Ecclesiastes 8:2
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Obey the king's command, I say, because you took an oath before God.

New Living Translation
Obey the king since you vowed to God that you would.

English Standard Version
I say: Keep the king’s command, because of God’s oath to him.

New American Standard Bible
I say, "Keep the command of the king because of the oath before God.

King James Bible
I counsel thee to keep the king's commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Keep the king's command because of your oath made before God.

International Standard Version
I advise doing what the king says, especially regarding an oath to God.

NET Bible
Obey the king's command, because you took an oath before God to be loyal to him.

New Heart English Bible
Keep the king's command, because of the oath to God.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I [advise] you to obey the king's commands because of the oath you took in God's presence.

JPS Tanakh 1917
I [counsel thee]: keep the king's command, and that in regard of the oath of God.

New American Standard 1977
I say, “Keep the command of the king because of the oath before God.

Jubilee Bible 2000
I counsel thee to keep the king's commandment and the word of the covenant that thou hast made with God.

King James 2000 Bible
I counsel you to keep the king's commandment, and that for the sake of your oath to God.

American King James Version
I counsel you to keep the king's commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.

American Standard Version
I counsel thee , Keep the king's command, and that in regard of the oath of God.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I observe the mouth of the king, and the commandments of the oath of God.

Darby Bible Translation
I [say], Keep the king's commandment, and [that] on account of the oath of God.

English Revised Version
I counsel thee, Keep the king's command, and that in regard of the oath of God.

Webster's Bible Translation
I counsel thee to keep the king's commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.

World English Bible
I say, "Keep the king's command!" because of the oath to God.

Young's Literal Translation
I pray thee, the commandment of a king keep, even for the sake of the oath of God.
Study Bible
Obey the King
1Who is like the wise man and who knows the interpretation of a matter? A man's wisdom illumines him and causes his stern face to beam. 2I say, "Keep the command of the king because of the oath before God. 3"Do not be in a hurry to leave him. Do not join in an evil matter, for he will do whatever he pleases."…
Cross References
Exodus 22:11
an oath before the LORD shall be made by the two of them that he has not laid hands on his neighbor's property; and its owner shall accept it, and he shall not make restitution.

2 Samuel 21:7
But the king spared Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the oath of the LORD which was between them, between David and Saul's son Jonathan.

Ezekiel 17:18
'Now he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, and behold, he pledged his allegiance, yet did all these things; he shall not escape.'"
Treasury of Scripture

I counsel you to keep the king's commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.

i counsel

Proverbs 24:21 My son, fear you the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them …

Romans 13:1-4 Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power …

Titus 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey …

1 Peter 2:13-17 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: …

in regard

1 Kings 2:43 Why then have you not kept the oath of the LORD, and the commandment …

1 Chronicles 29:24 And all the princes, and the mighty men, and all the sons likewise …

Ezekiel 17:13-20 And has taken of the king's seed, and made a covenant with him, and …

Romans 13:5 Why you must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

(2) The unconnected "I" with which this verse begins, indicates that some word has early dropped out of the text. The italics with which our translators fill the gap no doubt give the right sense. It may be mentioned that Ecclesiastes is characterised by a superfluous use of the pronoun "I" after the verb, just as if in Latin we constantly had, instead of "dixi," "dixi ego." The counsels given here and Ecclesiastes 10:4 are not what we should expect from Solomon, but rather from one who had himself lived under a despotism.

In regard of.--The words so translated are found again Ecclesiastes 3:18; Ecclesiastes 7:14; see also Psalm 45:5; Psalm 79:9; Psalm 110:4.

The oath of God.--Unsuccessful attempts have been made to find in these words a definite historic reference. It is idle to quote the fact recorded by Josephus that Ptolemy Lagus secured the allegiance of his Jewish subjects by exacting an oath from them. This book has no connection with Egypt, and we need not look beyond the Bible for proof that an oath of vassalage was imposed on the Jews by their foreign masters, and that the breach of such an oath was regarded by the prophets as sin (2Chronicles 36:13; Ezekiel 17:13; Ezekiel 17:16; Ezekiel 17:18). And there is reason to think that similar pledges had been given to native kings (1Samuel 10:3; 1Chronicles 29:24; 2Chronicles 23:3).

Of God.--2Samuel 21:7; 1Kings 2:43.

