Ecclesiastes 2:3
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly--my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.

New Living Translation
After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine. And while still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way, I tried to experience the only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world.

English Standard Version
I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life.

New American Standard Bible
I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives.

King James Bible
I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I explored with my mind how to let my body enjoy life with wine and how to grasp folly--my mind still guiding me with wisdom--until I could see what is good for people to do under heaven during the few days of their lives.

International Standard Version
I decided to indulge in wine, while still remaining committed to wisdom. I also tried to indulge in foolishness, just enough to determine whether it was good for human beings under heaven given the short time of their lives.

NET Bible
I thought deeply about the effects of indulging myself with wine (all the while my mind was guiding me with wisdom) and the effects of behaving foolishly, so that I might discover what is profitable for people to do on earth during the few days of their lives.

New Heart English Bible
I searched in my heart how to cheer my flesh with wine, my heart yet guiding me with wisdom, and how to lay hold of folly, until I might see what it was good for the sons of men that they should do under heaven all the days of their lives.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I explored ways to make myself feel better by drinking wine. I also explored ways to do [some] foolish things. During all that time, wisdom continued to control my mind. I was able to determine whether this was good for mortals to do during their brief lives under heaven.

JPS Tanakh 1917
I searched in my heart how to pamper my flesh with wine, and, my heart conducting itself with wisdom, how yet to lay hold on folly, till I might see which it was best for the sons of men that they should do under the heaven the few days of their life.

New American Standard 1977
I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives.

Jubilee Bible 2000
I proposed in my heart to regale my flesh with wine and that my heart would walk in wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, until I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.

King James 2000 Bible
I sought in my heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting my heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men, which they should do under heaven all the days of their life.

American King James Version
I sought in my heart to give myself to wine, yet acquainting my heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.

American Standard Version
I searched in my heart how to cheer my flesh with wine, my heart yet guiding me with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what it was good for the sons of men that they should do under heaven all the days of their life.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I thought in my heart, to withdraw my flesh from wine, that I might turn my mind to wisdom, and might avoid folly, till I might see what was profitable for the children of men: and what they ought to do under the sun, all the days of their life.

Darby Bible Translation
I searched in my heart how to cherish my flesh with wine, while practising my heart with wisdom; and how to lay hold on folly, till I should see what was that good for the children of men which they should do under the heavens all the days of their life.

English Revised Version
I searched in mine heart how to cheer my flesh with wine, mine heart yet guiding me with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what it was good for the sons of men that they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.

Webster's Bible Translation
I sought in my heart, to give myself to wine, yet acquainting my heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.

World English Bible
I searched in my heart how to cheer my flesh with wine, my heart yet guiding me with wisdom, and how to lay hold of folly, until I might see what it was good for the sons of men that they should do under heaven all the days of their lives.

Young's Literal Translation
I have sought in my heart to draw out with wine my appetite, (and my heart leading in wisdom), and to take hold on folly till that I see where is this -- the good to the sons of man of that which they do under the heavens, the number of the days of their lives.
Study Bible
The Futility of Pleasures
2I said of laughter, "It is madness," and of pleasure, "What does it accomplish?" 3I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives. 4I enlarged my works: I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself;…
Cross References
Judges 9:13
"But the vine said to them, 'Shall I leave my new wine, which cheers God and men, and go to wave over the trees?'

Psalm 104:15
And wine which makes man's heart glad, So that he may make his face glisten with oil, And food which sustains man's heart.

Ecclesiastes 2:24
There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God.

Ecclesiastes 3:12
I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime;

Ecclesiastes 3:13
moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor-- it is the gift of God.

Ecclesiastes 5:18
Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one's labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward.

Ecclesiastes 6:12
For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his futile life? He will spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?

Ecclesiastes 7:25
I directed my mind to know, to investigate and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness.

Ecclesiastes 8:15
So I commended pleasure, for there is nothing good for a man under the sun except to eat and to drink and to be merry, and this will stand by him in his toils throughout the days of his life which God has given him under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 10:19
Men prepare a meal for enjoyment, and wine makes life merry, and money is the answer to everything.
Treasury of Scripture

I sought in my heart to give myself to wine, yet acquainting my heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.

sought

Ecclesiastes 1:17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: …

1 Samuel 25:36 And Abigail came to Nabal; and, behold, he held a feast in his house, …

give myself unto wine or draw myself with wine

Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whoever is deceived …

Proverbs 31:4,5 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; …

Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

and to lay

Ecclesiastes 7:18 It is good that you should take hold of this; yes, also from this …

Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whoever is deceived …

Proverbs 23:29-35 Who has woe? who has sorrow? who has contentions? who has babbling? …

Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and …

2 Corinthians 6:15-17 And what concord has Christ with Belial? or what part has he that …

till

Ecclesiastes 6:12 For who knows what is good for man in this life, all the days of …

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep …

all

Genesis 47:9 And Jacob said to Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage …

Job 14:14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time …

Psalm 90:9-12 For all our days are passed away in your wrath: we spend our years …

(3) Sought.--The word translated "search out" (Ecclesiastes 1:13).

"Draw," margin. There is no Biblical parallel for the use of the word in this sense. The general meaning is plain.

Acquainting.--Rather, guiding. The word is used of the driver of an animal or the shepherd of a flock (2Samuel 6:3; Psalm 80:1; Isaiah 63:4). Kohleth contemplated not an unrestrained enjoyment of pleasure, but one controlled by prudence.

All the days.--(See margin). This phrase occurs again in Ecclesiastes 5:17; Ecclesiastes 6:12. We have "men of number" in the sense of "few"--i.e., so few that they can be numbered (Genesis 34:30, and often elsewhere). So we may translate here "for their span of life."

