Ecclesiastes 2:16
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered; the days have already come when both have been forgotten. Like the fool, the wise too must die!

New Living Translation
For the wise and the foolish both die. The wise will not be remembered any longer than the fool. In the days to come, both will be forgotten.

English Standard Version
For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise dies just like the fool!

New American Standard Bible
For there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die!

King James Bible
For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For, just like the fool, there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man, since in the days to come both will be forgotten. How is it that the wise man dies just like the fool?

International Standard Version
For neither the wise nor the fool will be long remembered, since in days to come everything will be forgotten. The wise man dies the same way as the fool, does he not?

NET Bible
For the wise man, like the fool, will not be remembered for very long, because in the days to come, both will already have been forgotten. Alas, the wise man dies--just like the fool!

New Heart English Bible
For of the wise man, even as of the fool, there is no memory for ever, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. Indeed, the wise man must die just like the fool.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Neither the wise person nor the fool will be remembered for long, since both will be forgotten in the days to come. Both the wise person and the fool will die.

JPS Tanakh 1917
For of the wise man, even as of the fool, there is no remembrance for ever; seeing that in the days to come all will long ago have been forgotten. And how must the wise man die even as the fool!

New American Standard 1977
For there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die!

Jubilee Bible 2000
For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever, seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And also the wise man shall die the same as the fool.

King James 2000 Bible
For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool forever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how does the wise man die? as the fool.

American King James Version
For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dies the wise man? as the fool.

American Standard Version
For of the wise man, even as of the fool, there is no remembrance for ever; seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. And how doth the wise man die even as the fool!

Douay-Rheims Bible
For there shall be no remembrance of the wise no more than of the fool for ever, and the times to come shall cover all things together with oblivion: the learned dieth in like manner as the unlearned.

Darby Bible Translation
For there shall be no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; because everything is already forgotten in the days which come. And how dieth the wise even as the fool?

English Revised Version
For of the wise man, even as of the fool, there is no remembrance for ever; seeing that in the days to come all will have been already forgotten. And how doth the wise man die even as the fool!

Webster's Bible Translation
For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.

World English Bible
For of the wise man, even as of the fool, there is no memory for ever, since in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. Indeed, the wise man must die just like the fool!

Young's Literal Translation
That there is no remembrance to the wise -- with the fool -- to the age, for that which is already, in the days that are coming is all forgotten, and how dieth the wise? with the fool!
Study Bible
The Wise and the Foolish
15Then I said to myself, "As is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me. Why then have I been extremely wise?" So I said to myself, "This too is vanity." 16For there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die! 17So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind.…
Cross References
Psalm 49:10
For he sees that even wise men die; The stupid and the senseless alike perish And leave their wealth to others.

Ecclesiastes 1:11
There is no remembrance of earlier things; And also of the later things which will occur, There will be for them no remembrance Among those who will come later still.

Ecclesiastes 2:14
The wise man's eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I know that one fate befalls them both.

Ecclesiastes 2:15
Then I said to myself, "As is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me. Why then have I been extremely wise?" So I said to myself, "This too is vanity."

Ecclesiastes 7:2
It is better to go to a house of mourning Than to go to a house of feasting, Because that is the end of every man, And the living takes it to heart.

Ecclesiastes 8:10
So then, I have seen the wicked buried, those who used to go in and out from the holy place, and they are soon forgotten in the city where they did thus. This too is futility.

Ecclesiastes 9:5
For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten.

Ecclesiastes 9:15
But there was found in it a poor wise man and he delivered the city by his wisdom. Yet no one remembered that poor man.
Treasury of Scripture

For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dies the wise man? as the fool.

there is

Ecclesiastes 1:11 There is no remembrance of former things…

Exodus 1:6,8 And Joseph died, and all his brothers, and all that generation…

Psalm 88:12 Shall your wonders be known in the dark? and your righteousness in …

Psalm 103:16 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof …

Malachi 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spoke often one to another: and the …

how

Ecclesiastes 6:8 For what has the wise more than the fool? what has the poor, that …

2 Samuel 3:33 And the king lamented over Abner, and said, Died Abner as a fool dies?

Psalm 49:10 For he sees that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish …

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

(16) It might be urged on behalf of the Solomonic authorship that Solomon himself might imagine that in the days to come he and his wisdom would be forgotten, but that such a thought does not become a long subsequent writer who had been induced by Solomon's reputation for wisdom to make him the hero of his work. It would seem to follow that the writer is here only giving the history of Solomon's reflections, and not his ultimate conclusions. Better to omit the note of interrogation after "wise man," and put a note of exclamation after "fool," the "how" being used as in Isaiah 14:4; Ezekiel 26:17.

Verse 16. - For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool forever; Revised Version, more emphatically, for of the wise man, even as of the fool, there is no remembrance forever. This, of course, is not absolutely true. There are men whose names are history, and will endure as long as the world lasts; but speaking generally, oblivion is the portion of all; posterity soon forgets the wisdom of one and the folly of another. Where the belief in the future life was not a strong and animating motive, posthumous fame exercised a potent attraction for many minds. To be the founder of a long line of descendants, -r to leave a record which should be fresh in the minds of future generations, these were objects of intense ambition, and valued as worthy of highest aspirations and best efforts. The words of classical poets will occur to our memory; e.g. Horace, 'Carm.,' 3:30.

