|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
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.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
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.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20. I gave up as desperate all hope of solid fruit from my labor.
Ecclesiastes 2:20 Parallel Commentaries
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