Ecclesiastes 2:21
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune.

New Living Translation
Some people work wisely with knowledge and skill, then must leave the fruit of their efforts to someone who hasn't worked for it. This, too, is meaningless, a great tragedy.

English Standard Version
because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.

New American Standard Bible
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.

King James Bible
For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
When there is a man whose work was done with wisdom, knowledge, and skill, and he must give his portion to a man who has not worked for it, this too is futile and a great wrong.

International Standard Version
For sometimes people who strive to obtain wisdom, knowledge, and equity leave everything as an inheritance to a person who never worked for it. This, too, is pointless and greatly troublesome.

NET Bible
For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; however, he must hand over the fruit of his labor as an inheritance to someone else who did not work for it. This also is futile, and an awful injustice!

New Heart English Bible
For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, with knowledge, and with skillfulness; yet he shall leave it for his portion to a man who has not labored for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Here is someone who had worked hard with wisdom, knowledge, and skill. Yet, he must turn over his estate to someone else, who didn't work for it. Even this is pointless and a terrible tragedy.

JPS Tanakh 1917
For there is a man whose labour is with wisdom, and with knowledge, and with skill; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.

New American Standard 1977
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.

Jubilee Bible 2000
That the man who worked with wisdom and with knowledge and with uprightness would have to leave his portion to a man that has not laboured therein. This also is vanity and a great evil.

King James 2000 Bible
For there is a man whose labor is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that has not labored in it shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.

American King James Version
For there is a man whose labor is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that has not labored therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.

American Standard Version
For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, and with knowledge, and with skilfulness; yet to a man that hath not labored therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For when a man laboureth in wisdom, and knowledge, and carefulness, he leaveth what he hath gotten to an idle man: so this also is vanity, and a great evil.

Darby Bible Translation
For there is a man whose labour hath been with wisdom, and with knowledge, and with skill, and who leaveth it to a man that hath not laboured therein, to be his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.

English Revised Version
For there is a man whose labour is with wisdom, and with knowledge, and with skilfulness; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.

Webster's Bible Translation
For there is a man whose labor is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not labored in it, shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.

World English Bible
For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, with knowledge, and with skillfulness; yet he shall leave it for his portion to a man who has not labored for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.

Young's Literal Translation
For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity, and to a man who hath not laboured therein he giveth it -- his portion! Even this is vanity and a great evil.
Study Bible
The Futility of Work
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. 22For what does a man get in all his labor and in his striving with which he labors under the sun?…
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 2:18
Thus 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.

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

Ecclesiastes 4:4
I have seen that every labor and every skill which is done is the result of rivalry between a man and his neighbor. This too is vanity and striving after wind.

Ecclesiastes 4:8
There was a certain man without a dependent, having neither a son nor a brother, yet there was no end to all his labor. Indeed, his eyes were not satisfied with riches and he never asked, "And for whom am I laboring and depriving myself of pleasure?" This too is vanity and it is a grievous task.
Treasury of Scripture

For there is a man whose labor is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that has not labored therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.

whose

Ecclesiastes 2:17,18 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is worked under the …

Ecclesiastes 9:18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroys much good.

2 Chronicles 31:20,21 And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and worked that which …

2 Chronicles 33:2-9 But did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, like to the …

2 Chronicles 34:2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked …

2 Chronicles 35:18 And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days …

2 Chronicles 36:5 Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and …

Jeremiah 22:15,17 Shall you reign, because you close yourself in cedar? did not your …

leave

(21) Equity.--Rather, skill, success (Ecclesiastes 4:4; Ecclesiastes 5:7). The noun is peculiar to this book. The corresponding verb occurs in Ecclesiastes 10:10; Ecclesiastes 11:6; Esther 8:5.

Verse 21. - For there is a man whose labor is in wisdom. "In," בְּ, "with," directed and performed with wisdom. The author speaks of himself objectively, as St. Paul (2 Corinthians 12:2) says, "I know a man in Christ," etc. His complaint now is, not that his successor may misuse his inheritance (ver. 19), but that this person shall have that on which he has bestowed no skill or toil, shall enjoy what modern phraseology terms "unearned increment." This, which was set forth as One of the blessings of the promised land (Deuteronomy 6:10, 11), Koheleth cannot bear to contemplate where it touches himself - not from envy or grudging, but from the feeling of dissatisfaction and want of energy which it generates. In (with) knowledge and in (with) equity. Kishron, translated "equity" in the Authorized Version; ἀνδρεία "manliness," in the Septuagint: and sollicitudine in the Vulgate, seems rather here to signify "skill" or "success." It occurs also in Ecclesiastes 4:4 and Ecclesiastes 5:10, and there only in the Old Testament. For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity,.... Who does all he does, in natural, civil, and religious things, in the state, in his family, and the world, and whatsoever business he is engaged, in the wisest and best manner, with the utmost honesty and integrity, according to all the rules of wisdom and knowledge, and of justice and equity; meaning himself; the Midrash interprets this of God;

yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion; to his son, heir, and successor; who never took any pains, or joined with him, in acquiring the least part of it; and yet all comes into his hands, as his possession and inheritance: the Targum interprets this of a man that dies without children; and so others (z) understand it of his leaving his substance to strangers, and not to his children.

This also is vanity, and a great evil; not anything sinful and criminal, but vexatious and distressing.

(z) R. Joseph Titatzak in loc. 21. Suppose "there is a man," etc.

equity—rather "with success," as the Hebrew is rendered (Ec 11:6), "prosper," though Margin gives "right" [Holden and Maurer].

evil—not in itself, for this is the ordinary course of things, but "evil," as regards the chief good, that one should have toiled so fruitlessly.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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Alphabetical: a all and do evil For gives great has he his is it knowledge labored leave legacy man may meaningless misfortune must not one owns skill someone them then there This to too vanity When who wisdom with work worked

OT Poetry: Ecclesiastes 2:21 For there is a man whose labor (Ecclesiast. Ec Ecc Eccles.) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
Ecclesiastes 2:20
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