"Exegi monumentum aere perennius...
Non omnis metier, multaque pars mei
Vitabit Libitinam."
Ovid, 'Amor.,' 1:15. 4 -

"Ergo etiam, cum me supremus adederit ignis,
Vivam, parsquc mei multa supersteserit."
But Koheleth shows the vanity of all such hopes; they are based on sounds which experience proves to be unsubstantial. Though Solomon's own fame gives the lie to the statement received without limitation (comp. Wisd. 8:13), yet his reflections might well have taken this turn, and the writer is quite justified in putting the thought into his mouth, as the king could not know how subsequent ages would regard his wisdom and attainments. Seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. The clause has been variously translated. Septuagint, "Forasmuch as the coming days, even all the things, are forgotten;" Vulgate, "And future times shall cover all things equally with oblivion." Modern editors give, "Since in the days that are to come they are all forgotten;" "As in time past, so in days to come, all will be forgotten.... In the days which are coming [it will be said by-and-by], The whole of them are long ago forgotten.'" This is a specimen of the uncertainty of exact interpretation, where the intended meaning is well ascertained. "All" (הכל) may refer either to wise and foolish, or to the circumstances of their lives. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool. Better taken as one sentence, with an exclamation, How doth the wise man die with (even as) the fool I (For "with" (ira), equivalent to "as," comp. Ecclesiastes 7:11; Job 9:26; Psalm 106:6.) "How" (אֵידּ) is sarcastic, as Isaiah 14:4, or sorrowful, as 2 Samuel 1:19. The same complaint falls from a psalmist's lips, "He seeth that wise men die; the fool and the brutish together perish" (Psalm 49:10). So David laments the death of the murdered leader, "Should Abner die as a fool dieth?" (2 Samuel 3:33). Plumptre considers that the author of the Book of Wisdom expands this view with the design of exposing its fallacy, and introducing a better hope (Ecclesiastes 2:1-9). But that writer would not have designated Solomon's sentiments as those of "the ungodly" (ἀσεβεῖς), nor foisted these utterances of sensualists and materialists upon so honored a source. At the same time, it is only as being victims, nil miserantis Opel, the prey of the pitiless and indiscriminating grave, that the wise and foolish are placed in the same category. There is the widest difference between the death-beds of the two, as the experience of any one who has watched them will testify, the one happy with the consciousness of duty done honestly, however imperfectly, and bright with the hope of immortality; the other darkened by vain regrets and shrinking despair, or listless in brutish insensibility. For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever,.... The Targum interprets it, in the world to come; but even in this world the remembrance of a wise man, any more than of a fool, does not always last; a wise man may not only be caressed in life, but may be remembered after death for a while; the fame of him may continue for a little time, and his works and writings may be applauded; but by and by rises up another genius brighter than he, or at least is so thought, and outshines him; and then his fame is obscured, his writings are neglected and despised, and he and his works buried in oblivion; and this is the common course of things. This shows that Solomon is speaking of natural wisdom, and of man's being wise with respect to that; and his remembrance on that account; otherwise such who are truly good and wise, their memory is blessed; they are had in everlasting remembrance, and shall never be forgotten in this world, nor in that to come, when the memory of the wicked shall rot; whose names are only written in the dust Jeremiah 17:13, and not in the Lamb's book of life;

seeing that which now is, in the days to come shall all be forgotten: what now is in the esteem of men, and highly applauded by them; what is in the mouths of men, and in their minds and memories, before long, future time, after the death of a man, as the Targum, or in some time after, will be thought of no more, and be as if it never had been, or as if there never had been such men in the world. Many wise men have been in the world, whose names are now unknown, and some their names only are known, and their works are lost; and others whose works remain, yet in no esteem: this is to be understood in general, and for the most part; otherwise there may be some few exceptions to this general observation.

And how dieth the wise man? as the fool; they are both liable to death; it is appointed for men, rinse or unwise, learned or unlearned, to die, and both do die; wisdom cannot secure a man from dying; and then wise and fools are reduced to the same condition and circumstances; all a man's learning, knowledge, and wisdom, cease when he dies, and he is just as another man is; in that day all his learned thoughts perish, and he is upon a level with the fool. Solomon, the wisest of men, died as others; a full proof of his own observation, and which his father made before him, Psalm 49:10. But this is not true of one that is spiritually wise, or wise unto salvation; the death of a righteous man is different from the death of a wicked man; both die, yet not alike, not in like manner; the good man dies in Christ, he dies in faith, has hope in his death, and rises again to eternal life. The Targum is,

"and how shall the children of men say, that the end of the righteous is as the end of the wicked?'' 16. remembrance—a great aim of the worldly (Ge 11:4). The righteous alone attain it (Ps 112:6; Pr 10:7).

for ever—no perpetual memorial.

that which now is—Maurer, "In the days to come all things shall be now long ago forgotten."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.
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