Ecclesiastes 2:20
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun.

New Living Translation
So I gave up in despair, questioning the value of all my hard work in this world.

English Standard Version
So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun,

New American Standard Bible
Therefore I completely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun.

King James Bible
Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
So I began to give myself over to despair concerning all my work that I had labored at under the sun.

International Standard Version
So I came to be in despair about everything I had accomplished on earth.

NET Bible
So I began to despair about all the fruit of my labor for which I worked so hard on earth.

New Heart English Bible
Therefore I began to cause my heart to despair concerning all the labor in which I had labored under the sun.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Then I fell into despair over everything for which I had worked so hard under the sun.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Therefore I turned about to cause my heart to despair concerning all the labour wherein I had laboured under the sun.

New American Standard 1977
Therefore I completely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Therefore my heart began to despair again regarding all the labour which I took under the sun.

King James 2000 Bible
Therefore I gave my heart up to despair of all the labor in which I toiled under the sun.

American King James Version
Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labor which I took under the sun.

American Standard Version
Therefore I turned about to cause my heart to despair concerning all the labor wherein I had labored under the sun.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Wherefore I left off and my heart renounced labouring any more under the sun.

Darby Bible Translation
Then I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour wherewith I had laboured under the sun.

English Revised Version
Therefore I turned about to cause my heart to despair concerning all the labour wherein I had laboured under the sun.

Webster's Bible Translation
Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labor which I took under the sun.

World English Bible
Therefore I began to cause my heart to despair concerning all the labor in which I had labored under the sun.

Young's Literal Translation
And I turned round to cause my heart to despair concerning all the labour that I laboured at under the sun.
Study Bible
The Futility of Work
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. 21When there is a man who has labored with wisdom, knowledge and skill, then he gives his legacy to one who has not labored with them. This too is vanity and a great evil.…
Cross References
Ecclesiastes 2:19
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.

Ecclesiastes 2:21
When there is a man who has labored with wisdom, knowledge and skill, then he gives his legacy to one who has not labored with them. This too is vanity and a great evil.
Treasury of Scripture

Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labor which I took under the sun.

Genesis 43:14 And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send …

Job 17:11-15 My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart…

Psalm 39:6,7 Surely every man walks in a vain show: surely they are disquieted …

1 Corinthians 15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

2 Corinthians 1:8-10 For we would not, brothers, have you ignorant of our trouble which …

1 Thessalonians 3:3,4 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves …

(20) Went about.--Ecclesiastes 7:25; Ecclesiastes 9:14; Ecclesiastes 12:5.

Verse 20. - Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair; Ἐπέστρεψα ἐγὼ (Septuagint). "I turned" in order to examine more closely. So in ver. 12 we had, "I turned myself," though the verbs are not the same in the two passages, and in the former the LXX. has ἐπέβλεψα. I turned from my late course of action to give myself up to despair. I lost all hope in labor; it had no longer any charm or future for me. Septuagint, Τοῦ ἀποτάξασθαι τὴν καρδίαν μου ἐν παντὶ μόχθῳ μου κ.τ.λ. Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair,.... Of ever finding happiness in anything here below. He "turned about" (y), as the word signifies dropped his severe studies of wisdom, and his eager pursuits of pleasure; and desisted from those toilsome works, in which he had employed himself; and went from one thing to another, and settled and stuck at nothing, on purpose to relax his mind, as the Syriac version renders it; to divest it of all anxious thought and care, and call it off from its vain and fruitless undertakings; and be no more concerned about or thoughtful

of all the labour which I took under the sun; and what will be the consequence and issue of it; but quietly leave all to an all wise disposing Providence; and not seek for happiness in anything under the sun, but in those things that are above it; not in this world, but in the world to come.

(y) "versus sum", Montanus; "et ego verti me", Vatablus, Mercerus, Gejerus. 20. I gave up as desperate all hope of solid fruit from my labor.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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