Ecclesiastes 5:17
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
All their days they eat in darkness, with great frustration, affliction and anger.

New Living Translation
Throughout their lives, they live under a cloud--frustrated, discouraged, and angry.

English Standard Version
Moreover, all his days he eats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger.

New American Standard Bible
Throughout his life he also eats in darkness with great vexation, sickness and anger.

King James Bible
All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
What is more, he eats in darkness all his days, with much sorrow, sickness, and anger.

International Standard Version
Furthermore, all his days he lives in darkness with great sorrow, anger, and affliction.

NET Bible
Surely, he ate in darkness every day of his life, and he suffered greatly with sickness and anger.

New Heart English Bible
All his days are in darkness and mourning, he is frustrated, and has sickness and wrath.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
They spend their entire lives in darkness, in constant frustration, sickness, and resentment.

JPS Tanakh 1917
All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much vexation and sickness and wrath.

New American Standard 1977
Throughout his life he also eats in darkness with great vexation, sickness and anger.

Jubilee Bible 2000
In addition to this, all the days of his life he shall eat in darkness, with much wrath and pain and sorrow sickness.

King James 2000 Bible
All his days also he eats in darkness, and he has much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.

American King James Version
All his days also he eats in darkness, and he has much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.

American Standard Version
All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he is sore vexed, and hath sickness and wrath.

Douay-Rheims Bible
All the days of his life he eateth in darkness, and in many cares, and in misery, and sorrow.

Darby Bible Translation
All his days also he eateth in darkness, and hath much vexation, and sickness, and irritation.

English Revised Version
All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he is sore vexed and hath sickness and wrath.

Webster's Bible Translation
All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.

World English Bible
All his days he also eats in darkness, he is frustrated, and has sickness and wrath.

Young's Literal Translation
Also all his days in darkness he consumeth, and sadness, and wrath, and sickness abound.
Study Bible
Wealth is Meaningless
16This also is a grievous evil-- exactly as a man is born, thus will he die. So what is the advantage to him who toils for the wind? 17Throughout his life he also eats in darkness with great vexation, sickness and anger. 18Here is what I have seen to be good and fitting: to eat, to drink and enjoy oneself in all one's labor in which he toils under the sun during the few years of his life which God has given him; for this is his reward.…
Cross References
Psalm 39:6
"Surely every man walks about as a phantom; Surely they make an uproar for nothing; He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them.

Psalm 127:2
It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

Ecclesiastes 2:23
Because all his days his task is painful and grievous; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is vanity.
Treasury of Scripture

All his days also he eats in darkness, and he has much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.

he eateth

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

1 Kings 17:12 And she said, As the LORD your God lives, I have not a cake, but …

Job 21:25 And another dies in the bitterness of his soul, and never eats with pleasure.

Psalm 78:33 Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, and their years in trouble.

Psalm 102:9 For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping.

Psalm 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread …

Ezekiel 4:16,17 Moreover he said to me, Son of man, behold, I will break the staff …

much

2 Kings 1:2,6 And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that …

2 Kings 5:27 The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall stick to you, and to your seed for ever…

2 Chronicles 16:10-12 Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; …

2 Chronicles 24:24,25 For the army of the Syrians came with a small company of men, and …

Psalm 90:7-11 For we are consumed by your anger, and by your wrath are we troubled…

Proverbs 1:27-29 When your fear comes as desolation, and your destruction comes as …

Acts 12:23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave …

1 Corinthians 11:30-32 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep…

(17) We pass without notice some variations of translation in this verse, which do not materially affect the sense.

Verse 17. - The misery that accompanies the rich man's whole life is summed up here, where one has to think chiefly of his distress after his loss of fortune. All his days also he eateth in darkness; i.e. passes his life in gloom and cheerlessness. כָּל־יָמָיו, "all his days," is the accusative of time, not the object of the verb. To eat in darkness is not a common metaphor for spending a gloomy life, but it is a very natural one, and has analogies in this book (e.g., Ecclesiastes 2:24; Ecclesiastes 3:13, etc.), and in such phrases as to "sit in darkness" (Micah 7:8), and to "walk in darkness" (Isaiah 1:10). The Septuagint, reading differently, translates, Καί γε πᾶσαι αἱ ἡμέραι αὐτοῦ ἐν σκότει ἐν πένθει, "Yea, and all his days are in darkness and in mourning." But the other versions reject this alteration, and few modern commentators adopt it. And he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness; literally, and much vexation, and sickness, and wrath; Revised Version, he is sore vexed, and hath sickness and wrath. Delitzsch takes the last words as an exclamation, "And oh for his sorrow and hatred!" The man experiences all kinds of vexation when his plans fail or involve him in trouble and privation; or he is morbid and diseased in mind and body; or he is angry and envious when others succeed better than himself. The sentiment is expressed by St. Paul (1 Timothy 6:9), "They that desire (βουλόμενοι) to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare, and many foolish and hurtful lusts, such as drown men (βυθίουσι τοὺς ἀνθρώπους) in destruction and perdition." "For," he proceeds, "the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, which some reaching after have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through (ἑαυτοὺς περιέπειραν) with many sorrows." The Septuagint continues its version, "And in much passion (θυμῷ) and in infirmity and wrath." The anger may be directed against himself, as he thinks of his folly in taking all this trouble for nothing. All his days also he eateth in darkness,.... To all that has been said is added another evil, that attends such whose hearts are inordinately set on riches; that all their days, throughout the whole of their lives, they live a most uncomfortable life; for eating is here put for their whole manner of living: such not only eat coarse bread, and very mean food of any sort, but wear sordid apparel, and live in a poor cottage, in a very obscure and miserable manner. Aben Ezra understands it literally of the night, to which time such a man defers eating, that he might lose no time in his labour; and that it might not be seen what sort of food he eats, and how sparingly, and that others might not eat with him; and what he does eat is not eaten freely, but grudgingly, and with anguish and distress of mind, without any real pleasure and joy; and much less with the light of God's countenance, the discoveries of his love, and communion with him: the Targum is,

"all his days he dwelleth in darkness, that he may taste his bread alone;''

and he hath, much sorrow and wrath with his sickness; either the sickness of his mind, his covetousness; or the sickness of his body, emaciated by withholding from himself the necessaries of life: or when he comes upon a sick bed, he is filled with sorrow and indignation, that he must live no longer, to accumulate more wealth, and accomplish his projects and designs; and that he must leave his wealth, he has been at so much pains to gather together. Or, "and he is much angry" (o); when things do not answer in trade according to his wishes; when his substance diminishes, or, however, does not increase as he desires; when he is cheated by fraudulent men, or robbed by thieves: "and he hath sickness" (p); either of body or mind, or both, because matters do not succeed as he would have them; and through fretfulness at losses and crosses, and disappointments; and through cares in getting and keeping what he has: "and wrath"; at all about him, whom he is ready to charge with slothfulness or unfaithfulness to him; and even at the providence of God, that does not give him the desired success; so that he has no manner of pleasure and comfort in life.

(o) "et irascitur multum", Vatablus, Drusius; "et indignatus fuit, vel indignatur multum", Piscator, Rambachius. (p) "et agritudo ei fuit, vel est", Piscator, Drusius; "vel fuerit", Gejerus. 17. eateth—appropriately put for "liveth" in general, as connected with Ec 5:11, 12, 18.

darkness—opposed to "light (joy) of countenance" (Ec 8:1; Pr 16:15).

wrath—fretfulness, literally, "His sorrow is much, and his infirmity (of body) and wrath."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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