Ecclesiastes 3:18
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
I also said to myself, "As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals.

New Living Translation
I also thought about the human condition--how God proves to people that they are like animals.

English Standard Version
I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts.

New American Standard Bible
I said to myself concerning the sons of men, "God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts."

King James Bible
I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I said to myself, "This happens concerning people, so that God may test them and they may see for themselves that they are like animals."

International Standard Version
"As for human beings," I told myself, "God puts them to the test, that they might see themselves as mere animals."

NET Bible
I also thought to myself, "It is for the sake of people, so God can clearly show them that they are like animals.

New Heart English Bible
I said in my heart, "As for the sons of men, God tests them, so that they may see that they themselves are like animals.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I thought to myself, "God is going to test humans in order to show them that they are [like] animals."

JPS Tanakh 1917
I said in my heart: 'It is because of the sons of men, that God may sift them, and that they may see that they themselves are but as beasts.'

New American Standard 1977
I said to myself concerning the sons of men, “God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
I said in my heart concerning the estate of the sons of men that God might manifest them and that they might see that they themselves are beasts one to another.

King James 2000 Bible
I said in my heart concerning the condition of the sons of men, that God might reveal them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.

American King James Version
I said in my heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.

American Standard Version
I said in my heart, It is because of the sons of men, that God may prove them, and that they may see that they themselves are but as beasts.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I said in my heart concerning the sons of men, that God would prove them, and shew them to be like beasts.

Darby Bible Translation
I said in my heart, It is thus with the children of men, that God may prove them, and that they should see that they themselves are but beasts.

English Revised Version
I said in mine heart, It is because of the sons of men, that God may prove them, and that they may see that they themselves are but as beasts.

Webster's Bible Translation
I said in my heart concerning the state of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.

World English Bible
I said in my heart, "As for the sons of men, God tests them, so that they may see that they themselves are like animals.

Young's Literal Translation
I said in my heart concerning the matter of the sons of man that God might cleanse them, so as to see that they themselves are beasts.
Study Bible
From Dust to Dust
17I said to myself, "God will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man," for a time for every matter and for every deed is there. 18I said to myself concerning the sons of men, "God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts." 19For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity.…
Cross References
Psalm 49:12
But man in his pomp will not endure; He is like the beasts that perish.

Psalm 49:20
Man in his pomp, yet without understanding, Is like the beasts that perish.

Psalm 73:22
Then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You.
Treasury of Scripture

I said in my heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.

concerning

Genesis 3:17-19 And to Adam he said, Because you have listened to the voice of your …

Job 14:1-4 Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble…

Job 15:16 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinks iniquity like water?

Psalm 49:14,19,20 Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; …

Psalm 73:18,19 Surely you did set them in slippery places: you cast them down into …

Psalm 90:5-12 You carry them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the …

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment:

1 Peter 1:24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower …

that God

Job 40:8 Will you also cancel my judgment? will you condemn me, that you may …

Psalm 51:4 Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your …

Romans 3:4 God forbid: yes, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is …

Romans 9:23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels …

and that

Psalm 73:22 So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before you.

2 Peter 2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, …

Verse 18. - The comfort derived from the thought of the future judgment is clouded by the reflection that man is as powerless as the beast to control his destiny. Concerning the estate of the sons of men; rather, it happens on account of the sons of men. God allows events to take place, disorders to continue, etc., for the ultimate profit of men, though the idea that follows is humiliating and dispiriting. The LXX. has περὶ λαλιᾶς, "concerning the speech of the sons of men." So the Syriac. The word dibrah may indeed bear that meaning, as it is also used for "word" or "matter;" but we cannot conceive that the clause refers solely to words, and the expression in the text signifies merely "for the sake, on account of," as in Ecclesiastes 8:2. That God might manifest them; rather, that God might test them; Ut probaret eos Dens (Vulgate). God allows these things, endures them patiently, and does not at once redress them, for two reasons. The first of these is that they may serve for the probation of men, giving them opportunity of making good or bad use of them. We see the effect of this forbearance on the wicked in Ecclesiastes 8:11; it hardens them in impenitence; while it nourishes the faith of the righteous, and helps them to persevere (see Daniel 11:35 and Revelation 22:11). And that they might see that they themselves are beasts. The pronoun is repeated emphatically, "that they themselves are [like] beasts, they in themselves." This is the second reason. Thus they learn their own powerlessness, if they regard merely their own animal life; apart from their relation to God and hope of the future, they are no better than the lower creatures. Septuagint. "And to show (τοῦ δεῖξαι) that they are beasts." So the Vulgate and Syriac. The Masoretic reading adopted in the Anglican Version seems best. I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men,.... He thought of the condition of the children of men, their sinful and polluted state; he weighed and considered in his mind their actions, conversation, and course of life; and was concerned how it would go with them at the day of judgment on account of the same. Some render it, "I said in mine heart after the speech of the children of men" (r); speaking in their language, and representing the atheist and the epicure, as some think the wise man does in the following verses; though he rather speaks his own real sentiments concerning men, as they are in their present state, and as they will appear in the day of judgment;