Verse 2. - I counsel thee to keep the king's commandment. The pronoun I stands in the Hebrew without a verb (the Vulgate, Ego os regis observo, is not warranted by the grammar of the clause), and some take it as the answer to the question in ver. 1, "Who is like the wise man?" I, who am now teaching you. But it is better to regard the pronoun as emphasizing the following rule, supplying some verb (which may possibly have dropped out of the text), as, "Say, advise - I, for my part, whatever others may do or advise, I counsel thee;" the injunction being given in the imperative mood. The Septuagint and Syriac omit the pronoun altogether. The warning implies that the writer was living under kingly, and indeed despotic, government, and it was the part of a wise man to exhibit cheerful obedience. Ben-Sira observes that wise men teach us how to serve great men (Ecclus. 8:8). Such conduct is not only prudent, but really a religious- duty, even as the prophets counsel submission to Assyrian and Chaldean rulers (see Jeremiah 27:12; Jeremiah 29:7; Ezekiel 17:15). The liege lord, being God's vicegerent, must be reverenced and obeyed. St. Paul, though he does not quote Ecclesiastes, may have had this passage in mind when he wrote (Romans 13:1), "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God," etc.; and (ver. 5), "Ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience' sake." The "king" in the text is understood by some to mean God, but the following clause renders this improbable, and it is wisdom in its political aspect that is here regarded. And that in regard of the oath of God. The ray is explicative; "in regard of," or "because of," as Ecclesiastes 3:18. "The oath of God" is the oath of allegiance to the king, taken in the name of God, under his invocation (comp. Exodus 22:11; 1 Kings 2:43). So we read (2 Kings 11:17) of a covenant between king and people, and people and king, in the time of Jehoiada; Nebuchadnezzar made Zedekiah swear by God to be his vassal (2 Chronicles 36:13); and Josephus ('Ant.,' 12:1; 11:8. 3) relates that Ptolemy Soter, son of Lagus (following herein the example of Darius), exacted an oath from the Jews in Egypt to be true to him and his successors. We know that both Babylonian and Persian monarchs exacted an oath of fealty from conquered nations, making them swear by the gods whom they worshipped, the selection of deities being left to them, I counsel thee to keep the king's commandment,.... Or, "to observe the mouth of the king" (w); what he says, and do according to it when it is agreeably to the law of God, and according to the laws of the kingdom, by which he is to govern; for kings are to be honoured, obeyed, and submitted to, in the lawful discharge of their office: and such counsel and advice as this is wholesome; and, being taken, contributes much, as to the honour of kings, so to the good of kingdoms and states, and to a man's own peace and comfort. Aben Ezra supplies it,

"I command thee, or I admonish thee;''

for it may be either a charge, or art advice, respecting this and what follows. Jarchi supplies and paraphrases it thus,

"I have need, and am prepared, to observe the mouth (or keep the commandment) of the King of the world;''

and so Alshech,

"observe that which goes out of the mouth of the King of the world.''

And indeed, to understand it, not of an earthly king, but of the King of kings, as it is understood by other interpreters also, suits better with what is said of this King in the following verses; whose commandments, which are not grievous, but to be loved above fine gold, should be kept from a principle of love, without mercenary and selfish views, as they are delivered out by him, and to his glory; and such a charge as this should be attended to, and such counsel be received;

and that in regard of the oath of God; who has swore, that if his children forsake his law, and walk not in his statutes, he will visit their transgressions with a rod, and their iniquities with stripes; and therefore should be careful to keep his commandments, Psalm 89:30. Those who interpret this of an earthly king, by the oath of God understand the oath of allegiance and fidelity to him, taken in the name and presence of God, and therefore for conscience's sake should obey him: or render it, "but so that thou observest the manner of the oath of God" (x); or takest care to obey him; or do nothing in obedience to kings, which is contrary to the will of God; for God is to be obeyed rather than men, Acts 4:19; especially, and above all things, that is to be regarded.

(w) "os regis observes", Tigurine version, Pagninus, Mercerus; "observa", Montanus, Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Gejerus, Rambachius. (x) "sed, ita quod ad Deum attinent, observes rationem juramenti Dei", Varenius; "attamen, supra serve verbum juramenti Dei", Gussetius, p. 605. 2. the king's—Jehovah, peculiarly the king of Israel in the theocracy; Ec 8:3, 4, prove it is not the earthly king who is meant.

the oath of God—the covenant which God made with Abraham and renewed with David; Solomon remembered Ps 89:35, "I have sworn," etc. (Ps 89:36), and the penalties if David's children should forsake it (Ps 89:30-32); inflicted on Solomon himself; yet God not "utterly" forsaking him (Ps 89:33, 34).8:1-5 None of the rich, the powerful, the honourable, or the accomplished of the sons of men, are so excellent, useful, or happy, as the wise man. Who else can interpret the words of God, or teach aright from his truths and dispensations? What madness must it be for weak and dependent creatures to rebel against the Almighty! What numbers form wrong judgments, and bring misery on themselves, in this life and that to come!
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OT Poetry: Ecclesiastes 8:2 I say Keep the king's command! (Ecclesiast. Ec Ecc Eccles.) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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