Ecclesiastes 3:11
Parallel Verses
New International Version
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

New Living Translation
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end.

English Standard Version
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

New American Standard Bible
He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

King James Bible
He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts, but man cannot discover the work God has done from beginning to end.

International Standard Version
He made everything appropriate in its time. He also placed eternity within them—yet, no person can fully comprehend what God is doing from beginning to end.

NET Bible
God has made everything fit beautifully in its appropriate time, but he has also placed ignorance in the human heart so that people cannot discover what God has ordained, from the beginning to the end of their lives.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
It is beautiful how God has done everything at the right time. He has put a sense of eternity in people's minds. Yet, mortals still can't grasp what God is doing from the beginning to the end [of time].

Jubilee Bible 2000
He has made every thing beautiful in his time: even the world he has given over to their will, in such a way that no man can attain to this work that God makes from the beginning to the end.

King James 2000 Bible
He has made every thing beautiful in its time: also he has put eternity in men's hearts, so that no man can find out the work that God does from the beginning to the end.

American King James Version
He has made every thing beautiful in his time: also he has set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God makes from the beginning to the end.

American Standard Version
He hath made everything beautiful in its time: also he hath set eternity in their heart, yet so that man cannot find out the work that God hath done from the beginning even to the end.

Douay-Rheims Bible
He hath made all things good in their time, and hath delivered the world to their consideration, so that man cannot flnd out the work which God hath made from the beginning to the end.

Darby Bible Translation
He hath made everything beautiful in its time; also he hath set the world in their heart, so that man findeth not out from the beginning to the end the work that God doeth.

English Revised Version
He hath made every thing beautiful in its time: also he hath set the world in their heart, yet so that man cannot find out the work that God hath done from the beginning even to the end.

Webster's Bible Translation
He hath made every thing beautiful in its time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

World English Bible
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in their hearts, yet so that man can't find out the work that God has done from the beginning even to the end.

Young's Literal Translation
The whole He hath made beautiful in its season; also, that knowledge He hath put in their heart without which man findeth not out the work that God hath done from the beginning even unto the end.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

3:11-15 Every thing is as God made it; not as it appears to us. We have the world so much in our hearts, are so taken up with thoughts and cares of worldly things, that we have neither time nor spirit to see God's hand in them. The world has not only gained possession of the heart, but has formed thoughts against the beauty of God's works. We mistake if we think we were born for ourselves; no, it is our business to do good in this life, which is short and uncertain; we have but little time to be doing good, therefore we should redeem time. Satisfaction with Divine Providence, is having faith that all things work together for good to them that love him. God doeth all, that men should fear before him. The world, as it has been, is, and will be. There has no change befallen us, nor has any temptation by it taken us, but such as is common to men.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 11. - He hath made every thing beautiful in his (its) time. "Everything:" (eth hacol) does not refer so much to the original creation which God made very good (Genesis 1:31), as to the travail and business mentioned in ver. 10. All parts of this have, in God's design, a beauty and a harmony, their own season for appearance and development, their work to do in carrying on the majestic march of Providence. Also he hath set the world in their heart. "The world;" eth-haolam, placed (as haeol above) before the verb, with eth, to emphasize the relation. There is some uncertainty in the translation of this word. The LXX. has, Σύμπαντα τὸν αἰῶνα; Vulgate, Mundum tradidit disputationi eorum. The original meaning is "the hidden," and it is used generally in the Old Testament of the remote past, and sometimes of the future, as Daniel 3:33 [Daniel 4:3], so that the idea conveyed is of unknown duration, whether the glance looks backward or forward, which is equivalent to our word "eternity." It is only in later Hebrew that the word obtained the signification of "age" (αἰών), or "world" in its relation to time. Commentators who have adopted the latter sense here explain the expression as if it meant that man in himself is a microcosm, a little world, or that the love of the world, the love of life, is naturally implanted in him. But taking the term in the signification found throughout the Bible, we are justified in translating it "eternity." The pronoun in "their heart" refers to "the sons of men" in the previous verse. God has put into men's minds a notion of infinity of duration; the beginning and the end of things are alike beyond his grasp; the time to be born and the time to die are equally unknown and uncontrollable. Koheleth is not thinking of that hope of immortality which his words unfold to us with our better knowledge; he is speculating on the innate faculty of looking backward and forward which man possesses, but which is insufficient to solve the problems which present themselves every day. This conception of eternity may be the foundation of great hopes and expectations, but as an explanation of the ways of Providence it fails. So that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end; or, without man being able to penetrate; yet so that he cannot, etc. Man sees only minute parts of the great whole; he cannot comprehend all at one view, cannot understand the law that regulates the time and season of every circumstance in the history of man and the world. He feels that, as there has been an infinite past, there will be an infinite future, which may solve anomalies and demonstrate the harmonious unity of God's design, and he must be content to wait and hope. Comparison of the past with the present may help to adumbrate the future, but is inadequate to unravel the complicated thread of the world's history (comp. Ecclesiastes 8:16, 17, and Ecclesiastes 9:1, where a similar thought is expressed).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time,.... That is, God has made everything; as all things in creation are made by him, for his pleasure and glory, and all well and wisely, there is a beauty in them all: so all things in providence; he upholds all things; he governs and orders all things according to the counsel of his will; some things are done immediately by him, others by instruments, and some are only permitted by him; some he does himself, some he wills to be done by others, and some he suffers to be done; but in all there is a beauty and harmony; and all are ordered, disposed, and overruled, to answer the wisest and greatest purposes; everything is done in the time in which he wills it shall; be done, and done in the time most fit and suitable for it to be done; all things before mentioned, for which there is a time, and all others: all natural things are beautiful in their season; things in summer, winter, spring, and autumn; frost and snow in winter, and heat in summer; darkness and dews in the night, and light and brightness in the day; and so in ten thousand other things: all afflictive dispensations of Providence; times of plucking up and breaking down of weeping and mourning, of losing and casting away are all necessary, and seasonable and beautiful, in their issue and consequences: prosperity and adversity, in their turns, make a beautiful checker work, and work together for good; are like Joseph's coat, of many colours, which was an emblem of those various providences which attended that good man; and were extremely beautiful, as are all the providences of God to men: and all his judgments will be, when made manifest; when he shall have performed his whole work, and the mystery of God in providence will be finished; which is like a piece of tapestry; when only viewed in parts no beauty appears in it, scarce any thing to be made of it but when all is put together, it is most beautiful and harmonious. The words may be rendered, "the beautiful One hath made all things in his time" (m); the Messiah; who, as a divine Person, is the brightness of his Father's glory; as man, is fairer than the sons, of Adam; as Mediator, is full of grace and truth; is white and ruddy, altogether lovely, exceeding precious to his people: this fair and lovely One has made all things in creation; works with his Father in the affairs of providence; and has done all things well in grace and redemption, John 1:2;

