Ecclesiastes 6:10
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Whatever exists has already been named, and what humanity is has been known; no one can contend with someone who is stronger.

New Living Translation
Everything has already been decided. It was known long ago what each person would be. So there's no use arguing with God about your destiny.

English Standard Version
Whatever has come to be has already been named, and it is known what man is, and that he is not able to dispute with one stronger than he.

New American Standard Bible
Whatever exists has already been named, and it is known what man is; for he cannot dispute with him who is stronger than he is.

King James Bible
That which hath been is named already, and it is known that it is man: neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Whatever exists was given its name long ago, and it is known what man is. But he is not able to contend with the One stronger than he.

International Standard Version
Whatever exists has been named already; people know what it means to be human— and a person cannot defeat one who is more powerful than he.

NET Bible
Whatever has happened was foreordained, and what happens to a person was also foreknown. It is useless for him to argue with God about his fate because God is more powerful than he is.

New Heart English Bible
Whatever has been, its name was given long ago; and it is known what man is; neither can he contend with him who is mightier than he.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Whatever has happened [in the past] already has a name. Mortals are already known for what they are. Mortals cannot argue with the one who is stronger than they.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Whatsoever cometh into being, the name thereof was given long ago, and it is foreknown what man is; neither can he contend with Him that is mightier than he.

New American Standard 1977
Whatever exists has already been named, and it is known what man is; for he cannot dispute with him who is stronger than he is.

Jubilee Bible 2000
He that is has been named already; and it is known that he is man and that he shall not be able to contend with him that is mightier than he.

King James 2000 Bible
Whatever has been is named already, and it is known that this is man: neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he.

American King James Version
That which has been is named already, and it is known that it is man: neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he.

American Standard Version
Whatsoever hath been, the name thereof was given long ago; and it is know what man is; neither can he contend with him that is mightier than he.

Douay-Rheims Bible
He that shall be, his name is already called: and it is known, that he is man, and cannot contend in judgment with him that is stronger than himself.

Darby Bible Translation
That which is hath already been named; and what man is, is known, and that he cannot contend with him that is mightier than he.

English Revised Version
Whatsoever hath been, the name thereof was given long ago, and it is known that it is man: neither can he contend with him that is mightier than he.

Webster's Bible Translation
That which hath been is named already, and it is known that it is man: neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he.

World English Bible
Whatever has been, its name was given long ago; and it is known what man is; neither can he contend with him who is mightier than he.

Young's Literal Translation
What is that which hath been? already is its name called, and it is known that it is man, and he is not able to contend with him who is stronger than he.
Study Bible
The Futility of Life
9What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires. This too is futility and a striving after wind. 10Whatever exists has already been named, and it is known what man is; for he cannot dispute with him who is stronger than he is. 11For there are many words which increase futility. What then is the advantage to a man?…
Cross References
1 Corinthians 10:22
Are we trying to provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?

Job 9:32
"For He is not a man as I am that I may answer Him, That we may go to court together.

Job 40:2
"Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Let him who reproves God answer it."

Proverbs 21:30
There is no wisdom and no understanding And no counsel against the LORD.

Ecclesiastes 1:9
That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 3:15
That which is has been already and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by.

Ecclesiastes 6:11
For there are many words which increase futility. What then is the advantage to a man?

Isaiah 45:9
"Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker-- An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, 'What are you doing?' Or the thing you are making say, 'He has no hands '?
Treasury of Scripture

That which has been is named already, and it is known that it is man: neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he.

which

Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 The thing that has been, it is that which shall be; and that which …

Ecclesiastes 3:15 That which has been is now; and that which is to be has already been; …

and it

Genesis 3:9,17-19 And the LORD God called to Adam, and said to him, Where are you…

Job 14:1-4 Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble…

Psalm 39:6 Surely every man walks in a vain show: surely they are disquieted …

Psalm 82:6,7 I have said, You are gods; and all of you are children of the most High…

Psalm 103:15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.

neither

Job 9:3,4,32 If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand…

Job 33:13 Why do you strive against him? for he gives not account of any of his matters.

