Ecclesiastes 8:15
Parallel Verses
New International Version
So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.

New Living Translation
So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.

English Standard Version
And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.

New American Standard Bible
So I commended pleasure, for there is nothing good for a man under the sun except to eat and to drink and to be merry, and this will stand by him in his toils throughout the days of his life which God has given him under the sun.

King James Bible
Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
So I commended enjoyment because there is nothing better for man under the sun than to eat, drink, and enjoy himself, for this will accompany him in his labor during the days of his life that God gives him under the sun.

International Standard Version
So then I recommended enjoyment of life, because it is better on earth for a man to eat, drink, and be happy, since this will stay with him throughout his struggle all the days of his life, which God grants him on earth.

NET Bible
So I recommend the enjoyment of life, for there is nothing better on earth for a person to do except to eat, drink, and enjoy life. So joy will accompany him in his toil during the days of his life which God gives him on earth.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
So I recommend the enjoyment [of life]. People have nothing better to do under the sun than to eat, drink, and enjoy themselves. This joy will stay with them while they work hard during their brief lives which God has given them under the sun.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Therefore I commended joy because a man has no better thing under the sun than to eat and to drink and to be merry, for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God gives him under the sun.

King James 2000 Bible
Then I commended mirth, because a man has no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him in his labor all the days of his life, which God gives him under the sun.

American King James Version
Then I commended mirth, because a man has no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labor the days of his life, which God gives him under the sun.

American Standard Version
Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be joyful: for that shall abide with him in his labor all the days of his life which God hath given him under the sun.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Therefore I commended mirth, because there was no good for a man under the sun, but to eat, and drink, and be merry, and that he should take nothing else with him of his labour in the days of his life, which God hath given him under the sun.

Darby Bible Translation
And I commended mirth, because there is nothing better for man under the sun than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry; for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God hath given him under the sun.

English Revised Version
Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him in his labour all the days of his life which God hath given him under the sun.

Webster's Bible Translation
Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labor the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.

World English Bible
Then I commended mirth, because a man has no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be joyful: for that will accompany him in his labor all the days of his life which God has given him under the sun.

Young's Literal Translation
And I have praised mirth because there is no good to man under the sun except to eat and to drink, and to rejoice, and it remaineth with him of his labour the days of his life that God hath given to him under the sun.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

8:14-17 Faith alone can establish the heart in this mixed scene, where the righteous often suffer, and the wicked prosper. Solomon commended joy, and holy security of mind, arising from confidence in God, because a man has no better thing under the sun, though a good man has much better things above the sun, than soberly and thankfully to use the things of this life according to his rank. He would not have us try to give a reason for what God does. But, leaving the Lord to clear up all difficulties in his own time, we may cheerfully enjoy the comforts, and bear up under the trials of life; while peace of conscience and joy in the Holy Ghost will abide in us through all outward changes, and when flesh and heart shall fail.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 15. - Then (and) I commended mirth. In face of the anomalies which meet us in our view of life, Koheleth recommends the calm enjoyment of such blessings and comforts as we possess, in exact accordance with what has already been said (Ecclesiastes 2:24; Ecclesiastes 3:12, 22; Ecclesiastes 5:18), though the road by which he arrives at the conclusion is not identical in both cases. In the earlier chapters the injunction is based on man's inability to be the master of his own fate; in the present passage the inscrutable nature of the law that directs God's moral government leads to the advice to make the best of circumstances. In neither instance need we trace veiled Epicureanism. The result obtained is reached by acute observation supplemented by faith in God. Under the sun. The phrase occurs twice in this verse and again in ver. 17, and implies that the view taken was limited to man's earthly existence. To eat, and to drink, etc. This is not a commendation of a greedy, voluptuous life, but an injunction thankfully to enjoy the good provided by God without disquieting one's self with the mysteries of Providence. So it was said of Israel in its palmy days (1 Kings 4:20), "Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking, and making merry." For that shall abide with him of his labor; rather, and that this should accompany him in his labor. The Greek Version regards the verb as indicative, not subjunctive, nor, as others, as jussive: "This shall attend (συμπροσέσται) him in his work." But it seems better to consider Koheleth as saying that the happiest thing for a man is to make the best of what he has, and to take with him in all his work a cheerful and contented heart.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Then I commended mirth,.... Innocent mirth, a cheerfulness of spirit in whatsoever state condition men are; serenity and tranquillity of mind, thankfulness for what they have, and a free and comfortable use of it; this the wise man praised and recommended to good men, as being much better than to fret at the prosperity of the wicked, and the seemingly unequal distribution of things in this world, and because they had not so much of them: as others; who yet had reason to be thankful for what they had, and to lift up their heads and be cheerful, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God in another world. The Targum interprets it of the joy of the law;

because a man hath no better thing under the sun than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry; of earthly things there is nothing better than for a man freely and cheerfully, with moderation and thankfulness, to enjoy what God has given him; this is what had been observed before, Ecclesiastes 2:24; and is not the language of an epicure, or a carnal man, who observing that no difference is made between the righteous and the wicked, that it is as well or better with the wicked than the righteous, determines to give up himself to sensual lusts and pleasures; but it is the good and wholesome advice of the wise man, for men to be easy under every providence, satisfied with their present condition and circumstances, and be cheerful and pleasant, and not distress themselves about things they cannot alter;

for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life,

which God giveth him under the sun; man's present life is under the sun, and is continued as long as it pleases God; though it is but short, rather to be counted by days than years, and is a laborious one; and all that he gets by his labour, enjoyed by him, is to eat and drink cheerfully; and this he may expect to have and continue with him as long as he lives, even food and raiment, and with this he should be content.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

15. no better thing, &c.—namely, for the "just" man, whose chief good is religion, not for the worldly.

abide—Hebrew, "adhere"; not for ever, but it is the only sure good to be enjoyed from earthly labors (equivalent to "of his labor the days of his life"). Still, the language resembles the skeptical precept (1Co 15:32), introduced only to be refuted; and "abide" is too strong language, perhaps, for a religious man to apply to "eating" and "mirth."

Ecclesiastes 8:15 Additional Commentaries
Context
God's Ways are Mysterious
14There is futility which is done on the earth, that is, there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked. On the other hand, there are evil men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I say that this too is futility. 15So I commended pleasure, for there is nothing good for a man under the sun except to eat and to drink and to be merry, and this will stand by him in his toils throughout the days of his life which God has given him under the sun. 16When I gave my heart to know wisdom and to see the task which has been done on the earth (even though one should never sleep day or night),…
Cross References
Psalm 42:8
By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me-- a prayer to the God of my life.

Ecclesiastes 2:1
I said to myself, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good." But that also proved to be meaningless.

Ecclesiastes 2:3
I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly--my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.

Ecclesiastes 2:24
A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God,

Ecclesiastes 3:12
I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.

Ecclesiastes 3:13
That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil--this is the gift of God.

Ecclesiastes 5:18
This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them--for this is their lot.

Ecclesiastes 9:7
Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.
Treasury of Scripture

Then I commended mirth, because a man has no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labor the days of his life, which God gives him under the sun.

then

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

Ecclesiastes 3:12,13,22 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 …

Ecclesiastes 9:7-9 Go your way, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a …

1 Timothy 4:3,4 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats…

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

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