Ecclesiastes 6:8
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
What advantage have the wise over fools? What do the poor gain by knowing how to conduct themselves before others?

New Living Translation
So are wise people really better off than fools? Do poor people gain anything by being wise and knowing how to act in front of others?

English Standard Version
For what advantage has the wise man over the fool? And what does the poor man have who knows how to conduct himself before the living?

New American Standard Bible
For what advantage does the wise man have over the fool? What advantage does the poor man have, knowing how to walk before the living?

King James Bible
For what hath the wise more than the fool? what hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
What advantage then does the wise man have over the fool? What advantage is there for the poor person who knows how to conduct himself before others?

International Standard Version
For what advantage has the wise person over the fool? What advantage does the poor man have in knowing how to face life?

NET Bible
So what advantage does a wise man have over a fool? And what advantage does a pauper gain by knowing how to survive?

New Heart English Bible
For what advantage has the wise more than the fool? What has the poor man, that knows how to walk before the living?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
What advantage does a wise person have over a fool? What advantage does a poor person have in knowing how to face life?

JPS Tanakh 1917
For what advantage hath the wise more than the fool? or the poor man that hath understanding, in walking before the living?

New American Standard 1977
For what advantage does the wise man have over the fool? What advantage does the poor man have, knowing how to walk before the living?

Jubilee Bible 2000
For what has the wise more than the fool? what more has the poor that knows how to walk among the living?

King James 2000 Bible
For what has the wise more than the fool? what has the poor, who knows to walk before the living?

American King James Version
For what has the wise more than the fool? what has the poor, that knows to walk before the living?

American Standard Version
For what advantage hath the wise more than the fool? or what hath the poor man, that knoweth how to walk before the living?

Douay-Rheims Bible
What hath the wise man more than the fool? and what the poor man, but to go thither, where there is life?

Darby Bible Translation
For what advantage hath the wise above the fool? what hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living?

English Revised Version
For what advantage hath the wise more than the fool? or what hath the poor man, that knoweth to walk before the living?

Webster's Bible Translation
For what hath the wise more than the fool? what hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living?

World English Bible
For what advantage has the wise more than the fool? What has the poor man, that knows how to walk before the living?

Young's Literal Translation
For what advantage is to the wise above the fool? What to the poor who knoweth to walk before the living?
Study Bible
The Futility of Life
7All a man's labor is for his mouth and yet the appetite is not satisfied. 8For what advantage does the wise man have over the fool? What advantage does the poor man have, knowing how to walk before the living? 9What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires. This too is futility and a striving after wind.…
Cross References
Ecclesiastes 2:15
Then I said to myself, "As is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me. Why then have I been extremely wise?" So I said to myself, "This too is vanity."

Ecclesiastes 6:9
What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires. This too is futility and a striving after wind.
Treasury of Scripture

For what has the wise more than the fool? what has the poor, that knows to walk before the living?

what hath the wise

Ecclesiastes 2:14-16 The wise man's eyes are in his head; but the fool walks in darkness: …

Ecclesiastes 5:11 When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good …

the poor

Genesis 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to …

Psalm 101:2 I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when will you come …

Psalm 116:9 I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.

Proverbs 19:1 Better is the poor that walks in his integrity, than he that is perverse …

Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments …

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

(8) That knoweth to walk.--Understands how to conduct himself. But why this should be limited to the poor is not obvious.

Verse 8. - For what hath the wise more fire than the fool? i.e. What advantage hath the wise man over the fool? This verse confirms the previous one by an interrogative argument. The same labor for support, the same unsatisfied desires, belong to all, wise or foolish; in this respect intellectual gifts have no superiority. (For a similar interrogation implying an emphatic denial, see Ecclesiastes 1:30) What hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living? The Septuagint gives the verse thus: Ὅτι τίς περίσσεια (A, C, א) τῷ σοφῷ ὑπὲρ τὸν ἄφρονα; διότι ὁ πένης οἰδε πορευθῆναι κατέναντι τῆς ζωῆς, "For what advantage hath the wise man over the fool? since the poor man knows how to walk before life?" Vulgate, Quid habet amplius sapiens a stulto? et quid pauper, nisi ut pergat illuc, ubi est vita? "And what hath the poor man except that he go thither where is life?" Both these versions regard הַחַיִּים as used in the sense of "life," and that the life beyond the grave; but this idea is foreign to the context; and the expression must be rendered, as in the Authorized Version, "the living." The interpretation of the clause has much exercised critics. Plumptre adheres to that of Bernstein and others, "What advantage hath the poor over him who knows how to walk before the living?' (i.e. the man of high birth or station, who lives in public, with the eyes of men upon him). The poor has his cares and unsatisfied desires as much as the man of culture and position. Poverty offers no protection against such assaults, But the expression, to know how to walk before the living, means to understand and to follow the correct path of life; to know how to behave properly and uprightly in the intercourse with one's fellow-men; to have what the French call savoir vivre. (So Volok.) The question must be completed thus: "What advantage has the discreet and properly conducted poor man over the fool?" None, at least in this respect. The poor man, even though he be well vetoed in the rule of life, has insatiable desires which he has to check or conceal, and so is no better off than the fool, who equally is unable to gratify them. The two 'extremities of the social scale are taken - the rich wise man, and the prudent poor man - and both are shown to fail in enjoying life; and what is true of these must be also true of all that come between these two limits, "the appetite is not filled" (ver. 7). For what hath the wise more than the fool,.... More delight and pleasure, in gratifying his senses, by eating and drinking: the wise man enjoys no more than the fool; the fool finds as much pleasure in the labour of his hands, which is for his mouth, as the wise man does; and the wise man can get no more satisfaction to his mind, from these outward gratifications, than the fool;

what hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living? either, what does the poor man want more than the rich man, that knows how to get his bread, and is diligent and industrious among men to live, and does get a livelihood for himself and family; he enjoys all the sweets and comforts of life, as well as the rich man: or what hath the poor knowing man? as Aben Ezra interprets it, according to the accents; what has he more or does he enjoy more, than the poor foolish man, provided he has but sense enough to behave himself among men, so as to have bread to eat, and clothes to wear; which is as much as any man can enjoy, be he ever so rich or so wise? 8. For—"However" [Maurer]. The "for" means (in contrast to the insatiability of the miser), For what else is the advantage which the wise man hath above the fool?"

What—advantage, that is, superiority, above him who knows not how to walk uprightly

hath the poor who knoweth to walk before the living?—that is, to use and enjoy life aright (Ec 5:18, 19), a cheerful, thankful, godly "walk" (Ps 116:9).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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