Ecclesiastes 6:9
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

New Living Translation
Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don't have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless--like chasing the wind.

English Standard Version
Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the appetite: this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

New American Standard Bible
What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires. This too is futility and a striving after wind.

King James Bible
Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Better what the eyes see than wandering desire. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.

International Standard Version
It is better to focus on what you can see than to meander after your self-interest; this also is pointless and a chasing after wind.

NET Bible
It is better to be content with what the eyes can see than for one's heart always to crave more. This continual longing is futile--like chasing the wind.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
It is better to look at what is in front of you than to go looking for what you want. Even this is pointless. [It's like] trying to catch the wind.

Jubilee Bible 2000
It is better to enjoy the good that is present than the wandering of desire; this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.

King James 2000 Bible
Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and grasping after the wind.

American King James Version
Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.

American Standard Version
Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Better it is to see what thou mayst desire, than to desire that which thou canst not know. But this also is vanity, and presumption of spirit.

Darby Bible Translation
Better is the seeing of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this also is vanity and pursuit of the wind.

English Revised Version
Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Webster's Bible Translation
Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.

World English Bible
Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire. This also is vanity and a chasing after wind.

Young's Literal Translation
Better is the sight of the eyes than the going of the soul. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise 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.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 9. - Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire (nephesh, "the soul," ver. 7). This is a further confirmation of the misery and unrest that accompany immoderate desires. "The sight of the eyes" means the enjoyment of the present, that which lies before one, in contrast to the restless craving for what is distant, uncertain, and out of reach. The lesson taught is to make the best of existing circumstances, to enjoy the present, to control the roaming of fancy, and to narrow the vast field of appetency. We have a striking expression in Wisd. 4:12, ῤεμβασμὸς ἐπιθυμίας by which is denoted the giddiness, the reeling intoxication, caused by unrestrained passion. The Roman satirist lashed the sin of unscrupulous greed-

"Seal quae reverentia legum,
Quis rectus aut pudor eat unquam properantis avari?"


(Juven., 'Sat.,' 14:177.)

"Nor law, nor checks of conscience will he hear,
When in hot scent of gain and full career."


(Dryden.) Zockler quotes Horace, 'Epist.,' 1:18. 96, sqq -

"Inter cuncta leges et percontabere doctos,
Qua ratione queas traducere leniter aevum;
Num te semper inops agitet vexetque cupido,
Num paver et return mediocriter utilium spes."


"To sum up all -
Consult and con the wise
In what the art of true contentment lies:
How fear and hope, that rack the human will,
Are but vain dreams of things nor good nor ill."


(Howes.) Marc. Aurel., 'Meditat.,' 4:26, Has any advantage happened to you? It is the bounty of fate. It was all preordained you by the universal cause. Upon the whole, life is but short, therefore be just and prudent, and make your most of it; and when you divert yourself, be always on your guard' (J. Collier). Well is it added that this insatiability of the soul, which never leads to contentment, is vanity and vexation of spirit, a feeding on wind, empty, unsatisfying. Commentators refer in illustration to the fable of the dog and the shadow, and the proverb, A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire,.... By "the sight of the eyes" is not meant the bare beholding outward riches, as in Ecclesiastes 5:11; but the enjoyment of present mercies; such things as a man is in the possession of, and with which he should be content, Hebrews 13:5; and by "the wandering of the desire", the craving appetite and insatiable lust of the covetous mind, which enlarges its desire as hell, after a thousand things, and everything it can think of; such a mind roves through the whole creation, and covets everything under the sun: now it is better to enjoy contentedly things in sight and in possession, than to let the mind loose in vague desires, after things that may never be come at, and, if attained to, would give no satisfaction;

this is also vanity and vexation of spirit: a most vain thing, to give the mind such a loose and liberty in its unbounded desires after worldly things; and a vexation of spirit it is to such a craving mind, that it cannot obtain what it is so desirous of.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

9. Answer to the question in Ec 6:8. This is the advantage:

Better is the sight of the eyes—the wise man's godly enjoyment of present seen blessings

than the (fool's) wandering—literally, walking (Ps 73:9), of the desire, that is, vague, insatiable desires for what he has not (Ec 6:7; Heb 13:5).

this—restless wandering of desire, and not enjoying contentedly the present (1Ti 6:6, 8).

Ecclesiastes 6:9 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Futility of Life
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. 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.…
Cross References
Ecclesiastes 1:14
I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Ecclesiastes 1:17
Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.

Ecclesiastes 11:9
You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.
Treasury of Scripture

Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.

better

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

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

Ecclesiastes 5:18 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat …

wandering of the desire

Job 31:7 If my step has turned out of the way, and my heart walked after my …

Proverbs 30:15,16 The horse leach has two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are …

Jeremiah 2:20 For of old time I have broken your yoke, and burst your bands; and …

this

Ecclesiastes 6:2 A man to whom God has given riches, wealth, and honor, so that he …

Ecclesiastes 1:2,14 Vanity of vanities, said the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity…

Ecclesiastes 2:11,22,23 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had worked, and on the …

Ecclesiastes 4:4 Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this …

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