Ecclesiastes 5:11
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owners except to feast their eyes on them?

New Living Translation
The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what good is wealth--except perhaps to watch it slip through your fingers!

English Standard Version
When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes?

New American Standard Bible
When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on?

King James Bible
When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
When good things increase, the ones who consume them multiply; what, then, is the profit to the owner, except to gaze at them with his eyes?

International Standard Version
When possessions increase, so does the number of consumers; therefore what good are they to their owners, except to look at them?

NET Bible
When someone's prosperity increases, those who consume it also increase; so what does its owner gain, except that he gets to see it with his eyes?

New Heart English Bible
When goods increase, those who eat them are increased; and what advantage is there to its owner, except to feast on them with his eyes?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
As the number of goods increase, so do the number of people who consume them. What do owners gain [from all their goods] except [the opportunity] to look at them?

JPS Tanakh 1917
When goods increase, they are increased that eat them; and what advantage is there to the owner thereof, saving the beholding of them with his eyes?

New American Standard 1977
When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on?

Jubilee Bible 2000
When goods increase, those that eat them are increased; and what good is there to the owners thereof, except the beholding of them with their eyes?

King James 2000 Bible
When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: so what good is there to the owners, except the beholding of them with their eyes?

American King James Version
When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?

American Standard Version
When goods increase, they are increased that eat them; and what advantage is there to the owner thereof, save the beholding of them with his eyes?

Douay-Rheims Bible
Where there are great riches, there are also many to eat them. And what doth it profit the owner, but that he seeth the riches with his eyes?

Darby Bible Translation
When goods increase, they are increased that eat them; and what profit is there to the owner thereof, except the beholding [of them] with his eyes?

English Revised Version
When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what advantage is there to the owner thereof, saving the beholding of them with his eyes?

Webster's Bible Translation
When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners of them, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?

World English Bible
When goods increase, those who eat them are increased; and what advantage is there to its owner, except to feast on them with his eyes?

Young's Literal Translation
In the multiplying of good have its consumers been multiplied, and what benefit is to its possessor except the sight of his eyes?
Study Bible
Wealth is Meaningless
10He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity. 11When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on? 12The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much; but the full stomach of the rich man does not allow him to sleep.…
Cross References
Ecclesiastes 2:9
Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me.

Ecclesiastes 5:12
The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much; but the full stomach of the rich man does not allow him to sleep.
Treasury of Scripture

When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?

they

Genesis 12:16 And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, …

Genesis 13:2,5-7 And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold…

1 Kings 4:22,23 And Solomon's provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, …

1 Kings 5:13-16 And king Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel; and the levy was …

Nehemiah 5:17,18 Moreover there were at my table an hundred and fifty of the Jews and rulers…

Psalm 119:36,37 Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to covetousness…

what

Ecclesiastes 6:9 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: …

Ecclesiastes 11:9 Rejoice, O young man, in your youth; and let your heart cheer you …

Joshua 7:21-25 When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two …

Proverbs 23:5 Will you set your eyes on that which is not? for riches certainly …

Jeremiah 17:11 As the partridge sits on eggs, and hatches them not; so he that gets …

Habakkuk 2:13 Behold, is it not of the LORD of hosts that the people shall labor …

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust …

Verse 11. - Koheleth proceeds to notice some of the inconveniences which accompany wealth, which go far to prove that God is over all. When goods increase, they are increased that eat them. The more riches a man possesses, the greater are the claims upon him. He increases his household, retainers, and dependents, and is really none the better off for all his wealth. So Job in his prosperous days is said to have had "a very great household" (Job 1:3), and the servants and laborers employed by Solomon must have taxed to the utmost even his abnormal resources (1 Kings 5:13, etc.). Commentators from Piueda downwards have quoted the remarkable parallel in Xenoph., 'Cyropaed.,' 8:3, wherein the wealthy Persian Pheraulas, who had risen from poverty to high estate, disabuses a young Sacian friend of the idea that his riches made him happier or afforded supreme content. "Do you not know," said he," that I neither eat, nor drink, nor sleep with any more pleasure now than I did when I was poor? by having this abundance I gain merely this, that I have to guard more, to distribute more among others, and to have the trouble of taking care of more. For now numerous domestics demand of me food, drink, clothes; some want the doctor; one comes and brings me sheep that have been torn by wolves, or oxen killed by failing down a precipice, or tells of a murrain that has affected the cattle; so that I seem to myself to have more afflictions in my abundance than I had when I was poor,... It is obligatory on him who possesses much to expend much both on the gods and on friends and on strangers; and whosoever is greatly pleased with the possession of riches will, you may be assured, be greatly annoyed at the expenditure of them." What good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes? What it is that the owners behold is doubtful. Ginsburg considers that the increased number of devourers is meant; but surely this sight could hardly be called kishron, "success, profit." So it is better to take the sight to be the amassed wealth. The contemplation of this is the only enjoyment that the possessor realizes. So the Vulgate, Et quid prodest possessori, nisi quod cernit divitias oculis suis? Septuagint, Καὶ τί ἀνδρεία τῷ παρ αὐτῆς ὅτι ἀρχὴ τοῦ ὁρᾷν ὀφθαλμοῖς αὐτοῦ," And in what does the excellence of the owner consist? except the power of seeing it with his eyes." A Lapide quotes Horace's portrait of the miser ('Sat.,' 1:1.66, sqq.)