Verse 3. - I sought in mine heart; literally, I spied out (as Ecclesiastes 1:13) in my heart. Having proved the fruitlessness of some sort of sensual pleasure, he made another experiment in a philosophical spirit. To give myself unto wine; literally, to draw (mashak) my flesh with wine; i.e. to use the attraction of the pleasures of the table. Yet acquainting my heart with wisdom. This is a parenthetical clause, which Wright translates, "While my heart was acting [guiding] with wisdom." That is, while, as it were, experimenting with pleasure, he still retained sufficient control over his passions as not to be wholly given over to vice; he was in the position of one who is being carried down an impetuous stream, yet has the power of stopping his headlong course before it becomes fatal to him. Such control was given by wisdom. Deliberately to enter upon a course of self-indulgence, even with a possibly good intention, must be a most perilous trial, and one which would leave indelible marks upon the soul; and not one person in a hundred would be able to stop short of ruin, The historical Solomon, by his experiment, suffered infinite loss, which nothing could compensate. The Septuagint renders not very successfully, "I examined whether my heart would draw (ἑλκύσει) my flesh as wine; and my heart guided me in wisdom." The Vulgate gives a sense entirely contrary to the writer's intention; "I thought in my heart to withdraw my flesh from wine, that I might transfer my mind to wisdom." And to lay hold on folly. These words are dependent upon "I sought in my heart," and refer to the sensual pleasures in which he indulged for a certain object. "Dulce est desipere in loco," says Horace ('Canto.,' 4:12. 28); Ἐν μὲν μαινομένοις μάλα μαίνομαι (Theognis, 313). Till I might see. His purpose was to discover if there was in these things any real good which might satisfy men's cravings, and be a worthy object for them to pursue all the days of their life. I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine,.... Not in an immoderate way, so as to intoxicate himself with it, in which there can be no pleasure, nor any show of happiness; but in a moderate, yet liberal way, so as to be innocently cheerful and pleasant, and hereby try what good and happiness were to be possessed in this way. By "wine" is meant, not that only, but everything eatable and drinkable that is good; it signifies what is called good living, good eating and drinking: Solomon always lived well; was brought up as a prince, and, when he came to the throne, lived like a king; but being increased in riches, and willing to make trial of the good that was in all the creatures of God, to see if any happiness was in them; determines to keep a better table still, and resolved to have everything to eat or drink that could be had, cost what it will; of Solomon's daily provision for his household, see 1 Kings 4:22; the Midrash interprets it, of the wine of the law. It may be rendered, "I sought in mine heart to draw out my flesh with wine", or "my body" (y); to extend it, and make it fat and plump; which might be reduced to skin and bones, to a mere skeleton, through severe studies after wisdom and knowledge. The Targum is,

"I sought in my heart to draw my flesh into the house of the feast of wine;''

as if there was a reluctance in him to such a conduct; and that he as it were put a force upon himself, in order to make the experiment;

(yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom); or, "yet my heart led me in wisdom" (z): he was guided and governed by wisdom in this research of happiness; he was upon his guard, that he did not go into any sinful extravagancies, or criminal excesses in eating and drinking;

and to lay hold on folly; that he might better know what folly was, and what was the folly of the sons of men to place their happiness in such things; or rather, he studiously sought to lay hold on folly, to restrain it, and himself from it, that it might not have the ascendant over him; so that he would not be able to form a right judgment whether there is any real happiness in this sort of pleasure, or not, he is, speaking of; for the epicure, the voluptuous person, is no judge of it;

till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life; where the "summum bonum", or chief happiness of man lies; and which he should endeavour to seek after and pursue, that he might enjoy it throughout the whole of his life, while in this world: and that he might still more fully know it, if possible, he did the following things.

(y) "ut diducerem vino carnem meam", Piscator; "ut protraherem, et inde distenderem carnem meam", Rambachius. (z) "et cor meam ducens in sapientia", Montanus; "interim cor meum ducens in sapientiam", Drusius. 3-11. Illustration more at large of Ec 2:1, 2.

I sought—I resolved, after search into many plans.

give myself unto wine—literally, "to draw my flesh," or "body to wine" (including all banquetings). Image from a captive drawn after a chariot in triumph (Ro 6:16, 19; 1Co 12:2); or, one "allured" (2Pe 2:18, 19).

yet acquainting … wisdom—literally, "and my heart (still) was behaving, or guiding itself," with wisdom [Gesenius]. Maurer translates: "was weary of (worldly) wisdom." But the end of Ec 2:9 confirms English Version.

folly—namely, pleasures of the flesh, termed "mad," Ec 2:2.

all the days, etc.—(See Margin and Ec 6:12; Job 15:20).2:1-11 Solomon soon found mirth and pleasure to be vanity. What does noisy, flashy mirth towards making a man happy? The manifold devices of men's hearts, to get satisfaction from the world, and their changing from one thing to another, are like the restlessness of a man in a fever. Perceiving it was folly to give himself to wine, he next tried the costly amusements of princes. The poor, when they read such a description, are ready to feel discontent. But the remedy against all such feelings is in the estimate of it all by the owner himself. All was vanity and vexation of spirit: and the same things would yield the same result to us, as to Solomon. Having food and raiment, let us therewith be content. His wisdom remained with him; a strong understanding, with great human knowledge. But every earthly pleasure, when unconnected with better blessings, leaves the mind as eager and unsatisfied as before. Happiness arises not from the situation in which we are placed. It is only through Jesus Christ that final blessedness can be attained.
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Alphabetical: and body cheering could days do during embracing explored few folly for good guiding heaven hold how I is lives me men mind my myself of see sons still stimulate take the their there to tried under until wanted was what while wine wisdom wisely with worthwhile years

OT Poetry: Ecclesiastes 2:3 I searched in my heart how (Ecclesiast. Ec Ecc Eccles.) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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