Ecclesiastes 11:9
Parallel Verses
New International Version
You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

New Living Translation
Young people, it's wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do.

English Standard Version
Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

New American Standard Bible
Rejoice, young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes. Yet know that God will bring you to judgment for all these things.

King James Bible
Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Rejoice, young man, while you are young, and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth. And walk in the ways of your heart and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all of these things God will bring you to judgment.

International Standard Version
So enjoy yourself in your youth, young man, and be encouraged during your younger days. Live as you like, consistent with your world view, but keep in mind that God will bring you to account for everything.

NET Bible
Rejoice, young man, while you are young, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes, but know that God will judge your motives and actions.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
You young people should enjoy yourselves while you're young. You should let your hearts make you happy when you're young. Follow wherever your heart leads you and whatever your eyes see. But realize that God will make you give an account for all these things when he judges everyone.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth and walk in the ways of thine heart and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.

King James 2000 Bible
Rejoice, O young man, in your youth; and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth, and walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes: but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

American King James Version
Rejoice, O young man, in your youth; and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth, and walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes: but know you, that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

American Standard Version
Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Rejoice therefore, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart be in that which is good in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thy eyes: and know that for all these God will bring thee into judgment.

Darby Bible Translation
Rejoice, young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know that for all these [things] God will bring thee into judgment.

English Revised Version
Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.

Webster's Bible Translation
Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thy eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.

World English Bible
Rejoice, young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth, and walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

Young's Literal Translation
Rejoice, O young man, in thy childhood, And let thy heart gladden thee in days of thy youth, And walk in the ways of thy heart, And in the sight of thine eyes, And know thou that for all these, Doth God bring thee into judgment.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

11:7-10 Life is sweet to bad men, because they have their portion in this life; it is sweet to good men, because it is the time of preparation for a better; it is sweet to all. Here is a caution to think of death, even when life is most sweet. Solomon makes an effecting address to young persons. They would desire opportunity to pursue every pleasure. Then follow your desires, but be assured that God will call you into judgment. How many give loose to every appetite, and rush into every vicious pleasure! But God registers every one of their sinful thoughts and desires, their idle words and wicked words. If they would avoid remorse and terror, if they would have hope and comfort on a dying bed, if they would escape misery here and hereafter, let them remember the vanity of youthful pleasures. That Solomon means to condemn the pleasures of sin is evident. His object is to draw the young to purer and more lasting joys. This is not the language of one grudging youthful pleasures, because he can no longer partake of them; but of one who has, by a miracle of mercy, been brought back in safety. He would persuade the young from trying a course whence so few return. If the young would live a life of true happiness, if they would secure happiness hereafter, let them remember their Creator in the days of their youth.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 9. - Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth. Koheleth continues to inculcate the duty of rational enjoyment. "In youth" is during youth; not in the exercise of, or by reason of, thy fresh, unimpaired powers. The author urges his hearers to begin betimes to enjoy the blessing with which God surrounds them. Youth is the season of innocent, unalloyed pleasure; then, if ever, casting aside all tormenting anxiety concerning an unknown future, one may, as it is called, enjoy life. Let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth. Let the lightness of thy heart show itself in thy bearing and manner, even as it is said in Proverbs (Proverbs 15:13), "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance." Walk in the ways of thine heart (comp. Isaiah 57:17). Where the impulses and thoughts of thy heart lead thee. The wording looks as if the personal identity, the "I," and the thought were distinct. We have a similar severance in Ecclesiastes 7:25, only there the personality directs the thought, not the thought the "I," And in the sight of thine eyes. Follow after that on which thy eyes fix their regard (Ecclesiastes 2:10); for, as Job says (Job 31:7), "The heart walketh after the eyes." The Septuagint, in deference to the supposed requirements of strict morality, has (at least according to the text of some manuscripts) modified the received reading, translating the passage thus: Καὶ περιπάτει ἐν ὁδοῖς καρδίας σου ἄμωμος καὶ μὴ ἐν ὁράσει ὀφθαλμῶν, "And walk in the ways of thine heart blameless, and not in the sight of thine eyes." But μὴ is omitted by A, C, S. Others besides the Seventy have felt doubts about the bearing of the passage, as though it recommended either unbridled license in youth, or at any rate an unhallowed Epicureanism. To counteract the supposed evil teaching, some have credited Koheleth with stern irony. He is not recommending pleasure, say they, but warning against it. "Go on your way," he cries, "do as you list, sow your wild oats, live dissolutely, but remember that retribution will some day overtake you." But the counsel is seriously intended, and is quite consistent with many other passages which teach the duty of enjoying life as man's lot and part (see Ecclesiastes 2:24; Ecclesiastes 3:12, 13, 22; Ecclesiastes 5:18; Ecclesiastes 8:15, etc.). The seeming opposition between the recommendation here and in Numbers 15:39 is easily reconciled. The injunction in the Pentateuch, which was connected with a ceremonial observance, ran thus: "Remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them; and that ye go not about after your own heart, and your own eyes, after which ye used to go a-whoring." Here unlawful pleasures, contrary to the commandments, are forbidden; Ecclesiastes urges the pursuit of innocent pleasures, such as will stand scrutiny. Hoelemann, quoted by Wright, observes that this verse is the origin of a famous student-song of Germany, a stanza or two of which we may cite -

