Ecclesiastes 5:18
Parallel Verses
New International Version
This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them--for this is their lot.

New Living Translation
Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life.

English Standard Version
Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot.

New American Standard Bible
Here 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.

King James Bible
Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Here is what I have seen to be good: it is appropriate to eat, drink, and experience good in all the labor one does under the sun during the few days of his life God has given him, because that is his reward.

International Standard Version
Look! I observed that it is good and prudent to eat, drink, and enjoy all that is good of a person's work that he does on earth during the limited days of his life, which God gives him, for this is his allotment.

NET Bible
I have seen personally what is the only beneficial and appropriate course of action for people: to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in all their hard work on earth during the few days of their life which God has given them, for this is their reward.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
At last I have seen what is good and beautiful: It is to eat and drink and to enjoy the good in all our hard work under the sun during the brief lives God gives us. That is our lot [in life].

Jubilee Bible 2000
Behold therefore the good which I have seen: that good is to eat and to drink and to enjoy of the good of all his labour that he takes under the sun all the days of his life, which God gives him; for it is his portion.

King James 2000 Bible
Behold that which I have seen: it is good and fitting for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor that he takes under the sun all the days of his life, which God gives him: for this is his lot.

American King James Version
Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor that he takes under the sun all the days of his life, which God gives him: for it is his portion.

American Standard Version
Behold, that which I have seen to be good and to be comely is for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy good in all his labor, wherein he laboreth under the sun, all the days of his life which God hath given him: for this is his portion.

Douay-Rheims Bible
This therefore hath seemed good to me, that a man should eat and drink, and enjoy the fruit of his labour, wherewith he hath laboured under the sun, all the days of his life, which God hath given him: and this is his portion.

Darby Bible Translation
Behold what I have seen good and comely: [it is] to eat and to drink, and to enjoy good in all his labour wherewith [man] laboureth under the sun, all the days of his life which God hath given him: for that is his portion.

English Revised Version
Behold, that which I have seen to be good and to be comely is for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy good in all his labour, wherein he laboureth under the sun, all the days of his life which God hath given him: for this is his portion.

Webster's Bible Translation
Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.

World English Bible
Behold, that which I have seen to be good and proper is for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy good in all his labor, in which he labors under the sun, all the days of his life which God has given him; for this is his portion.

Young's Literal Translation
Lo, that which I have seen: It is good, because beautiful, to eat, and to drink, and to see good in all one's labour that he laboureth at under the sun, the number of the days of his life that God hath given to him, for it is his portion.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

5:18-20 Life is God's gift. We must not view our calling as a drudgery, but take pleasure in the calling where God puts us. A cheerful spirit is a great blessing; it makes employments easy, and afflictions light. Having made a proper use of riches, a man will remember the days of his past life with pleasure. The manner in which Solomon refers to God as the Giver, both of life and its enjoyments, shows they ought to be received and to be used, consistently with his will, and to his glory. Let this passage recommend to all the kind words of the merciful Redeemer, Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life. Christ is the Bread of life, the only food of the soul. All are invited to partake of this heavenly provision.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 18-20. - Section 8. The inconveniences of wealth lead the writer back to his old conclusion, that man should make the best of life, and enjoy all the good that God gives with moderation and contentment. Verse 18. - Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely, etc. The accentuation is against this rendering, which, however, has the support of the Syriac and the Targum. The Septuagint gives, Ἰδοὺ εϊδον ἐγὼ ἀγαθὸν ὅ ἐστι καλόν, "Behold, I have seen a good which is comely;" and it is best to translate, with Delitzsch and others, "Behold, what I have seen as good, what as beautiful, is this." My conclusion holds good. They who seek for traces of Greek influence in Koheleth find Epicureanism in the sentiment, and the familiar combination, καλὸν κἀγαθὸν, in the language. Both ideas are baseless. (For supposed Epicureanism, see on Ecclesiastes 2:24 and Ecclesiastes 3:12.) And the juxtaposition of καλὸς and ἀγαθὸς is only a fortuitous rendering of the Hebrew, upon which no argument for Grecism can be founded. To eat and to drink, etc.; i.e. to use the common blessings which God bestows with thankfulness and contentment. As St. Paul says, "Having food and covering, we shall he therewith content" (1 Timothy 6:8). Which God giveth him. This is the point so often insisted upon. These temporal blessings are God's gifts, and are not to be considered as the natural and assured result of man's own exertions. Man, indeed, must labor, but God giveth the increase. For it is his portion (Ecclesiastes 3:22). This calm enjoyment is allotted to man by God, and nothing more must be expected. Ben-Sira gives similar advice, "Defraud not thyself of a good day, and let not the share in a right pleasure pass by thee Give, and take, and beguile thy soul; for there is no seeking of dainties in Hades" (Ecclus. 14:14. etc.).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Behold that which I have seen,.... Observed, considered and approved of, and which he recommended and excited attention to, and is as follows;