Job 40:2 Shall he that contends with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproves …

Isaiah 45:9,10 Woe to him that strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with …

Jeremiah 49:19 Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan …

Romans 9:19,20 You will say then to me, Why does he yet find fault? For who has …

(10) Of this difficult verse I prefer the translation, "What he is his name has been called long ago, and it is known that it is man; neither may he strive," &c--i.e., the name given long ago to man (Genesis 2:7) indicates his weakness; neither can he contend with the Almighty. There may be a reference to Genesis 6:3, where a kindred word is used.

Mightier.--The word here used is found only in the Chaldee books of the Bible and in later Hebrew.

Verses 10-12. - Section 11. All things are foreknown and foreordained by God; it is useless to murmur against or to discuss this great fact; and as the future is beyond our knowledge and control, it is wise to make the best of the present. Verse 10. - That which hath been is named already; better, whatsoever hath been, long ago hath its name been given. The word rendered "already," kebar (Ecclesiastes 1:10; Ecclesiastes 2:12; Ecclesiastes 3:15; Ecclesiastes 4:2), "long ago," though used elsewhere in this book of events in human history, may appropriately be applied to the Divine decrees which predetermine the circumstances of man's life. This is its significance in the present passage, which asserts that everything which happens has been known and fixed beforehand, and therefore that man cannot shape his own life. No attempt is here made to reconcile this doctrine with man's free-will and consequent responsibility. The idea has already been presented in Ecclesiastes 3:1, etc. It comes forth in Isaiah 45:9, "Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?" (comp. Romans 9:20); Acts 15:18 (according to the Textus Receptus), "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world." The same idea is brought out more fully in the following clauses. Septuagint, "If anything ever was, already hath its name been called," which gives the correct sense of the passage. The Vulgate is not so happy, Qui futurus est, jam vocatum est nomen ejus, being rather opposed to the grammar. And it is known that it is man. What is meant by the Authorized Version is doubtful. If the first clause had been translated, as in the margin of the Revised Version, "Whatsoever he be, his name was given him long ago," the conclusion would come naturally, "and it is known that he is man" (Adam), and we should see an allusion to man's name and to the ground (adamah) from which he was taken (Genesis 2:7), as if his very name betokened his weakness. But the present version is very obscure. Cox gives, "It is very certain that even the greatest is but a man, and cannot contend with him," etc. But the Hebrew will not admit this rendering. The clause really amplifies the previous statement of man's predetermined destiny, and it should be rendered, "And it is known what a man shall be." Every individual comes under God's prescient superintendence. Septuagint, Ἐγνώσθη ὅ ἐστω ἄνθρωπος, "It is known what man is;" Vulgate, Et scitur quod homo sit. But it is not the nature of man that is in question, but his conditioned state. Neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he. The mightier One is God, in accordance with the passages quoted above from Isaiah, Acts, and Romans. Some consider that death is intended, and that the author is referring to the shortness of man's life. They say that the word taqqiph, "mighty" (which occurs only in Ezra and Daniel), is never used of God. But is it used of death? And is it not used of God in Daniel 4:3 (3:33, Hebrew), where Nebuchadnezzar says, "How mighty are his wonders"? To bring death into consideration is to introduce a new thought having no connection with the context, which is not speaking of the termination of man's life, but of its course, the circumstances of which are arranged by a higher Power. Septuagint, Καὶ οὐ δυνήσεται κριθῆναι μετὰ τοῦ ἰσχυροτέρου ὑπὲρ αὐτὸν. With this we may compare 1 Corinthians 10:22, "Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he? (μὴ ἰσχυρότεροι αὐτοῦ ἐσμέν;)." That which hath been is named already, and it is known that it is man,.... Which may be understood of the first man Adam, who has been, has existed, was produced by the immediate power of God, creating and forming him out of the dust of the earth; was made after the image, and in the likeness of God, a wise and knowing creature, a rich and powerful one, the figure of him that was to come, being the head and representative of all his posterity; and he has been named already, he had his name from the Lord himself, suitable to his nature and formation; he called his name Adam, from "Adamah", the earth, from whence he was taken; and though he was so wise and great, and even affected deity, which was the snare laid for him by his enemy, it is well known he was but a man, of the earth, earthly, and returned to it again. Some have applied this to the second man, the Lord from heaven, as the ordinary gloss, and Jerom; and render it, "that which shall be", so the Vulgate Latin version; as yet he was not man, though he had agreed to be and was prophesied of that he should; however be was named already the seed of the woman, Shiloh, Ithiel, the Messiah, or Anointed; hence by Solomon, in allusion to this name, his "name is said to be as ointment poured forth", Sol 1:3; and as it was known that he should be man, so it is now known that he is really and truly man; though not merely so, but God as well as man; yet as to his human nature his Father is greater and mightier than he; but this sense some interpreters despise and laugh at: and indeed though the whole of it is truth, it does not seem to be the truth of the text, nor suitable to the context: rather the words are to be understood of mankind in general, of all men, not only that have been, but that are or shall be; these were all appointed to come into being by the Lord; they have been in his eternal purposes and decrees, and their names are written or not written in the Lamb's book of life; and they have all one common name, that of "man", weak, frail, mortal, wretched man; they are, as is said of the Egyptians, men and not God, Isaiah 31:3; particularly this is true of persons the most famous that have been in the world; such who have been in ages past, and their names have been called, or they have obtained a name among men, men of renown, that are on the list of fame; such who have been the most famous for wisdom, for riches, for strength, or for power and authority, and have even had deity ascribed to them, and divine worship given them; yet it has been notorious that they were but men, and not God, so Jarchi; and died as such; see Psalm 9:20. Moreover, this may be understood of all things relating to men; that all that has been, is, or shall be, has been already named of God, determined and appointed by him; so the Targum renders it,