"Populus me sibilat; ut mihi plaudo
Ipse domi, simul ac, nummos contemplor in area...
... congestis undique saccis
Indormis inhians et tanquam parcere sacris
Cogeris aut pictis tanquam gaudere tabellis."


"He, when the people hissed, would turn about,
And dryly thus accost the rabble-rout:
Hiss on; heed you not, ye saucy wags,
While self-applauses greet me o'er my bags."


O'er countless heaps in nicest order stored,
You pore agape, and gaze upon the hoard,
As relics to be laid with reverence by,
Or pictures only meant to please the eye."


(Howes.) When goods increase, they are increased that eat them,.... When a man's substance increases by trade, or otherwise, very often so it is that his family increases, and he has more mouths to feed, and backs to clothe; or his estate growing larger, if he lives suitably to it, he must keep more servants; and these, as they have but little work to do, are described by their eating, rather than by their working; and besides, such a growing man in the world has more friends and visitors that come about him, and eat with him, as well as the poor, which wait upon him to receive his alms: and if his farms, and his fields, and his flocks, are enlarged, he must have more husbandmen, and labourers, and shepherds to look after them, who all must be maintained. So Pheraulas in Xenophon (h) observes,

"that now he was possessed of much, that he neither ate, nor drank, nor slept the sweeter for it; what he got by his plenty was, that he had more committed to his keeping, and more to distribute to others; he had more care and more business, with trouble; for now, says he, many servants require food of me, many drink, many clothing, some need physicians, &c. it must needs be, adds he, that they that possess much must spend much on the gods, on friends, and on guests;''

and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes? he can go into his grounds, his fields, and his meadows to behold his flocks and his herds, and can say, all these are mine; he can go into his chambers and open his treasures, and feed his eyes with looking upon his bags of gold and silver, his jewels, and other riches; he can behold a multitude of people at his table, eating at his expense, and more maintained at his cost: and, if a liberal man, it may be a pleasure to him; if otherwise, it will give him pain: and, excepting these, he enjoys no more than food and raiment; and often so it is, that even his very servants have in some things the advantage of him, as follows. The Targum is,

"what profit is there to the owner thereof who gathers it, unless he does good with it, that he may see the gift of the reward with his eyes in the world to come?''

Jarchi interprets it after this manner,

"when men bring many freewill offerings, the priests are increased that eat them; and what good is to the owner of them, the Lord, but the sight of his eyes, who says, and his will is done?''

(h) Cyropaedia, l. 8. c. 26. 11. they … that eat them—the rich man's dependents (Ps 23:5).5:9-17 The goodness of Providence is more equally distributed than appears to a careless observer. The king needs the common things of life, and the poor share them; they relish their morsel better than he does his luxuries. There are bodily desires which silver itself will not satisfy, much less will worldly abundance satisfy spiritual desires. The more men have, the better house they must keep, the more servants they must employ, the more guests they must entertain, and the more they will have hanging on them. The sleep of the labourer is sweet, not only because he is tired, but because he has little care to break his sleep. The sleep of the diligent Christian, and his long sleep, are sweet; having spent himself and his time in the service of God, he can cheerfully repose in God as his Rest. But those who have every thing else, often fail to secure a good night's sleep; their abundance breaks their rest. Riches do hurt, and draw away the heart from God and duty. Men do hurt with their riches, not only gratifying their own lusts, but oppressing others, and dealing hardly with them. They will see that they have laboured for the wind, when, at death, they find the profit of their labour is all gone like the wind, they know not whither. How ill the covetous worldling bears the calamities of human life! He does not sorrow to repentance, but is angry at the providence of God, angry at all about him; which doubles his affliction.
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