Ecclesiastes 6:12
Parallel Verses
New International Version
For who knows what is good for a person in life, during the few and meaningless days they pass through like a shadow? Who can tell them what will happen under the sun after they are gone?

New Living Translation
In the few days of our meaningless lives, who knows how our days can best be spent? Our lives are like a shadow. Who can tell what will happen on this earth after we are gone?

English Standard Version
For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun?

New American Standard Bible
For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his futile life? He will spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?

King James Bible
For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For who knows what is good for man in life, in the few days of his futile life that he spends like a shadow? Who can tell man what will happen after him under the sun?

International Standard Version
Who knows what is best for people in this life, every day of their pointless lives that they pass through like a shadow? Who informs people on earth what will come along after them?

NET Bible
For no one knows what is best for a person during his life--during the few days of his fleeting life--for they pass away like a shadow. Nor can anyone tell him what the future will hold for him on earth.

New Heart English Bible
For who knows what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he spends like a shadow? For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Who knows what may be good for mortals while they are alive, during the brief, pointless days they live? Mortals pass by like a shadow. Who will tell them about their future under the sun?

JPS Tanakh 1917
For who knoweth what is good for man in his life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?

New American Standard 1977
For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his futile life? He will spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?

Jubilee Bible 2000
For who knows what is good for man in this life, all the days of the life of his vanity which he causes to be as a shadow? for who shall teach the man what shall be after him under the sun?

King James 2000 Bible
For who knows what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spends like a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?

American King James Version
For who knows what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spends as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?

American Standard Version
For who knoweth what is good for man in his life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?

Douay-Rheims Bible
What needeth a man to seek things that are above him, whereas he knoweth not what is profitable for him in his life, in all the days of his pilgrimage, and the time that passeth like a shadow? Or who can tell him what shall be after him under the sun?

Darby Bible Translation
For who knoweth what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell man what shall be after him under the sun?

English Revised Version
For who knoweth what is good for man in his life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?

Webster's Bible Translation
For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?

World English Bible
For who knows what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he spends like a shadow? For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?

Young's Literal Translation
For who knoweth what is good for a man in life, the number of the days of the life of his vanity, and he maketh them as a shadow? for who declareth to man what is after him under the sun?
Commentary
Matthew Henry Commentary
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.
Study Bible
The Futility of Life
11For there are many words which increase futility. What then is the advantage to a man? 12For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his futile life? He will spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?
Cross References
Psalm 39:5
"Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah.

Ecclesiastes 2:3
I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives.

Ecclesiastes 2:24
There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God.

Ecclesiastes 3:22
I have seen that nothing is better than that man should be happy in his activities, for that is his lot. For who will bring him to see what will occur after him?

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

Ecclesiastes 7:15
I have seen everything during my lifetime of futility; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness.

Ecclesiastes 8:7
If no one knows what will happen, who can tell him when it will happen?

Ecclesiastes 8:13
But it will not be well for the evil man and he will not lengthen his days like a shadow, because he does not fear God.

Ecclesiastes 9:9
Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 10:14
Yet the fool multiplies words. No man knows what will happen, and who can tell him what will come after him?
Treasury of Scripture

For who knows what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spends as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?

who knoweth

Ecclesiastes 2:3 I sought in my heart to give myself to wine, yet acquainting my heart …

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep …

Psalm 4:6 There be many that say, Who will show us any good? LORD, lift you …

Psalm 16:5 The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup: you maintain my lot.

Psalm 17:15 As for me, I will behold your face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, …

Psalm 47:4 He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom …

Lamentations 3:24-27 The LORD is my portion, said my soul; therefore will I hope in him…

Micah 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require …

the days of his vain life

Ecclesiastes 8:13 But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong …

Ecclesiastes 9:6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished…

1 Chronicles 29:15 For we are strangers before you, and sojourners, as were all our …

Job 8:9 (For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days …

Job 14:2 He comes forth like a flower, and is cut down: he flees also as a …

Psalm 39:5,6 Behold, you have made my days as an handbreadth; and my age is as …

Psalm 89:47 Remember how short my time is: why have you made all men in vain?

Psalm 90:10-12 The days of our years are three score years and ten; and if by reason …

Psalm 102:11 My days are like a shadow that declines; and I am withered like grass.

Psalm 109:23 I am gone like the shadow when it declines: I am tossed up and down …

Psalm 144:4 Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passes away.

James 4:14 Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your …

for who can

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

Ecclesiastes 8:7 For he knows not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?

Job 14:21 His sons come to honor, and he knows it not; and they are brought …

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