Ecclesiastes 9:10
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

New Living Translation
Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.

English Standard Version
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

New American Standard Bible
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.

King James Bible
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Whatever your hands find to do, do with all your strength, because there is no work, planning, knowledge, or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.

International Standard Version
Whatever the activity in which you engage, do it with all your ability, because there is no work, no planning, no learning, and no wisdom in the next world where you're going.

NET Bible
Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might, because there is neither work nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave, the place where you will eventually go.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Whatever presents itself for you to do, do it with [all] your might, because there is no work, planning, knowledge, or skill in the grave where you're going.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Whatever thy hand finds to do, do it with all thy might, for there is no work nor device nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol, where thou goest.

King James 2000 Bible
Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, where you go.

American King James Version
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, where you go.

American Standard Version
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol, whither thou goest.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Whatsoever thy hand is able to do, do it earnestly: for neither work, nor reason, nor wisdom, nor knowledge shall be in hell, whither thou art hastening.

Darby Bible Translation
Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol, whither thou goest.

English Revised Version
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Webster's Bible Translation
Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

World English Bible
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol, where you are going.

Young's Literal Translation
All that thy hand findeth to do, with thy power do, for there is no work, and device, and knowledge, and wisdom in Sheol whither thou art going.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

9:4-10 The most despicable living man's state, is preferable to that of the most noble who have died impenitent. Solomon exhorts the wise and pious to cheerful confidence in God, whatever their condition in life. The meanest morsel, coming from their Father's love, in answer to prayer, will have a peculiar relish. Not that we may set our hearts upon the delights of sense, but what God has given us we may use with wisdom. The joy here described, is the gladness of heart that springs from a sense of the Divine favour. This is the world of service, that to come is the world of recompence. All in their stations, may find some work to do. And above all, sinners have the salvation of their souls to seek after, believers have to prove their faith, adorn the gospel, glorify God, and serve their generation.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 10. - Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might. In accordance with what has been already said, and to combat the idea that, as man cannot control his fate, he should take no pains to work his work, but fold his hands in resigned inaction, Koheleth urges him not to despair, but to do his part manfully as long as life is given, and with all the energies of his soul carry out the purpose of his being. The Septuagint gives, "All things whatsoever thy hand shall find to do, do it as thy power is (ὡς ἡ δύναμίς σου);" Vulgate, Quodcumque facere potest manus tua, instanter operate. The expression at the commencement may be illustrated by Leviticus 12:8; Leviticus 25:28; Judges 9:33, where it implies ability to carry out some intention, and in some passages is thus rendered, "is able," etc. (comp. Proverbs 3:27). It is therefore erroneous to render it in this place, "Whatever by chance cometh to hand;" or "Let might be right." Rather it is a call to work as the prelude and accompaniment of enjoyment, anticipating St. Paul's maxim (2 Thessalonians 3:10), "If any would not work, neither should he eat." Ginsburg's interpretation is dishonoring to the Preacher and foreign to his real sentiments, "Have recourse to every source of voluptuous gratification, while thou art in thy strength." The true meaning of the verse is confirmed by such references as John 9:4, "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work;" 2 Corinthians 6:2, "Now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation;" Galatians 6:10, "As we have opportunity, let us do good unto all men." For there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave. The departed have no more work which they can do, no plans or calculations to make; their knowledge is strictly limited, their wisdom is ended. It needs body and soul to carry on the labors and activities of this world; when these are severed, and can no longer act together, there is a complete alteration in the man's relations and capacities. "The grave," sheol (which is found nowhere else in Ecclesiastes), is the place to which go the souls of the dead - a shadowy region. Whither thou goest; to which all are bound. It is plain that the writer believes in the continued existence of the soul, as he differentiates its life in sheol from its life on earth, the energies and operations which are carried on in the one case being curtailed or eclipsed in the other. Of any repentance, or purification, or progress, in the unseen world, Koheleth knows and says nothing. He would seem to regard existence there as a sleep or a state of insensibility; at any rate, such is the natural view of the present passage.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do,.... Not anything that is evil, which is near at hand, and easy to be found, and is in the power of men's hands to do, Romans 7:21; for this is forbidden of God, abominable to him, and hurtful to men; but whatsoever is good; so the Targum,

