Ecclesiastes 2:13
Parallel Verses
New International Version
I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness.

New Living Translation
I thought, "Wisdom is better than foolishness, just as light is better than darkness.

English Standard Version
Then I saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness.

New American Standard Bible
And I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.

King James Bible
Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
And I realized that there is an advantage to wisdom over folly, like the advantage of light over darkness.

International Standard Version
I concluded that wisdom is more useful than foolishness, just as light is more useful than darkness.

NET Bible
I realized that wisdom is preferable to folly, just as light is preferable to darkness:

GOD'S WORD® Translation
But I saw that wisdom has an advantage over foolishness as light has an advantage over darkness.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And I have seen that wisdom excels folly as far as light excels darkness.

King James 2000 Bible
Then I saw that wisdom excels folly, as far as light excels darkness.

American King James Version
Then I saw that wisdom excels folly, as far as light excels darkness.

American Standard Version
Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And I saw that wisdom excelled folly, as much as light differeth from darkness.

Darby Bible Translation
And I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as light excelleth darkness.

English Revised Version
Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.

Webster's Bible Translation
Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.

World English Bible
Then I saw that wisdom excels folly, as far as light excels darkness.

Young's Literal Translation
And I saw that there is an advantage to wisdom above folly, like the advantage of the light above the darkness.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

2:12-17 Solomon found that knowledge and prudence were preferable to ignorance and folly, though human wisdom and knowledge will not make a man happy. The most learned of men, who dies a stranger to Christ Jesus, will perish equally with the most ignorant; and what good can commendations on earth do to the body in the grave, or the soul in hell? And the spirits of just men made perfect cannot want them. So that if this were all, we might be led to hate our life, as it is all vanity and vexation of spirit.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 13. - Then (and) I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness; or, there is profit, advantage (περίσσεια Septuagint, Ecclesiastes 1:3) to wisdom over folly, as the advantage of light over darkness. This result, at any rate, was obtained - he learned that wisdom had a certain value, that it was as much superior to folly, in its effects on men, as light is more beneficial than darkness. It is a natural metaphor to represent spiritual and intellectual development as light, and mental and moral depravity as darkness (comp. Ephesians 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:5).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Then I sat that wisdom excelleth folly,.... However, this upon a review of things he could not but own, that natural wisdom and knowledge, though there was no true happiness and satisfaction in them, yet they greatly exceeded folly and madness;

as far as light excelleth darkness; as the light of the day the darkness of the night; the one is pleasant and delightful, the other very uncomfortable; the one useful to direct in walking, the other very unsafe to walk in: light sometimes signifies joy and prosperity, and darkness adversity; the one is used to express the light of grace, and the other the darkness of sin and ignorance; now as the natural light exceeds darkness, and prosperity exceeds adversity and calamities, and a state of grace exceeds a state of sin and wickedness, so wisdom exceeds folly.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

13, 14. (Pr 17:24). The worldly "wise" man has good sense in managing his affairs, skill and taste in building and planting, and keeps within safe and respectable bounds in pleasure, while the "fool" is wanting in these respects ("darkness," equivalent to fatal error, blind infatuation), yet one event, death, happens to both (Job 21:26).

Ecclesiastes 2:13 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Wise and the Foolish
12So I turned to consider wisdom, madness and folly; for what will the man do who will come after the king except what has already been done? 13And I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. 14The wise man's eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I know that one fate befalls them both.…
Cross References
Ecclesiastes 7:11
Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing and benefits those who see the sun.

Ecclesiastes 7:12
Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves those who have it.

Ecclesiastes 9:18
Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.

Ecclesiastes 10:10
If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.
Treasury of Scripture

Then I saw that wisdom excels folly, as far as light excels darkness.

i saw

Ecclesiastes 7:11,12 Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to …

Ecclesiastes 9:16 Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor …

Proverbs 4:5-7 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from …

Proverbs 16:16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding …

Malachi 3:18 Then shall you return, and discern between the righteous and the …

Malachi 4:1,2 For, behold, the day comes, that shall burn as an oven; and all the …

that wisdom excelleth folly or that there is an excellency in wisdom more than in folly

light

Ecclesiastes 11:7 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes …

Psalm 119:105,130 Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path…

Proverbs 4:18,19 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more …

Matthew 6:23 But if your eye be evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. …

Luke 11:7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door …

Ephesians 5:8 For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord: …

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