"Gaudeamus igitur, juvenes dum sumus;
Post exactam juventutem, post melestam senectutem,
Nos habebit humus ....


"Vita nostra brevis est, brevi finietur,
Venit mors velociter, rapit nes atrociter,
Nemini parcotur."
It is not Epicureanism, even in a modified form, that is here encouraged. For moderate and lawful pleasure Koheleth has always uttered his sanction, but the pleasure is to be such as God allows. This is to be accepted with all gratitude in the present, as the future is wholly beyond our ken and our control; it is all that is placed in our power, and it is enough to make life more than endurable. And then to temper unmixed joy, to prove that he is not recommending mere sensuality, to correct any wrong impression which the previous utterances may have conveyed, the writer adds another thought, a somber reflection which shows the religious conclusion to which he is working up. But know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment (mishpat). It has been doubted what is meant by "judgment," whether present or future, men's or God's. It has been taken to mean - God will make thy excesses prove scourges, by bringing on thee sickness, poverty, a miserable old age; or these distresses come as the natural consequences of youthful sins; or obloquy shall follow thee, and thou shall meet with deserved censure from thy fellow-men. But every one must feel that the solemn ending of this paragraph points to something more grave and important than any such results as those mentioned above, something that is concerned with that indefinable future which is ever looming in the dim horizon. Nothing satisfies the expected conclusion but a reference to the eternal judgment in the world beyond the grave. Shadowy and incomplete as was Koheleth's view of this great assize, his sense of God's justice in the face of the anomalies of human life was so strong that he can unhesitatingly appeal to the conviction of a coming inquisition, as a motive for the guidance of action and conduct. That in other passages he constantly apprehends earthly retribution, as the Pentateuch taught, and as his countrymen had learned to expect (see Ecclesiastes 2:26; Ecclesiastes 3:17; Ecclesiastes 7:17, 18), is no argument that he is not here rising to a higher view. Rather, the fact that the doctrine of temporal reward and punishment is found by experience to fail in many cases (comp. Ecclesiastes 8:14) has forced him to state his conclusion that this life is not the end of-everything, and that there is another existence in which actions shall be tried, justice done, retribution awarded. The statement is brief, for he knew nothing more than the fact, and could add nothing to it. His conception of the soul's condition in Sheol (see Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10) seems to point to some other state or period for this final judgment; but whether a resurrection is to precede this awful trial is left in uncertainty here, as elsewhere in the Old Testament. Cheyne and some other critics consider this last clause to be an interpolation, because it appears to militate against previous utterances; but this argument is unreasonable, as the paragraph comes in quite naturally as the needed conclusion, and without it the section would halt and be incomplete. A similar allusion is contained in the epilogue (Ecclesiastes 12:14). A correcter, who desired to remove all seeming contradictions and discrepancies from the work, would not have been satisfied with inserting this gloss, but would have displayed his remedial measures in other places. Of this proceeding, however, no traces are discernible by an unprejudiced eye.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth,.... This advice may be considered as serious; and either as relating to natural, corporeal, and temporal delight and pleasure, under due limitations; that as mirth and cheerfulness, or a free use of the creatures of God, with moderation and temperance, is allowable to all men in common, and is spoken of throughout this book as commendable, and is healthful and profitable to men; so it is particularly suitable to the youthful age, whose natural desires may be enjoyed, and their outward senses may be gratified, in a lawful way, so far as is consistent with the fear of God, and the expectation of a future judgment: or it may be considered with respect to religious and spiritual exercises; as young men should remember their Creator in the days of their youth, as it follows; so they should rejoice in God their Maker, Psalm 149:2; they should rejoice not to do evil, to which human nature is inclined, especially in youth, but to do good; should rejoice, not in the ways of sin, but in the ways of wisdom; not in any outward attainment of beauty, wit, strength, or riches, but in the grace of God; not in themselves, or their boastings, but in Christ, his person, righteousness, and salvation; not in the things of time and sense, but in hope of the glory of God;

