Ecclesiastes 2:19
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless.

New Living Translation
And who can tell whether my successors will be wise or foolish? Yet they will control everything I have gained by my skill and hard work under the sun. How meaningless!

English Standard Version
and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity.

New American Standard Bible
And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity.

King James Bible
And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will take over all my work that I labored at skillfully under the sun. This too is futile.

International Standard Version
And who knows whether he will be wise or foolish? Either way, he will take possession of everything that I have done on earth, especially where I have excelled. This also is pointless.

NET Bible
Who knows if he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will be master over all the fruit of my labor for which I worked so wisely on earth! This also is futile!

New Heart English Bible
Who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have rule over all of my labor in which I have labored, and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? He will still have control over everything under the sun for which I worked so hard and used my wisdom. Even this is pointless.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And who knoweth whether he will be a wise man or a fool? yet will he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity.

New American Standard 1977
And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And who knows whether he shall be a wise man or a fool, he who shall have rule over all my labour in which I have laboured and in which I have showed myself wise under the sun? This is also vanity.

King James 2000 Bible
And who knows whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labor in which I have labored, and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.

American King James Version
And who knows whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labor wherein I have labored, and wherein I have showed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.

American Standard Version
And who knoweth whether he will be a wise man or a fool? yet will he have rule over all my labor wherein I have labored, and wherein I have showed myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Whom I know not whether he will be a wise man or a fool, and he shall have rule over all my labours with which I have laboured and been solicitous: and is there any thing so vain?

Darby Bible Translation
And who knoweth whether he will be a wise [man] or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour at which I have laboured, and wherein I have been wise under the sun. This also is vanity.

English Revised Version
And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity.

Webster's Bible Translation
And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labor in which I have labored, and in which I have showed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.

World English Bible
Who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have rule over all of my labor in which I have labored, and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity.

Young's Literal Translation
And who knoweth whether he is wise or foolish? yet he doth rule over all my labour that I have laboured at, and that I have done wisely under the sun! this also is vanity.
Study Bible
The Futility of Work
18Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity. 20Therefore I completely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun.…
Cross References
1 Timothy 6:10
For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. By craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

1 Kings 12:13
The king answered the people harshly, for he forsook the advice of the elders which they had given him,

Ecclesiastes 2:20
Therefore I completely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun.
Treasury of Scripture

And who knows whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labor wherein I have labored, and wherein I have showed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.

who knoweth

Ecclesiastes 3:22 Why I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should …

1 Kings 12:14 And spoke to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My …

1 Kings 14:25-28 And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak …

2 Chronicles 10:13-16 And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the …

2 Chronicles 12:9,10 So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took away …

wise under

Ecclesiastes 9:13 This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great to me:

Luke 16:8 And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely…

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down …

James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, …

(19) Have rule.--The word occurs again in Ecclesiastes 6:2; Ecclesiastes 8:9; elsewhere only in Nehemiah and Esther. and in Psalm 119:133.

Verse 19. - Who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? The bitter feeling that he has to leave the fruits of his lifelong labor to another is aggravated by the thought that he knows not the character of this successor, whether he will be worthy or not. As the psalmist says, "He heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them" (Psalm 39:6). Again in the parable, "The things which thou hast prepared, whose shall they be?" (Luke 12:20; comp. Ecclus. 11:18, 19). Yet shall he have rule, etc. Whatever may be his character, he will have free use and control of all that I have gathered by my labor directed by prudence and wisdom. Vulgate, Domina-bitur in laboribus meis quibus desudavi et sollicitus fui. And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool?.... The king that should be after him, as the Targum, that should be his successor and heir; and so whether he would make a good or bad use of what was left; whether he would keep and improve it, or squander it away; suggesting, that could he be sure he would be a wise man that should come into his labours, it would be some satisfaction to him that he had laboured, and such a man should have the benefit of it; but as it was a precarious thing what he would be, he could take no pleasure in reviewing his labours he was about to leave. Some think that Solomon here gives a hint of the suspicion he had, that his son Rehoboam, his successor and heir, would turn out a foolish man, as he did;

yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have showed myself wise, under the sun; be he what he will, all will come into his hands; and he will have the power of disposing of all at his pleasure; not only of enjoying it, but of changing and altering things; and perhaps greatly for the worse, if he does not entirely destroy what has been wrought with so much care and industry, toil and labour, wisdom and prudence; the thought of all which was afflicting and distressing: and therefore he adds,

This is also vanity; and shows there is no happiness in all that a man does, has, or enjoys; and this circumstance, before related, adds to his vexation and unhappiness. 2:18-26 Our hearts are very loth to quit their expectations of great things from the creature; but Solomon came to this at length. The world is a vale of tears, even to those that have much of it. See what fools they are, who make themselves drudges to the world, which affords a man nothing better than subsistence for the body. And the utmost he can attain in this respect is to allow himself a sober, cheerful use thereof, according to his rank and condition. But we must enjoy good in our labour; we must use those things to make us diligent and cheerful in worldly business. And this is the gift of God. Riches are a blessing or a curse to a man, according as he has, or has not, a heart to make a good use of them. To those that are accepted of the Lord, he gives joy and satisfaction in the knowledge and love of him. But to the sinner he allots labour, sorrow, vanity, and vexation, in seeking a worldly portion, which yet afterwards comes into better hands. Let the sinner seriously consider his latter end. To seek a lasting portion in the love of Christ and the blessings it bestows, is the only way to true and satisfying enjoyment even of this present world.
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OT Poetry: Ecclesiastes 2:19 Who knows whether he will be (Ecclesiast. Ec Ecc Eccles.) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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