"to do good and alms to the poor;''

even all good works in general, which God requires of men, and it is their duty to do; though they are not meritorious of anything at his hands, nor is there justification or salvation by them; yet should be done in obedience to the will of God, in gratitude to him for mercies received, and for his glory; as also for the profit of men, and for our own good; for the evidence of grace, and to preserve our characters from the insults and reproaches of men. Whatever is found written in the book of God should be done; not what is of a ceremonial kind, and now abolished, but everything of a moral nature, and of positive institution, under Gospel times; as all Gospel ordinances, and whatever falls within a man's calling: for every man has a work to do; in every station, as magistrates and subjects; in every relation, as husband and wife, parents and children, masters and servants; in every business of life men are called to; which they should attend, for the good of themselves and families, the relief of the poor, and the support of the interest of religion: and in religious things everyone has his work to do; the minister, in preaching and administering ordinances; the deacon, in taking care of the poor; private Christians, in praying in their closets and families, in hearing the word, making a profession of religion, and attending on ordinances; and, as opportunity serves, should do good to all men, especially to the saints, Galatians 6:10; and whatsoever is in the power of their hands, as this phrase signifies, Leviticus 12:8. Aben Ezra refers it to the delights and pleasures of life, such as before mentioned; which may be allowed, when used in a lawful and moderate manner;

do it with thy might; or "strength"; for though men have no might or strength of their own to do good, which is lost by sin; yea, even good men, of themselves, and without Christ, his spirit and grace, can do nothing spiritually good; yet there is strength in him, and to be had from him; and who should be applied to for it, and who gives it, Isaiah 40:29; the phrase denotes intenseness of spirit, vigour of mind, activity and fervency; doing that which is good, cheerfully and diligently, and not in a negligent careless manner; see Deuteronomy 6:5;

for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest; this, and not then, is our working time; good men at death cease from their labours in the grave, as the night in which no man can "work", Revelation 14:13; then the liberal man can no more "devise" liberal ways and means of doing good; his purposes of doing good are broken off; and no more plans can be laid, or designs formed, for the glory of God and the good of fellow creatures: and no more "knowledge" of objects to do good unto; nor any improvement in any kind of knowledge, natural or spiritual: nor "wisdom" and prudence in the management of affairs, to answer some good ends and purposes; nor opportunity of attaining that wisdom by the Scriptures, and by the ministry of the word, which make men wise unto salvation: and now, since every man is going to the grave, his long home, the place appointed for all living, and this, is the way of all flesh; and every step he has taken, and does take, is a step to the grave; therefore it is incumbent on him to do all the good he can in life.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

10. Whatsoever—namely, in the service of God. This and last verse plainly are the language of Solomon, not of a skeptic, as Holden would explain it.

hand, &c.—(Le 12:8, Margin; 1Sa 10:7, Margin).

thy might—diligence (De 6:5; Jer 48:10, Margin).

no work … in the grave—(Joh 9:4; Re 14:13). "The soul's play-day is Satan's work-day; the idler the man the busier the tempter" [South].

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Additional Commentaries
Context
Enjoy Your Portion in This Life
9Enjoy 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. 10Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going. 11I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all.…
Cross References
Romans 12:11
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

Genesis 37:35
All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. "No," he said, "I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave." So his father wept for him.

1 Samuel 10:7
Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.

Job 21:13
They spend their years in prosperity and go down to the grave in peace.

Psalm 6:5
Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave?

Ecclesiastes 9:5
For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten.

Ecclesiastes 11:6
Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.

Isaiah 38:10
I said, "In the prime of my life must I go through the gates of death and be robbed of the rest of my years?"

Isaiah 38:18
For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness.
Treasury of Scripture

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, where you go.

thy hand

Numbers 13:30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up …

1 Chronicles 22:19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; arise …

1 Chronicles 28:20 And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, …

1 Chronicles 29:2,3 Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the …

2 Chronicles 31:20,21 And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and worked that which …

Ezra 6:14,15 And the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the …

Nehemiah 2:12-20 And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told …

Nehemiah 3:1 Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brothers the priests, …

Nehemiah 4:2,6,9-13,17-23 And he spoke before his brothers and the army of Samaria, and said, …

Nehemiah 13:8-31 And it grieved me sore: therefore I cast forth all the household …

Psalm 71:15-18 My mouth shall show forth your righteousness and your salvation all …

Jeremiah 29:13 And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me …

Matthew 6:33 But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and …

John 4:34 Jesus said to them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, …

Romans 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

Romans 15:18-20 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ …

1 Corinthians 9:24,26 Know you not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives …

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed …

1 Corinthians 16:10 Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: …

Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Colossians 3:23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men;

2 Peter 1:12-15 Why I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these …

for

Ecclesiastes 9:5,6 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any …

Ecclesiastes 11:3 If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves on the earth: …

Job 14:7-12 For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout …

Psalm 6:5 For in death there is no remembrance of you: in the grave who shall …

Psalm 88:10-12 Will you show wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise you? Selah…

Isaiah 38:18,19 For the grave cannot praise you, death can not celebrate you: they …

John 9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night …

Acts 20:25-31 And now, behold, I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching …

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