|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 9. - So I was great (see on Ecclesiastes 1:16). This refers to the magnificence and extent of his possessions and luxury, as the former passage to the surpassing excellence of his wisdom. We may compare the mention of Abraham (Genesis 26:13), "The man waxed great, and grew more and more until he became very great" (sc. Job 1:3). Also my wisdom remained with me; perseveravit mecum (Vulgate); ἐστάθη μοι (Septuagint). In accordance with the purpose mentioned in ver. 3, he retained command of himself, studying philosophically the effects and nature of the pleasures of which he partook, and keeping ever in view the object of his pursuit. Voluptuousness was not the end which he sought, but one of the means to obtain the end; and what he calls his wisdom is not pure Divine wisdom that comes from above, but an earthly prudence and self-restraint.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
So I was great,.... Became famous for the great works wrought by him before mentioned;
and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem; the Targum adds, "in riches"; but it seems rather to respect his fame and glory among men; though in general it may include his increase of wealth, power, and honour, and everything that contributed to his external happiness;
also my wisdom remained with me; the Targum adds, "and it helped me"; which he exercised and showed in the government of his kingdom, in the conduct of his family, in his personal deportment and behaviour; amidst all his pleasures, he did not neglect the study of natural knowledge, nor give himself up to sordid and sinful lusts; and so was a better judge of pleasure, whether true happiness consisted in it or not.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. great—opulent (Ge 24:35; Job 1:3; see 1Ki 10:23).
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