Ecclesiastes 4:1
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New International Version
Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed-- and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors-- and they have no comforter.

New Living Translation
Again, I observed all the oppression that takes place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and their victims are helpless.

English Standard Version
Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them.

New American Standard Bible
Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them.

King James Bible
So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Again, I observed all the acts of oppression being done under the sun. Look at the tears of those who are oppressed; they have no one to comfort them. Power is with those who oppress them; they have no one to comfort them.

International Standard Version
Next I turned to consider all kinds of oppression that exists on earth. Look at the tears of the oppressed— there is no one to comfort them. Power is on the side of their oppressors; so they have no comforters.

NET Bible
So I again considered all the oppression that continually occurs on earth. This is what I saw: The oppressed were in tears, but no one was comforting them; no one delivers them from the power of their oppressors.

New Heart English Bible
Then I returned and saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and look, the tears of those who were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Next, I turned to look at all the acts of oppression that make people suffer under the sun. Look at the tears of those who suffer! No one can comfort them. Their oppressors have [all] the power. No one can comfort those who suffer.

JPS Tanakh 1917
But I returned and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun; and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power, but they had no comforter.

New American Standard 1977
Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them.

Jubilee Bible 2000
So I returned and considered all the violence that is done under the sun and behold the tears of such as are oppressed, and they have no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but the oppressed had no comforter.

King James 2000 Bible
So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.

American King James Version
So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.

American Standard Version
Then I returned and saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and, behold, the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I turned myself to other things, and I saw the oppressions that are done under the sun, and the tears of the innocent, and they had no comforter; and they were not able to resist their violence, being destitute of help from any.

Darby Bible Translation
And I returned and saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors was power, and they had no comforter.

English Revised Version
Then I returned and saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold, the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power, but they had no comforter.

Webster's Bible Translation
So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.

World English Bible
Then I returned and saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold, the tears of those who were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.

Young's Literal Translation
And I have turned, and I see all the oppressions that are done under the sun, and lo, the tear of the oppressed, and they have no comforter; and at the hand of their oppressors is power, and they have no comforter.
Study Bible
The Evils of Oppression
1Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them. 2So I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living.…
Cross References
Job 35:9
"Because of the multitude of oppressions they cry out; They cry for help because of the arm of the mighty.

Psalm 12:5
"Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy, Now I will arise," says the LORD; "I will set him in the safety for which he longs."

Ecclesiastes 3:16
Furthermore, I have seen under the sun that in the place of justice there is wickedness and in the place of righteousness there is wickedness.

Ecclesiastes 5:8
If you see oppression of the poor and denial of justice and righteousness in the province, do not be shocked at the sight; for one official watches over another official, and there are higher officials over them.

Ecclesiastes 7:7
For oppression makes a wise man mad, And a bribe corrupts the heart.

Ecclesiastes 8:9
All this I have seen and applied my mind to every deed that has been done under the sun wherein a man has exercised authority over another man to his hurt.

Isaiah 5:7
For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel And the men of Judah His delightful plant. Thus He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; For righteousness, but behold, a cry of distress.

Jeremiah 16:7
"Men will not break bread in mourning for them, to comfort anyone for the dead, nor give them a cup of consolation to drink for anyone's father or mother.

Lamentations 1:9
Her uncleanness was in her skirts; She did not consider her future. Therefore she has fallen astonishingly; She has no comforter. "See, O LORD, my affliction, For the enemy has magnified himself!"

Lamentations 1:16
"For these things I weep; My eyes run down with water; Because far from me is a comforter, One who restores my soul. My children are desolate Because the enemy has prevailed."
Treasury of Scripture

So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.

i returned

Job 6:29 Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yes, return again, my …

Malachi 3:18 Then shall you return, and discern between the righteous and the …

and considered

Ecclesiastes 3:16 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness …

Ecclesiastes 5:8 If you see the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of …

Ecclesiastes 7:7 Surely oppression makes a wise man mad; and a gift destroys the heart.