that God might manifest them; or "separate them" (s); as the chaff from the wheat, and as goats from the sheep; as will be done at the day of judgment, Matthew 3:10; or "that they might clear God" (t); as they will, when he shall judge and condemn them;

and that they might see that they themselves are beasts; as they are through the fall, and the corruption of nature, being born like the wild ass's colt, stupid, senseless, and without understanding of spiritual things; nay, more brutish than the beasts themselves, than the horse and the mule that have no understanding, Psalm 32:9; "mulo inscitior", as is Plautus's (u) phrase; see Psalm 49:12, Isaiah 1:3; this is now made manifest to the people of God by the word and Spirit; is seen, known, and acknowledged by them, Psalm 73:21; and the wicked themselves will see, know, and own what beasts they are and have been, at the day of judgment; how they have lived and died like beasts; how like brute beasts they have corrupted themselves in things they knew naturally; and that as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, spoke evil of things they understood not, and perished in their own corruption, Jde 1:10, 2 Peter 2:12; and that they have been beasts to themselves, as Jarchi renders and interprets it; made beasts of themselves by their brutish gratifications; have been cruel to themselves, ruining and destroying their own souls; or among themselves, and to one another, "homo lupus homini"; hence wicked men are compared to lions, foxes, evening wolves, vipers, and the like. So Mr. Broughton renders it, "how they are beasts, they to themselves."

(r) "super verbum filiorum Adam", Montanus; "verbis hominum", Arabic and Syriac versions. (s) "ut discernat illos", Cocceius; "quia delegit eos", some in Vatablus; so Aben Ezra and Ben Melech. (t) "Ut ipsi expurgent Deum", Anglic. in Reinbeck; some in Rambachius render it thus, "ut seligant ipsi (homines) Deum"; so Varenius. (u) Cisteilaria, Acts 4. 18. estate—The estate of fallen man is so ordered (these wrongs are permitted), that God might "manifest," that is, thereby prove them, and that they might themselves see their mortal frailty, like that of the beasts.

sons of men—rather, "sons of Adam," a phrase used for "fallen men." The toleration of injustice until the judgment is designed to "manifest" men's characters in their fallen state, to see whether the oppressed will bear themselves aright amidst their wrongs, knowing that the time is short, and there is a coming judgment. The oppressed share in death, but the comparison to "beasts" applies especially to the ungodly oppressors (Ps 49:12, 20). They too need to be "manifested" ("proved"), whether, considering that they must soon die as the "beasts," and fearing the judgment to come, they will repent (Da 4:27).3:16-22 Without the fear of the Lord, man is but vanity; set that aside, and judges will not use their power well. And there is another Judge that stands before the door. With God there is a time for the redressing of grievances, though as yet we see it not. Solomon seems to express his wish that men might perceive, that by choosing this world as their portion, they brought themselves to a level with the beasts, without being free, as they are, from present vexations and a future account. Both return to the dust from whence they were taken. What little reason have we to be proud of our bodies, or bodily accomplishments! But as none can fully comprehend, so few consider properly, the difference between the rational soul of man, and the spirit or life of the beast. The spirit of man goes upward, to be judged, and is then fixed in an unchangeable state of happiness or misery. It is as certain that the spirit of the beast goes downward to the earth; it perishes at death. Surely their case is lamentable, the height of whose hopes and wishes is, that they may die like beasts. Let our inquiry be, how an eternity of existence may be to us an eternity of enjoyment? To answer this, is the grand design of revelation. Jesus is revealed as the Son of God, and the Hope of sinners.
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