also he hath set the world in their heart; so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end; not a sinful love of the world, and the things of it; not a criminal desire after them, and a carking care for them, whereby persons have no heart and inclination, time and leisure, to search into and find out the works of God; for though all this is in the heart of the sons of men, yet, not placed, there by the Lord: nor an opinion of living for ever; of a long time in this world, the word for "world" having the signification of perpetuity in it; so that they regard not, the work of the Lord, nor the operations of his hands, tomorrow being with them as this day, and much more abundant; but this sense meets with the same difficulty as the former. Rather the meaning is, that God hath set before the minds of men, and in them, the whole world of creatures, the whole book of nature, in which they may see and read much of the wisdom power, and goodness of God in his works; and to some he gives an inclination and desire hereunto; but yet the subject before them is so copious, there is such a world of matter presented to them, and their capacity so small, and life so short, that they cannot all their days find out the works of God, either of creation or providence, to perfection; or find out what God works, from the beginning of the world to the end of it; for, of what he has wrought, but a small portion is known by them, and they know less still what shall be done hereafter: some of God's works of providence are set on foot and but begun in the life of some men; they do not live to see them finished, and therefore cannot find them out; and others are so dark and obscure, that they are obliged to say, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" see Romans 1:19; and though everything is beautiful in its time, yet till they are made manifest, and all viewed together; they will not be perfectly understood, or the beauty of them seen, Revelation 15:4. For God has put something "hidden", or "sealed up", in the midst of them, as it may be rendered (n), so that they cannot be perfectly known.

(m) "haec omnia facit pulcher in tempore suo, i.e. Messias"; so some in Rambachius. (n) Vid. Schultens de Defect. Hod. Ling. Heb. s. 180.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

11. his time—that is, in its proper season (Ps 1:3), opposed to worldlings putting earthly pursuits out of their proper time and place (see on [657]Ec 3:9).

set the world in their heart—given them capacities to understand the world of nature as reflecting God's wisdom in its beautiful order and times (Ro 1:19, 20). "Everything" answers to "world," in the parallelism.

so that—that is, but in such a manner that man only sees a portion, not the whole "from beginning to end" (Ec 8:17; Job 26:14; Ro 11:33; Re 15:4). Parkhurst, for "world," translates: "Yet He hath put obscurity in the midst of them," literally, "a secret," so man's mental dimness of sight as to the full mystery of God's works. So Holden and Weiss. This incapacity for "finding out" (comprehending) God's work is chiefly the fruit of the fall. The worldling ever since, not knowing God's time and order, labors in vain, because out of time and place.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Excellence in God's Works
10I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. 11He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. 12I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime;…
Cross References
Romans 11:33
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!

Genesis 1:31
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the sixth day.

Job 5:9
He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.

Proverbs 16:4
The LORD works out everything to its proper end-- even the wicked for a day of disaster.

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 7:13
Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked?

Ecclesiastes 7:23
All this I tested by wisdom and I said, "I am determined to be wise"-- but this was beyond me.

Ecclesiastes 8:17
then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.

Ecclesiastes 11:5
As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.
Treasury of Scripture

He has made every thing beautiful in his time: also he has set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God makes from the beginning to the end.

hath made

Ecclesiastes 7:29 See, this only have I found, that God has made man upright; but they …

Genesis 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very …

Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: …

Mark 7:37 And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He has done all things …

also

Matthew 13:22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hears the …

Romans 1:19,20,28 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God …

Job 11:7 Can you by searching find out God? can you find out the Almighty to perfection?

Job 37:23 Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in …

Psalm 104:24 O LORD, how manifold are your works! in wisdom have you made them …

Matthew 11:27 All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knows the …

Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! …

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