Exodus 1:13,14,16,22 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigor…

Exodus 2:23,24 And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: …

Exodus 5:16-19 There is no straw given to your servants, and they say to us, Make …

Deuteronomy 28:33,48 The fruit of your land, and all your labors, shall a nation which …

Judges 4:3 And the children of Israel cried to the LORD: for he had nine hundred …

Judges 10:7,8 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them …

Nehemiah 5:1-5 And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against …

Job 24:7-12 They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that they have no …

Psalm 10:9,10 He lies in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lies in wait to …

Proverbs 28:3,15,16 A poor man that oppresses the poor is like a sweeping rain which …

Isaiah 5:7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and …

Isaiah 51:23 But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict you; which have …

Isaiah 59:7,13-15 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: …

Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness …

the tears

Psalm 42:3,9 My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually …

Psalm 80:5 You feed them with the bread of tears; and give them tears to drink …

Psalm 102:8,9 My enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against …

Malachi 2:13 And this have you done again, covering the altar of the LORD with …

James 5:4 Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, …

they had

Job 16:4 I also could speak as you do: if your soul were in my soul's stead, …

Job 19:21,22 Have pity on me, have pity on me, O you my friends; for the hand …

Psalm 69:20 Reproach has broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked …

Psalm 142:4 I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that …

Proverbs 19:7 All the brothers of the poor do hate him: how much more do his friends …

Lamentations 1:2,9 She weeps sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: among …

Matthew 25:26 His lord answered and said to him, You wicked and slothful servant, …

2 Timothy 4:16,17 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: …

IV.

(1) Having dwelt on the instability of human happiness, the Preacher now turns to contemplate the actual misery of which the world is full.

Oppressions.--Job 35:9; Amos 3:9.

No comforter.--If Solomon were the writer, one asks, What was the king about? Could he do nothing but express helpless despair?

Verses 1-16. - Section 5. Koheleth proceeds to give further illustrations of man's inability to be the architect of his own happiness. There are many things which interrupt or destroy it. Verses 1-3. - First of all, he adduces the oppression of man by his fellow-man. Verse 1. - So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun. This is equivalent to, "again I saw," as ver. 7, with a reference to the wickedness in the place of judgment which he had noticed in Ecclesiastes 3:16. Ashukim, "oppressions," is found in Job 35:9 and Amos 3:9, and, being properly a participle passive, denotes oppressed persons or things, and so abstractedly "oppressions." Τὰς συκοφαντίας (Septuagint); calumnias (Vulgate). The verb is used of high-handed injustice, of offensive selfishness, of the hindrances to his neighbor's well-being caused by a man's careless disregard of aught but his own interests (comp. 1 Samuel 12:4; Hosea 12:8, etc.). Beheld the tears of such as were oppressed; τῶν συκοφαντουμένων (Septuagint); innocentium (Vulgate). He notes now not merely the fact of wrong being done, but its effect on the victim, and intimates his own pity for the sorrow. And they had no comforter. A sad refrain, echoed again at the end of the verse with touching pathos. Οὐκ ἔστιν αὐτοῖς παρακαλῶν (Septuagint); they had no earthly friends to visit them in their affliction, and they as yet knew not the soothing of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter (Παράκλητος). There was no one to wipe away their tears (Isaiah 25:8) or to redress their wrongs. The point is the powerlessness of man in the face of these disorders, his inability to right himself, the incompetence of others to aid him. On the side of their oppressors there was power (koach), in a bad sense, like the Greek βία equivalent to "violence." Thus the ungodly say, in the Book of Wisdom 2:11, "Let our strength be the law of justice." Vulgate, Nec posse resistere eorun violentiae, cunctorum auxilio destitutes. It is difficult to suppose that the state of things revealed by this verse existed in the days of King Solomon, or that so powerful a monarch, and one admired for "judgment and justice" (1 Kings 10:9), would be content with complaining of such disorders instead of checking them. There is no token of remorse for past unprofitableness or anguish of heart at the thought of failure in duty. If we take the words as the utterance of the real Solomon, we do violence to history, and must correct the existing chronicles of his reign. The picture here presented is one of later times, and it may be of other countries. Persian rule, or the tyranny of the Ptolemies, might afford an original from which it might be taken. So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun,.... The wise man, according to Aben Ezra, returned from the thought, which he had expressed in the latter part of the preceding chapter, that it was good for a man to rejoice in his works, and called it in; since he could not rejoice, when he considered the oppression and violence that were in the world; but it does not appear that he did call it in, for he afterwards repeats it: or rather he returns to his former subject, the abuse of power and authority, mentioned Ecclesiastes 3:16; and from whence he had digressed a little by the above observation; and takes a review of all kinds of oppressions which are done, and of all sorts of "oppressed" (x) ones, as some render it, which become so, under the sun; subjects by their prince; the stranger, widow, and fatherless, by unjust judges; the poor by the rich; servants and labourers by their masters; and the like. Moreover, he saw by the Holy Ghost, as Jarchi paraphrases it, all oppressions by a spirit of prophecy; he foresaw all the oppressions that would be done under the sun; as all the injuries done to the people of Israel in their several captivities; so to the church of Christ in Gospel times; all the persecutions of Rome Pagan, and also of Rome Papal; all that has or will be done by antichrist, the man of the earth, who before long will oppress no more, Psalm 10:18; the Targum restrains these oppressions to those which are done to the righteous in this world: and it is well observed by the wise man, that they are such as are under the sun, for there are none above it, nor any beyond the grave, Job 3:17;

