for themselves a firm foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

Psalm 112:9
He has given freely to the poor, His righteousness endures forever; His horn will be exalted in honor.

Proverbs 19:17
One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, And He will repay him for his good deed.

Ecclesiastes 11:3
If the clouds are full, they pour out rain upon the earth; and whether a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever the tree falls, there it lies.

Ecclesiastes 11:8
Indeed, if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything that is to come will be futility.

Ecclesiastes 12:1
Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near when you will say, "I have no delight in them";
Treasury of Scripture

Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for you know not what evil shall be on the earth.

a portion

Nehemiah 8:10 Then he said to them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, …

Esther 9:19,22 Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelled in the unwalled towns…

Psalm 112:9 He has dispersed, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures …

Luke 6:30-35 Give to every man that asks of you; and of him that takes away your …

1 Timothy 6:18,19 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, …

seven

Job 5:19 He shall deliver you in six troubles: yes, in seven there shall no …

Proverbs 6:16 These six things does the LORD hate: yes, seven are an abomination to him:

Micah 5:5 And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into …

Matthew 18:22 Jesus said to him, I say not to you, Until seven times: but, Until …

Luke 17:4 And if he trespass against you seven times in a day, and seven times …

for

Daniel 4:27 Why, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you, and break off your …

Acts 11:28-30 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the …

Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if a man be overtaken in a fault, you which are spiritual, …

Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Hebrews 13:3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which …

(2) To seven, and also to eight.--Quite similar forms of expression occur in Job 5:19; Proverbs 30:21; Amos 1:3; Micah 5:4. The numbers seven and eight are used indefinitely in the advice to multiply our modes of exertion, ignorant as we are which may miscarry.

Verse 2. - Give a portion to seven, and also to eight. This further explains, without any metaphor, the injunction of beneficence in ver. 1. Give portions of thy "bread" to any number of those who need. Delitzsch and others who interpret the passage of maritime enterprise would see in it a recommendation (like the proceeding of Jacob, Genesis 32:16, etc.) not to risk all at once, to divide one's ventures into various ships. But the expression in the text is merely a mode of enjoining unlimited benevolence. The numbers are purposely indefinite. Instances of this form of speech are common enough (see Proverbs 6:16; Proverbs 30:7-9, etc.; Amos 1:3. etc.; Micah 5:5; Ecclus. 23:16 Ecclus. 26:5, 28). Wordsworth notes that the word for "portion" (chelek) is that used specially for the portion of the Levites (Numbers 18:20); and in accordance with his view of the date of the book, finds here an injunction not to confine one's offerings to the Levites of Judah, but to extend them to the refugees who come from Israel. For thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth. A time may come when you yourself may need help; the power of giving may no longer be yours; therefore make friends now who may be your comfort in distress. So the Lord urges, "Make to yourselves friends by means of the mammon of unrighteousness" (Luke 16:9). It seems a low motive on which to base charitable actions; but men act on such secondary motives every day, and the moralist cannot ignore them. In the Book of Proverbs secondary and worldly motives are largely urged as useful in the conduct of life (see the Introduction to Proverbs, pp. 8, 9.). St. Paul reminds us that we some day may need a brother's help (Galatians 6:1). The Fathers have spiritualized the passage, so as to make it of Christian application, far away indeed from Koheleth's thought. Thus St. Gregory: "By the number seven is understood the whole of this temporal condition... this is shown more plainly when the number eight is mentioned after it. For when another number besides follows after seven, it is set forth by this very addition, that this temporal state is brought to an end and closed by eternity. For by the number seven Solomon expressed the present time, which is passed by periods of seven days. But by the number eight he designated eternal life, which the Lord made known to us by his resurrection. For he rose in truth on the Lord's day, which, as following the seventh day, i.e. the sabbath, is found to be the eighth from the creation. But it is well said, 'Give portions,' etc. As if it were plainly said, 'So dispense temporal goods, as not to forget to desire those that are eternal. For thou oughtest to provide for the future by well-doing, who knowest not what tribulation succeeds from the future judgment'" ('Moral,' 35:17, Oxford transl.). Give a portion to seven, and also to eight,.... Or, a "part" (q); not the whole of a man's substance, for he must have to support himself and his family; he that does not take care of that is worse than an infidel; a man may bestow all his goods on the poor, and not have charity; though no doubt there was true charity, or love, in the poor widow that threw in all her substance into the treasury, which was an extraordinary case, 1 Timothy 5:8; but a man is to give of such things that he has, ordinarily, and not all that he has, Luke 11:41; he is to give according to his ability, and what he can spare from the service of himself and family; and this is to be distributed, and given in parts to the poor, according to their necessities; not all to one, but something to everyone, "to seven, and also to eight": if seven persons apply, give them everyone a part; and, if an eighth person comes, send him not away empty; give to every one that asketh, Luke 6:30; compare with this phrase Micah 5:5; Some think this respects time, so Aben Ezra; that a man should give constantly and continually, should be daily giving, all the seven days of the week, and when the eighth day comes, or the week begins again, go on in the same course. The Targum is,

"put a good part of seed in thy field in Tisri (the seventh month), and do not cease from sowing even in Casleu,''

the eighth month;

for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth; what calamities shall come upon it, which may sweep away all a man's substance; it may be destroyed by fire, or washed away by a deluge of water, or plundered by an enemy; or, however, the day of death may quickly come, as it certainly shall, and then it will be no longer in a man's power to do good with what he has. Moreover, the arguments which covetous men use against liberality, the wise man uses for it; they argue that bad times may come, and they may sustain great losses; or have a greater charge upon them, a growing family; or they may live to old age, and want it themselves: be it no, these are reasons why they should give liberally while they can; that when these things they fear shall come upon them, they may be relieved and supplied by others; for those that show mercy shall find mercy; and this is the way to make themselves friends in a time of need, and against it; see Luke 16:9.

(q) "partem", Pagninus, Montanus, Munster, Vatablus, Drusius, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, &c. 2. portion—of thy bread.

seven—the perfect number.

eight—even to more than seven; that is, "to many" (so "waters," Ec 11:1), nay, even to very many in need (Job 5:19; Mic 5:5).

evil—The day may be near, when you will need the help of those whom you have bound to you by kindnesses (Lu 16:9). The very argument which covetous men use against liberality (namely, that bad times may come), the wise man uses for it.11:1-6 Solomon presses the rich to do good to others. Give freely, though it may seem thrown away and lost. Give to many. Excuse not thyself with the good thou hast done, from the good thou hast further to do. It is not lost, but well laid out. We have reason to expect evil, for we are born to trouble; it is wisdom to do good in the day of prosperity. Riches cannot profit us, if we do not benefit others. Every man must labour to be a blessing to that place where the providence of God casts him. Wherever we are, we may find good work to do, if we have but hearts to do it. If we magnify every little difficulty, start objections, and fancy hardships, we shall never go on, much less go through with our work. Winds and clouds of tribulation are, in God's hands, designed to try us. God's work shall agree with his word, whether we see it or not. And we may well trust God to provide for us, without our anxious, disquieting cares. Be not weary in well-doing, for in due season, in God's time, you shall reap, Ga 6:9.
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