Ecclesiastes 2:2
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"Laughter," I said, "is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?"

New Living Translation
So I said, "Laughter is silly. What good does it do to seek pleasure?"

English Standard Version
I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?”

New American Standard Bible
I said of laughter, "It is madness," and of pleasure, "What does it accomplish?"

King James Bible
I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I said about laughter, "It is madness," and about pleasure, "What does this accomplish?"

International Standard Version
"Senseless," said I concerning laughter and pleasure, "How practical is this?"

NET Bible
I said of partying, "It is folly," and of self-indulgent pleasure, "It accomplishes nothing!"

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I thought, "Laughter doesn't make any sense. What does pleasure accomplish?"

Jubilee Bible 2000
I said of laughter, It is mad, and of mirth, What does it do?

King James 2000 Bible
I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What use is it?

American King James Version
I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What does it?

American Standard Version
I said of laughter, It is mad; and of mirth, What doeth it?

Douay-Rheims Bible
Laughter I counted error: and to mirth I said: Why art thou vainly deceived?

Darby Bible Translation
I said of laughter, Madness! and of mirth, What availeth it?

English Revised Version
I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?

Webster's Bible Translation
I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?

World English Bible
I said of laughter, "It is foolishness;" and of mirth, "What does it accomplish?"

Young's Literal Translation
Of laughter I said, 'Foolish!' and of mirth, 'What is this it is doing?'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

2:1-11 Solomon soon found mirth and pleasure to be vanity. What does noisy, flashy mirth towards making a man happy? The manifold devices of men's hearts, to get satisfaction from the world, and their changing from one thing to another, are like the restlessness of a man in a fever. Perceiving it was folly to give himself to wine, he next tried the costly amusements of princes. The poor, when they read such a description, are ready to feel discontent. But the remedy against all such feelings is in the estimate of it all by the owner himself. All was vanity and vexation of spirit: and the same things would yield the same result to us, as to Solomon. Having food and raiment, let us therewith be content. His wisdom remained with him; a strong understanding, with great human knowledge. But every earthly pleasure, when unconnected with better blessings, leaves the mind as eager and unsatisfied as before. Happiness arises not from the situation in which we are placed. It is only through Jesus Christ that final blessedness can be attained.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 2. - I said of laughter, It is mad. Laughter and mirth are personified, hence treated as masculine. He uses the term "mad" in reference to the statement in Ecclesiastes 1:17, "I gave my heart to know madness and folly." Septuagint, "I said to laughter, Error (περιφοράν);" Vulgate, Risum reputavi errorem. Neither of these is as accurate as the Authorized Version. Of mirth, What doeth it? What does it effect towards real happiness and contentment? How does it help to fill the void, to give lasting satisfaction? So we have in Proverbs 14:13, "Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of mirth is heaviness;" though the context is different. The Vulgate renders loosely, Quid frustra deeiperis?

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

I said of laughter, it is mad,.... The risible faculty in man is given him for some usefulness; and when used in a moderate way, and kept within due bounds, is of service to him, and conduces to the health of his body, and the pleasure of his mind; but when used on every trivial occasion, and at every foolish thing that is said or done, and indulged to excess, it is mere madness, and makes a man look more like a madman and a fool than a wise man; it lasts but for a while, and the end of it is heaviness, Ecclesiastes 7:6. Or, "I said to laughter, thou art mad" (x); and therefore will have nothing to do with thee in the excessive and criminal way, but shun thee, as one would do a mad man: this therefore is not to be reckoned into the pleasure he bid his soul go to and enjoy;

and of mirth, what doth it? what good does do? of what profit and advantage is it to man? If the question is concerning innocent mirth, the answer may be given out of Proverbs 15:13; but if of carnal sinful mirth, there is no good arises from that to the body or mind; or any kind of happiness to be enjoyed that way, and therefore no trial is to be made of it. What the wise man proposed to make trial of, and did, follows in the next verses.

(x) "risui dixi, insanis", Mercerus, Drusius, Amama; "vel insanus es", Piscator, Schmidt, Rambachius.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

2. laughter—including prosperity, and joy in general (Job 8:21).

mad—that is, when made the chief good; it is harmless in its proper place.

What doeth it?—Of what avail is it in giving solid good? (Ec 7:6; Pr 14:13).

Ecclesiastes 2:2 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Futility of Pleasures
1I said to myself, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself." And behold, it too was futility. 2I said of laughter, "It is madness," and of pleasure, "What does it accomplish?" 3I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives.…
Cross References
Proverbs 14:13
Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief.

Ecclesiastes 7:3
Frustration is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart.

Ecclesiastes 7:6
Like the crackling of thorns under the pot, so is the laughter of fools. This too is meaningless.
Treasury of Scripture

I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What does it?

i said Solomon is not speaking here of sober enjoyment of the things of the world, but of an intemperate pleasure whose two attendants, laughter and mirth are introduced by a beautiful prosopopaeia, as in two persons, whom he treats with the utmost contempt.

it is

Ecclesiastes 7:2-6 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house …

Proverbs 14:13 Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.

Isaiah 22:12,13 And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to …

Amos 6:3-6 You that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence …

1 Peter 4:2-4 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to …

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