"all is the decree of the Word of the Lord;''

all things relating to the temporal affairs of men, as to their birth and place of abode, their callings and stations of life; so to their circumstances of poverty or riches, which with all their craving desires and carking cares it is impossible for them to alter, or make them otherwise than they are; which is observed, to check the wandering and insatiable desires of men after worldly things;

neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he; the Lord of the world, as the Targum; not the angel of death, as Jarchi; the devil, which had the power of death, and is stronger than men; nor death itself, as others, against which there is no standing, Ecclesiastes 8:8, Isaiah 28:15; but God himself, who is mightier than men, and with whom a creature should not strive or contend; either about his being and the make of it, or concerning his circumstances in the world, that they are not, greater and better than they be; or about God's decrees concerning these or other things; but quietly submit to his will, and be content in whatsoever circumstances they are, considering that he is the Creator, and a sovereign Being, they are creatures, and dependent on him; and let their circumstances be what they will, wise or unwise, rich or poor, they are but men, and can never rise higher; see Job 9:3. It is observed by the Masorites that this is just the middle of the book. 10. Part II begins here. Since man's toils are vain, what is the chief good? (Ec 6:12). The answer is contained in the rest of the book.

That which hath been—man's various circumstances

is named already—not only has existed, Ec 1:9; 3:15, but has received its just name, "vanity," long ago,

and it is known that it—vanity

is man—Hebrew, "Adam," equivalent to man "of red dust," as his Creator appropriately named him from his frailty.

neither may he contend, etc.—(Ro 9:20).6:7-12 A little will serve to sustain us comfortably, and a great deal can do no more. The desires of the soul find nothing in the wealth of the world to give satisfaction. The poor man has comfort as well as the richest, and is under no real disadvantage. We cannot say, Better is the sight of the eyes than the resting of the soul in God; for it is better to live by faith in things to come, than to live by sense, which dwells only upon present things. Our lot is appointed. We have what pleases God, and let that please us. The greatest possessions and honours cannot set us above the common events of human life. Seeing that the things men pursue on earth increase vanities, what is man the better for his worldly devices? Our life upon earth is to be reckoned by days. It is fleeting and uncertain, and with little in it to be fond of, or to be depended on. Let us return to God, trust in his mercy through Jesus Christ, and submit to his will. Then soon shall we glide through this vexatious world, and find ourselves in that happy place, where there is fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore.
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