Ecclesiastes 2:26
Parallel Verses
New International Version
To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

New Living Translation
God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please him. But if a sinner becomes wealthy, God takes the wealth away and gives it to those who please him. This, too, is meaningless--like chasing the wind.

English Standard Version
For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.

New American Standard Bible
For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in God's sight. This too is vanity and striving after wind.

King James Bible
For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For to the man who is pleasing in His sight, He gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy, but to the sinner He gives the task of gathering and accumulating in order to give to the one who is pleasing in God's sight. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.

International Standard Version
After all, to the person who is good in God's sight, he gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy, but to the sinner he gives the troublesome task of acquiring and accumulating in order to leave it to someone who is good in the sight of God. This also is pointless and chasing after the wind.

NET Bible
For to the one who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy, but to the sinner, he gives the task of amassing wealth--only to give it to the one who pleases God. This task of the wicked is futile--like chasing the wind!

GOD'S WORD® Translation
God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to anyone who pleases him. But to the person who continues to sin, he gives the job of gathering and collecting [wealth]. The sinner must turn his wealth over to the person who pleases God. Even this is pointless. [It's like] trying to catch the wind.

Jubilee Bible 2000
For God gives to the man that is good in his sight wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he gives travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to the one that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

King James 2000 Bible
For God gives to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he gives the work of gathering and heaping up, only that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping of the wind.

American King James Version
For God gives to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he gives travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

American Standard Version
For to the man that pleaseth him God giveth wisdom, and knowledge, and joy; but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that pleaseth God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Douay-Rheims Bible
God hath given to a man that is good in his sight, wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he hath given vexation, and superfluous care, to heap up and to gather together, and to give it to him that hath pleased God: but this also is vanity, and a fruitless solicitude of the mind.

Darby Bible Translation
For he giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy; but to the sinner he giveth travail to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good in God's sight. This also is vanity and pursuit of the wind.

English Revised Version
For to the man that pleaseth him God giveth wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that pleaseth God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Webster's Bible Translation
For God giveth to a man who is good in his sight, wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth toil, to gather, and to amass, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

World English Bible
For to the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy; but to the sinner he gives travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him who pleases God. This also is vanity and a chasing after wind.

Young's Literal Translation
For to a man who is good before Him, He hath given wisdom, and knowledge, and joy; and to a sinner He hath given travail, to gather and to heap up, to give to the good before God. Even this is vanity and vexation of spirit.
Parallel Commentaries
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.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 26. - For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight. The subject "God" is not, in the Hebrew, an omission which is supposed to justify its virtual insertion in ver. 25. The Vulgate boldly supplies it here, Homini bone in conspectu sue dedit Deus. To the man that finds favor in God's sight (1 Samuel 29:6; Nehemiah 2:5), i.e. who pleases him, ha gives blessings, while he withholds them or takes them away from the man who displeases him. The blessings specified are wisdom, and knowledge, and joy. The only true wisdom which is not grief, the only true knowledge which is not sorrow (Ecclesiastes 1:18), and the only joy in life, are the gifts of God to those whom he regards as good. But to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up. The sinner takes great pains, expends continuous labor, that he may amass wealth, but it passes into other. (more worthy) hands. Horace, 'Carm.,' 2:14. 25 - "Absumet heres Caecuba dignior Servata centum clavibus." The moral government of God is here recognized, as below, Ecclesiastes 3:15, 17, etc., and a further thought is added on the subject of retribution: That he may give to him that is good before God. This idea is found in Proverbs 28:8, "He that augmenteth his substance by usury and increase, gathereth it for him that hath pity upon the poor;" and Ecclesiastes 13:22, "The wealth of the sinner is laid up for the righteous" (comp. Job 27:16, 17). So in the parable of the talents, the talent of the unprofitable servant is given unto him who had made best use of his money (Matthew 25:28). This also is vanity. It is a question what is the reference here. Delitzsch considers it to be the striving after pleasure in and from labor (ver. 24); Knobel, the arbitrary distribution of the good things of this life; but, put thus baldly, this could hardly be termed a "feeding on wind;" nor could that expression be applied to the "gifts of God" to which Bullock confines the reference. Wright, Hengstenberg, Gratz, and others deem that what is meant is the collecting and heaping up of riches by the sinner, which has already been decided to be vanity (vers. 11, 17, 18); and this Would limit the general conclusion to a particular instance. Taking the view contained in ver. 24 as the central idea of the passage, we see that Koheleth feels that the restriction upon man's enjoyment of labor imposed by God's moral government makes that toil vain because its issue is not in men's hands, and it is a striving for or a feeding on wind because the result is unsatisfying and vanishes in the grasp.





Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight,.... No man is of himself good, or naturally so, but evil, very evil, as all the descendants of Adam are; there are some that are good in their own eyes, and in the sight of others, and yet not truly good; they are only really good, who are so in the sight of God, who sees the heart, and knows what is in man; they are such who are made good by his efficacious grace; who are inwardly, and not merely outwardly so; who are good at heart, or who have good hearts, clean hearts, new and right spirits created in them; who have a good work of grace upon their hearts, and the several graces of the Spirit implanted there; who have the good Spirit of God in them, in whose heart Christ dwells by faith; and who have the good word of Christ dwelling in them, and have a good treasure of rich experience of the grace of God; and who, in one word, are born again, renewed in the spirit of their minds, and live by faith on Jesus Christ. The phrase is rendered, "whoso pleaseth God", Ecclesiastes 7:26; and he is one that is accepted with God in Christ, his beloved Son, in whom he is well pleased; who is clothed with his righteousness, made comely through his comeliness, and so is irreprovable in his sight; and who by faith looks to and lays hold on this righteousness, and does all he does in the exercise of faith, without which it is impossible to please God. To such a man God gives

wisdom, and knowledge, and joy; wisdom to acquire knowledge, to keep, use, and improve it; and joy, to be cheerful and thankful for the good things of life: or rather this may design, not natural wisdom, but spiritual wisdom, wisdom in the hidden part, so as to be wise unto salvation, and to walk wisely and circumspectly, a good man's steps being ordered by the Lord; and knowledge of God in Christ, and of Christ, and of the things of the Gospel, and which relate to eternal life; and so spiritual joy, joy and peace in believing, in the presence of God, and communion with him; joy in Christ, and in hope of the glory of God, even joy unspeakable, and full of glory; all which, more or less, at one time or another, God gives to those who are truly good; and which is not to be found in worldly wisdom, pleasure, riches, power, and authority: the Targum is,

"to the man, whose works are right before God, he gives wisdom and knowledge in this world, and joy with the righteous in the world to come;''

but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up; to gather mammon, and to heap up a large possession, as the Targum; to gather together a great deal of riches, but without wisdom and knowledge to use them, without any proper enjoyment of them, or pleasure in them; all he has is a deal of trouble and care to get riches, without any comfort in them, and he has them not for his own use: the Midrash illustrates this of the good man and sinner, by the instances of Abraham and Nimrod, of Isaac and Abimelech, of Jacob and Laban, of the Israelites and Canaanites, of Hezekiah and Sennacherib, and of Mordecai and Haman. But

that he may give to him that is good before God; so it is ordered by divine Providence sometimes, that all that a wicked man has been labouring for all his days should come into the hands of such who are truly good men, and will make a right use of what is communicated to them.

This also is vanity, and vexation of spirit; not to the good man, but to the wicked man: so the Targum,

"it is vanity to the sinner, a breaking of spirit;''

it grieves him that such a man should have what he has been labouring for; or it would, if he knew it.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

26. True, literally, in the Jewish theocracy; and in some measure in all ages (Job 27:16, 17; Pr 13:22; 28:8). Though the retribution be not so visible and immediate now as then, it is no less real. Happiness even here is more truly the portion of the godly (Ps 84:11; Mt 5:5; Mr 10:29, 30; Ro 8:28; 1Ti 4:8).

that he—the sinner

may give—that is, unconsciously and in spite of himself. The godly Solomon had satisfaction in his riches and wisdom, when God gave them (2Ch 1:11, 12). The backsliding Solomon had no happiness when he sought it in them apart from God; and the riches which he heaped up became the prey of Shishak (2Ch 12:9).

Ecclesiastes 2:26 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Futility of Work
25For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him? 26For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in God's sight. This too is vanity and striving after wind.
Cross References
Job 27:16
Though he heaps up silver like dust and clothes like piles of clay,

Job 27:17
what he lays up the righteous will wear, and the innocent will divide his silver.

Job 32:8
But it is the spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.

Job 38:36
Who gives the ibis wisdom or gives the rooster understanding?

Psalm 39:6
"Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be.

Psalm 51:6
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Proverbs 2:6
For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Proverbs 13:22
A good person leaves an inheritance for their children's children, but a sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous.

Ecclesiastes 1:13
I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind!

Ecclesiastes 1:14
I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Ecclesiastes 2:25
for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?

Ecclesiastes 3:10
I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.
Treasury of Scripture

For God gives to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he gives travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

in his sight

Genesis 7:1 And the LORD said to Noah, Come you and all your house into the ark; …

Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments …

wisdom

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

Proverbs 3:13-18 Happy is the man that finds wisdom, and the man that gets understanding…

Isaiah 3:10,11 Say you to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they …

John 16:24 Till now have you asked nothing in my name: ask, and you shall receive, …

Romans 14:17,18 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, …

James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, …

to the sinner

Job 27:16,17 Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare raiment as the clay…

Proverbs 13:22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children: and …

Proverbs 28:8 He that by usury and unjust gain increases his substance, he shall …

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