Ecclesiastes 3:15
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account.

New Living Translation
What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.

English Standard Version
That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.

New American Standard Bible
That which is has been already and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by.

King James Bible
That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Whatever is, has already been, and whatever will be, already is. God repeats what has passed.

International Standard Version
That which was, now is; and that which will be, already is; and God examines what has already taken place.

NET Bible
Whatever exists now has already been, and whatever will be has already been; for God will seek to do again what has occurred in the past.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Whatever has happened [in the past] is present now. Whatever is going to happen [in the future] has already happened [in the past]. God will call the past to account.

Jubilee Bible 2000
That which has been is now, and that which is to be has already been and God shall seek that which is past.

King James 2000 Bible
That which has been is now; and that which is to be has already been; and God requires that which is past.

American King James Version
That which has been is now; and that which is to be has already been; and God requires that which is past.

American Standard Version
That which is hath been long ago; and that which is to be hath long ago been: and God seeketh again that which is passed away.

Douay-Rheims Bible
That which hath been made, the same continueth: the things that shall be, have already been: and God restoreth that which is past.

Darby Bible Translation
That which is was long ago, and that which is to be hath already been; and God bringeth back again that which is past.

English Revised Version
That which is hath been already; and that which is to be hath already been: and God seeketh again that which is passed away.

Webster's Bible Translation
That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.

World English Bible
That which is has been long ago, and that which is to be has been long ago: and God seeks again that which is passed away.

Young's Literal Translation
What is that which hath been? already it is, and that which is to be hath already been, and God requireth that which is pursued.
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 15. - That which hath been is now; so Septuagint; "That which hath been made, the same remaineth" (Vulgate); better, that which hath been, long ago it is; i.e. was in existence long before. The thought is much the same as in Ecclesiastes 1:9, only here it is adduced not to prove the vanity and endless sameness of circumstances, but the orderly and appointed succession of events under the controlling providence of God. That which is to be hath already been. The future will be a reproduction of the past. The laws which regulate things change not; the moral government is exercised by him who "is, and was, and is to come" (Revelation 1:8), and therefore in effect history repeats itself; the same causes produce the same phenomena. God requireth that which is past; literally, God seeketh after that which hath been chased away; Septuagint, "God will seek him who is pursued (τὸν διωκόμενον);" Vulgate, "God reneweth that which is passed (instaurat quod abiit)." The meaning is - God brings back to view, recalls again into being, that which was past and had vanished out of sight and mind. The sentence is an explanation of the preceding clauses, and has nothing to do with the inquisition at the day of judgment. Hengstenberg has followed the Septuagint, Syriac, and Targum, in translating, "God seeks the persecuted," and seeing herein an allusion to the punishment of the Egyptians for pursuing the Israelites to the Red Sea, or a general statement that God succors the oppressed. But this idea is quite alien to the intention of the passage, and injures the coherence.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

That which hath seen is now; and that which is to be hath already been,.... That which has been from the beginning now is; that which cometh, and what shall be in the end of days, has been already, as the Targum. Jarchi interprets this of God and his attributes, which are always the same; he is the "I am that I am", Exodus 3:14; the immutable and eternal Jehovah, which is, and was, and is to come, invariably the same. Or rather it designs his decrees and purposes; what has been decreed in his eternal mind is now accomplished; and what is future has been already in his decrees; nor does anything come to pass but what he has appointed. So it is interpreted, in an ancient tract (p) of the Jews, of

"what was before it came into the world, so that there is nothing new under the sun; now it is obliged to come into this world, as it is said, "before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee", Jeremiah 1:5.''

This will also hold true of natural things, and of the identity of them; of some individuals, as the sun, moon, and stars, which are as they always were, and will be; the sun rises and sets as it used to do; and the moon increases and decreases, as it always has done; and the stars keep the same station or course, and so they ever will, as they have: the same seasons are now in their turn as heretofore, and such as will be have been already; as summer, winter, spring, autumn, seedtime, harvest, cold, heat, night, and day: the same kinds and species of creatures, that have been, are; and what will be have been already; so that there is no new thing under the sun; the same thing is here expressed as in Ecclesiastes 1:9;

and God requireth that which is past; his decrees and purposes to be fulfilled, which are past in his mind; the same seasons to return which have been; and the same kinds and species of creatures to exist which have already. The words may be rendered, "and God seeketh that which is pursued", or "persecuted" (q): and accordingly the whole will bear a different sense; and the preacher may be thought to have entered upon a new subject, which he continues in some following verses, the abuse of power and authority: and the meaning then is, the same acts of injustice, violence, and persecution, have been done formerly as now, and now as formerly; and what hereafter of this kind may be, will be no other than what has been; from the beginning persecution was; Cain hated and slew his brother, because of his superior goodness; and so it always has been, is, and will be, that such who are after the flesh persecute those who are after the spirit; but God will make inquisition for blood, and require it at the hands of those that shed it; he will seek out the persecuted, and vindicate him, and, avenge his persecutor. This way the Midrash, Jarchi, and Alshech, and the Septuagint version, render the words; and so the Syriac version, "God seeketh him that is afflicted, who is driven away"; and to this agrees the Targum,

"and in the great day which shall be, the Lord will require the mean and poor man of the hands of the wicked that persecute him.''

And what follows seems to confirm this sense.

(p) Tikkune Zohar Correct. 69. fol. 104. 2.((q) "Deus quaerit propulsum, seu quod persecutionem veluti passum est", Gejerus, Schmidt.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

15. Resumption of Ec 1:9. Whatever changes there be, the succession of events is ordered by God's "everlasting" laws (Ec 3:14), and returns in a fixed cycle.

requireth that … past—After many changes, God's law requires the return of the same cycle of events, as in the past, literally, "that which is driven on." The Septuagint and Syriac translate: "God requireth (that is, avengeth) the persecuted man"; a transition to Ec 3:16, 17. The parallel clauses of the verse support English Version.

Ecclesiastes 3:15 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Excellence in God's Works
14I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him. 15That which is has been already and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by.
Cross References
Ecclesiastes 1:9
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 2:12
Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom, and also madness and folly. What more can the king's successor do than what has already been done?

Ecclesiastes 6:10
Whatever exists has already been named, and what humanity is has been known; no one can contend with someone who is stronger.
Treasury of Scripture

That which has been is now; and that which is to be has already been; and God requires that which is past.

which hath

Ecclesiastes 1:9,10 The thing that has been, it is that which shall be; and that which …

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