and behold the tears of such as were oppressed; which their eyes poured out, and which ran down their cheeks, and were all they could do, having no power to help themselves: it is in the singular number, "and behold the tear" (y); as if it was one continued stream of tears, which, like a torrent, flowed from them; or as if they had so exhausted the source of nature by weeping, that the fountain of tears was dried up, and scarce another could drop; or it was as much as could be, that another should drop from them: and this the wise man could not well behold, without weeping himself; it being the property of a good man to weep with them that weep, especially with good men oppressed;

and they had no comforter; to speak a comfortable word to them; not so much as to do that which would be some alleviation of their sorrow, much less to help them, no human comforter; and this is a very deplorable condition, Lamentations 1:2; indeed, when this is the case, good men under their oppressions have a divine Comforter; God comforts them under all their tribulations; one of the names of the Messiah is "the Consolation of Israel", Luke 2:25; and the Spirit of God is "another Comforter", John 14:16; and such are well off, when all other comforters are miserable ones, or other men have none;

and on the side of their oppressors there was power; to crush them and keep them under, or to hinder others from helping or comforting them: or there was no "power to deliver them out of the hand of their oppressors" (z); so some render and supply the words; with which sense agrees the Targum,

"and there is none to redeem them out of the hand of their oppressors, by strength of hand and by power.''

It may be rendered, "out of the hand of their oppressors comes power", or violence; such as the oppressed are not able to withstand; so the Arabic version;

but they had no comforter: which is repeated, not so much for confirmation, as to excite attention and pity, and to express the affliction of the oppressed, and the cruelty of others; and this following on the other clause, leads to observe, that the power of the oppressor is what hinders and deters others from comforting. Jarchi interprets this whole verse of the damned in hell, punished for their evil works, weeping for their souls oppressed by the destroying angels; and so, he says, it is, explained in an ancient book of theirs, called Siphri.

(x) "oppressos", Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Drusius, Schmidt, Rambachius, so Broughton; "fraudatos", Cocceius. (y) "lachryma", Montanus, Tigurine version, Cocceius, Rambachius. (z) "et quia deest facultas se vindicandi e manu opprimentium ipsos", Tigurine version; "aut evadendi e manu opprimentium se virtus", Junius & Tremellius; "nec vires ad evadendum a manu opprimentium ipsos", Piscator. CHAPTER 4

Ec 4:1-16.

1. returned—namely, to the thought set forth (Ec 3:16; Job 35:9).

power—Maurer, not so well, "violence."

no comforter—twice said to express continued suffering without any to give comfort (Isa 53:7).4:1-3 It grieved Solomon to see might prevail against right. Wherever we turn, we see melancholy proofs of the wickedness and misery of mankind, who try to create trouble to themselves and to each other. Being thus hardly used, men are tempted to hate and despise life. But a good man, though badly off while in this world, cannot have cause to wish he had never been born, since he is glorifying the Lord, even in the fires, and will be happy at last, for ever happy. Ungodly men have most cause to wish the continuance of life with all its vexations, as a far more miserable condition awaits them if they die in their sins. If human and worldly things were our chief good, not to exist would be preferable to life, considering the various oppressions here below.
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Alphabetical: acts Again all and at behold being but comfort comforter done had have I looked no of on one oppressed oppression oppressors place power saw side sun taking tears that the their them Then they to under was were which

OT Poetry: Ecclesiastes 4:1 Then I returned and saw all (Ecclesiast. Ec Ecc Eccles.) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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