and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth; here is a different word for youth than the former, which Alshech distinguishes thus; the first designs the time to the age of thirteen, and this from thence to twenty. Or, "let thine heart do thee good", so the Septuagint. The Targum is,

"and let thine heart be good in thee.''

Symmachus renders it, "and let thine heart be in good"; the thoughts of thine heart be employed about that which is good, spiritual, heavenly, and divine; the affections of thine heart set thereon; and the will and desires of thine heart be drawn out after such things: let thine heart prompt and put thee on doing that which is good, with delight and pleasure; but, in order, to all this, the heart must be made good by the spirit and grace of God;

and walk in the ways of thy heart; being created a clean one, sprinkled, purged, and purified by the blood of Christ; in which the fear of God is put; the laws of God are written; where Christ is formed, and his word dwells richly, and he himself by faith, where the Spirit of God and his graces are: and then to walk in the ways of such a heart is to walk in the fear of God, according to his word, as Christ is an example; and to walk after the spirit, and not after the flesh. The Septuagint and Arabic versions are, "and walk in the ways of thine heart unblamable": the Targum,

"and walk in humility in the ways of thine heart:''

which all agree with the sense given: so Alshech interprets the ways of the heart; of the ways of the good imagination of good men;

and in the sight of thine eyes; as enlightened by the Spirit of God, directing and guiding in the way in which a man should walk; looking unto Jesus, all the while he is walking or running his Christian race; and walking in him, as he has received him; pressing towards him, the mark, for the prize of the high calling. The Targum is,

"and be cautious of the sight of thine eyes, and look not upon evil.''

The Septuagint and Arabic versions insert the negative; "and not in the sight of thine eyes". Most interpreters understand all this its an ironic concession to young men, to indulge themselves in carnal mirth, to take their swing of sinful pleasures, to do all their corrupt hearts incline them to; and to gratify their outward senses and carnal lusts to the uttermost; even the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life, which young men are most addicted to: do all this, as if it was said, and see what will be the issue of it; or, do all this if you can, with this one thing bore in mind, a future judgment; like those expressions in 1 Kings 22:15; and to this sense the following clause is thought most to incline: and the rather, as the above phrases are generally used in a bad sense;

