|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.
Verse 19. - Every man also. The sentence is anacoluthic, like Ecclesiastes 3:13, and may best be rendered, Also for every man to whom... this is a gift of God. Ginsburg connects the verse closely with the preceding one, supplying, "I have also seen that a man," etc. Whichever way we take the sentence, it comes to the same tiling, implying man's absolute dependence upon God's bounty. To whom God hath given riches and wealth. Before he can enjoy his possessions a man must first receive them from God's hands. The two terms here used are not quite synonymous. While the former word, osher; is used for wealth of any kind whatever, the latter, nekasim, means properly "wealth in cattle," like the Latin pecunia, and thence used generally for riches (volek). Hath given him power to eat thereof. Abundance is useless without the power to enjoy it. This is the gift of God, a great and special bounty from a loving and gracious God. Thus Horace, 'Epist.,' 1:4. 7 -
"Di tibi divitias dederunt artemque fruendi."
"The gods have given you wealth, and (what is more)
Have given you wisdom to enjoy your store."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth,.... Which include the whole of a man's substance; all his estate, personal and real; and all his goods and possessions, movable and immovable, as gold, silver, cattle, fields, and farms; which are all the gift of God, by whatsoever means they may be acquired or possessed;
and hath given him power; or, "caused him to have dominion" (r), over his wealth and riches, and not be a slave to them, as many are: but to have so much command of them and of himself, as
to eat thereof; comfortably enjoy them; and dispose of them to his own good, the good of others, and the glory of God. It follows,
and to take his portion; which God hath allotted him; to take it thankfully, and use it freely and comfortably;
and to rejoice in his labour; in the things he has been labouring for, in a cheerful use of them; blessing God for them, and taking the comfort of them;
this is the gift of God; to have such power over his substance, and not be a slave to it, and to enjoy the fruits of his labour, in a cheerful and comfortable manner; this is as much the gift of God as riches themselves (s).
(r) "eumque dominari eum fecerit", Tigurine version; "imperare fecit eum", Gejerus; "dominari eum fecerit", Rambachius. (s) "Di tibi divitias dederunt, artemque fruendi", Horat. Ep. l. 1. Ep. 4. v. 7.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. As Ec 5:18 refers to the "laboring" man (Ec 5:12), so Ec 5:19 to the "rich" man, who gets wealth not by "oppression" (Ec 5:8), but by "God's gift." He is distinguished also from the "rich" man (Ec 6:2) in having received by God's gift not only "wealth," but also "power to eat thereof," which that one has not.
to take his portion—limits him to the lawful use of wealth, not keeping back from God His portion while enjoying his own.
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