it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink; to make use of the creatures God has given for service in a free and liberal manner, without excess, and with moderation; and not deprive a man's self of those things he may lawfully partake of, and are necessary for him: to do this is good for himself, and for the health of his body; and is right in the sight of God, and is comely before men; it is not only lawful, but laudable. There is another version and sense of the words, "it is good to eat and drink him that is fair" (q), or comely; Christ, who is fairer than the children of men; to live by faith on him, to eat his flesh, and drink his blood; but this, however true, spiritual, and evangelical, it seems foreign to the text. It follows,

and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him; this last clause, "which God giveth him", is not to be connected with "the good of all his labour"; though it is true, that whatever good is got by labour is the gift of God; but with "all the days of his life"; for the life of man, and all the days of it, be they more or fewer, are the gift of God, and according to his determinate will and pleasure; and throughout this time a man should enjoy, in a comfortable way, with thankfulness to God, the good things he has gotten by his labour and industry, through the blessing of God along with them. This Solomon frequently inculcates; Aben Ezra says, this is the third time, but it seems to be the fourth; see Ecclesiastes 2:24;

for it is his portion; that is, in this life; for otherwise, if a good man, he has a better portion in another: this is the part which God has allotted to him here; and it is his duty, and for his good and comfort, to make use of it.

(q) "Bonum est, cum qui pulcher est, edere et bibere, h. e. Christo per fidem frui; nova et singularis expositio", Rambachius.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

18. Returns to the sentiment (Ec 3:12, 13, 22); translate: "Behold the good which I have seen, and which is becoming" (in a man).

which God giveth—namely, both the good of his labor and his life.

his portion—legitimately. It is God's gift that makes it so when regarded as such. Such a one will use, not abuse, earthly things (1Co 7:31). Opposed to the anxious life of the covetous (Ec 5:10, 17).

Ecclesiastes 5:18 Additional Commentaries
Context
Wealth is Meaningless
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. 19Furthermore, as for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, He has also empowered him to eat from them and to receive his reward and rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.…
Cross References
1 Corinthians 16:16
to submit to such people and to everyone who joins in the work and labors at it.

Deuteronomy 12:7
There, in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the LORD your God has blessed you.

Deuteronomy 12:18
Instead, you are to eat them in the presence of the LORD your God at the place the LORD your God will choose--you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites from your towns--and you are to rejoice before the LORD your God in everything you put your hand to.

Deuteronomy 26:11
Then you and the Levites and the foreigners residing among you shall rejoice in all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household.

Psalm 42:8
By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me-- a prayer to the God of my life.

Ecclesiastes 2:3
I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly--my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.

Ecclesiastes 2:10
I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil.

Ecclesiastes 2:24
A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God,

Ecclesiastes 8:15
So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.
Treasury of Scripture

Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor that he takes under the sun all the days of his life, which God gives him: for it is his portion.

it is good and comely

Ecclesiastes 2:24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, …

Ecclesiastes 3:12,13,22 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and …

Ecclesiastes 8:15 Then I commended mirth, because a man has no better thing under the …

Ecclesiastes 9:7 Go your way, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a …

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

1 Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, …

the days

Ecclesiastes 2:10 And whatever my eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not …

Ecclesiastes 3:22 Why I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should …

Jeremiah 52:34 And for his diet, there was a continual diet given him of the king …

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