but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment; not temporal, but eternal; not in this present life, but in the world to come; the judgment that will be after death, the last and awful judgment; and which is certain, may be known; of which a man may be assured from the light of nature, and from divine revelation; See Gill on Ecclesiastes 3:17; into which all men will be brought, even whether they will or not; and every work shall be brought into it, good or bad, open or secret, Ecclesiastes 12:14. Wherefore "these things" may respect either; and the consideration of a future judgment should influence the lives of men, and engage them both to perform acts of piety and religion in youth, and throughout the whole of life, and to shun and avoid everything that is evil. Herodotus (y) speaks of a custom among the Egyptians, at their feasts; that, just at the close of them, one carries about in a coffin the image of a dead man, exactly like one, made of wood, the length of a cubit or two, showing it to all the guests; saying, look upon it, drink, and take pleasure, for such shalt thou be when dead.

(y) Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 78.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

9. Rejoice—not advice, but warning. So 1Ki 22:15, is irony; if thou dost rejoice (carnally, Ec 2:2; 7:2, not moderately, as in Ec 5:18), &c., then "know that … God will bring thee into judgment" (Ec 3:17; 12:14).

youth … youth—distinct Hebrew words, adolescence or boyhood (before Ec 11:10), and full-grown youth. It marks the gradual progress in self-indulgence, to which the young especially are prone; they see the roses, but do not discover the thorns, until pierced by them. Religion will cost self-denial, but the want of it infinitely more (Lu 14:28).

Ecclesiastes 11:9 Additional Commentaries
Context
Enjoy Your Years
8Indeed, 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. 9Rejoice, young man, during your childhood, and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes. Yet know that God will bring you to judgment for all these things. 10So, remove grief and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting.
Cross References
Luke 12:19
And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry."'

Romans 14:10
You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat.

Numbers 15:39
You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes.

Job 31:7
if my steps have turned from the path, if my heart has been led by my eyes, or if my hands have been defiled,

Ecclesiastes 2:10
I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil.

Ecclesiastes 3:17
I said to myself, "God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed."

Ecclesiastes 6:9
Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Ecclesiastes 7:14
When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.

Ecclesiastes 12:14
For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.
Treasury of Scripture

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth; and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth, and walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes: but know you, that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

rejoice

1 Kings 18:27 And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry …

1 Kings 22:15 So he came to the king. And the king said to him, Micaiah, shall …

Luke 15:12,13 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion …

in thy youth

Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, while the evil …

1 Kings 18:12 And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from you, that the …

Lamentations 3:27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke of his youth.

walk

Numbers 15:30 But the soul that does ought presumptuously, whether he be born in …

Numbers 22:32 And the angel of the LORD said to him, Why have you smitten your …

Deuteronomy 29:19 And it come to pass, when he hears the words of this curse, that …

Job 31:7 If my step has turned out of the way, and my heart walked after my …

Psalm 81:12 So I gave them up to their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their …

Jeremiah 7:24 But they listened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the …

Jeremiah 23:17 They say still to them that despise me, The LORD has said, You shall …

Jeremiah 44:16,17 As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD, …

Acts 14:16 Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.

Ephesians 2:2,3 Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, …

1 Peter 4:3,4 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have worked the will …

in the sight

Ecclesiastes 2:10 And whatever my eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not …

Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that …

Genesis 6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; …

Joshua 7:21 When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two …

2 Samuel 11:2-4 And it came to pass in an evening, that David arose from off his …

Matthew 5:28 But I say to you, That whoever looks on a woman to lust after her …

1 John 2:15,16 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If …

know

Ecclesiastes 3:17 I said in my heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: …

Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, …

Psalm 50:4-6 He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he …

Acts 17:30,31 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all …

Acts 24:25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to …

Romans 2:5-11 But after your hardness and impenitent heart treasure up to yourself …

Romans 14:10 But why do you judge your brother? or why do you set at nothing your brother?…

1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who …

2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every …

2 Peter 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are …

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Revelation 20:12-15 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books …

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