|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 22. - What hath man of all his labor? i.e. what is to be the result to man? Γίνεται ἐν τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ; (Septuagint); Quidenim proderit homini? (Vulgate). There is, indeed, the pleasure that accompanies the pursuit of objects, and the successful accomplishment of enterprise; but this is poor and unsubstantial and embittered. And of the vexation of his heart; the striving, the effort of his mind to direct his labor to great ends. What does all this produce? The answer intended is," Nothing." This striving, with all its wisdom and knowledge and skill (ver. 21), is for the laborer fruitless.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart?.... What profit has he by it, when there is so much vexation in it, both in getting it, and in the thought of leaving it to others? What advantage is it to him, when it is all acquired for and possessed by another; and especially of what use is it to him after his death? Even of all
wherein he hath laboured under the sun? the Targum adds, "in this world"; though he has been labouring all his days, yet there is not one thing he has got by his labour that is of any real advantage to him, or can yield him any solid comfort and satisfaction, or bring him true happiness, or lead him to it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
22. Same sentiment as in Ec 2:21, interrogatively.
Ecclesiastes 2:22 Parallel Commentaries
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