Ecclesiastes 9:8
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil.

New Living Translation
Wear fine clothes, with a splash of cologne!

English Standard Version
Let your garments be always white. Let not oil be lacking on your head.

New American Standard Bible
Let your clothes be white all the time, and let not oil be lacking on your head.

King James Bible
Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Let your clothes be white all the time, and never let oil be lacking on your head.

International Standard Version
Always keep your garments white, and don't fail to anoint your head.

NET Bible
Let your clothes always be white, and do not spare precious ointment on your head.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Always wear clean clothes, and never go without lotion on your head.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Thy garments shall always be white, and thy head shall never lack ointment.

King James 2000 Bible
Let your garments be always white; and let your head lack no ointment.

American King James Version
Let your garments be always white; and let your head lack no ointment.

American Standard Version
Let thy garments be always white; and let not thy head lack oil.

Douay-Rheims Bible
At all times let thy garments be white, and let not oil depart from thy head.

Darby Bible Translation
Let thy garments be always white, and let not thy head lack oil.

English Revised Version
Let thy garments be always white; and let not thy head lack ointment.

Webster's Bible Translation
Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.

World English Bible
Let your garments be always white, and don't let your head lack oil.

Young's Literal Translation
At all times let thy garments be white, and let not perfume be lacking on thy head.
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 8. - Let thy garments be always white. The Preacher brings into prominence certain particulars of enjoyment, more noticeable than mere eating and drinking. White garments in the East (as among ourselves) were symbols of joy and purity. Thus the singers in Solomon's temple were arrayed in white linen (2 Chronicles 5:12). Mordecai was thus honored by King Ahasuerus (Esther 8:15), the angels are seen similarly decked (Mark 16:5), and the glorified saints are clothed in white (Revelation 3:4, 5, 18). So in the pseudepi-graphal books the same imagery is retained. Those that "have fulfilled the Law of the Lord have received glorious garments, and are clothed in white" (2 Esdr. 2:39, 40). Among the Romans the same symbolism obtained. Horace ('Sat.,' 2:2. 60) -

"Ille repotia, natales aliosve dierum
Festes albatus celebret."


"Though he in whitened toga celebrate
His wedding, birthday, or high festival."
Let thy head lack no ointment. Oil and perfumes were used on festive occasions not only among Eastern nations, but by Greeks and Romans (see on Ecclesiastes 7:1). Thus Telemachus is anointed with fragrant oil by the fair Polykaste (Homer, 'Od,' 3:466). Sappho complains to Phaen (Ovid,' Heroid.' 15:76) -

"Non Arabs noster rore capillus olet."

"No myrrh of Araby bedews my hair." Such allusions in Horace are frequent and commonly cited (see 'Carm.,' 1:5. 2; 2:7. 7, 8; 2:11. 15, etc.). Thus the double injunction in this verse counsels one to be always happy and cheerful. Gregory Thaumaturgus (cited by Plumptre) represents the passage as the error of "men of vanity;" and other commentators have deemed that it conveyed not the Preacher's own sentiments, but those of an atheist whom he cites. There is, as we have already seen, no need to resort to such an explanation. Doubtless the advice may readily be perverted to evil, and made to sanction sensuality and licentiousness, as-we see to have been done in Wisd. 2:6-9; but Koheleth only urges the moderate use of earthly goods as consecrated by God's gift.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Let thy garments be always white,.... That is, neat and clean, not vile and sordid; what is comely and decent, and suitable to a man's circumstances; this colour is particularly mentioned because much used in the eastern countries, and in Judea; hence we so often read of washing garments, and of fullers that whitened them; and especially on festival days and days of rejoicing, to which Horace (a) refers; and here it signifies that every day should be like a festival or day of rejoicing to a good man, to whom God has given the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, Isaiah 61:3; and though there may be times for mourning, and so of putting on other apparel, yet, in common and ordinarily, this should be the habit, decent and comely apparel. The ancient Jews in Aben Ezra, and so Jarchi, interpret it of an unblemished conversation; and Kimchi (b) of repentance and good works; and so the Targum,

"let thy garments be white (or washed) from all filth of sin;''

or be without any spot of sin, as Alshech; the conversation garments of the saints are made white in the blood of Christ, and his righteousness is fine linen, and white; and even eternal glory and happiness is signified by walking with him in white, Revelation 7:14;

and let thy head lack no ointment: which used to be poured plentifully on the heads of guests at feasts (c), for the refreshment of them, which gave pleasure, and a sweet odour and fragrancy, and was much in use in those hot countries; see Psalm 23:5; and is opposed to a gloomy and melancholy carriage and deportment, Matthew 6:17; hence we read of the oil of joy and gladness, Psalm 45:7. The Jews before mentioned interpreted this of a good name better than ointment, Ecclesiastes 7:1. So the Targum,

"and a good name, which is like to anointing oil, get; that blessings may come upon thy head, and thy goodness fail not.''

(a) "Ille repotia natales aliosque dierum, festos albatus celebret". Satyr. l. 2. Sat. 2. v. 60, 61. "Cum ipse epuli Dominus albatus esset", Cicero in Vatin. c. 13. (b) Comment. in lsa. lxv. 13. (c) "Coronatus nitentes malabathro Syrio capillos", Horat. Carmin. l. 2. Ode 7. v. 7, 8. "et paulo post: funde capacibus unguenta de conchis", v. 22, 23. "Unguentum (fateor) bonum dedisti convivis", Martial. l. 3. Epigr. 11.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

8. white—in token of joy (Isa 61:3). Solomon was clad in white (Josephus, Antiquities, 8:7,3); hence his attire is compared to the "lilies" (Mt 6:29), typical of the spotless righteousness of Jesus Christ, which the redeemed shall wear (Re 3:18; 7:14).

ointment—(Ps 23:5), opposed to a gloomy exterior (2Sa 14:2; Ps 45:7; Mt 6:17); typical, also (Ec 7:1; So 1:3).

Ecclesiastes 9:8 Additional Commentaries
Context
Enjoy Your Portion in This Life
7Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works. 8Let your clothes be white all the time, and let not oil be lacking on your head. 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.…
Cross References
Luke 7:46
You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.

Revelation 3:4
Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.

Psalm 23:5
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Treasury of Scripture

Let your garments be always white; and let your head lack no ointment.

thy garments

2 Samuel 19:24 And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and …

Esther 8:15 And Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel …

Revelation 3:4,5 You have a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their …

Revelation 7:9,13,14 After this I beheld, and, see, a great multitude, which no man could …

Revelation 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps …

Revelation 19:8,14 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, …

let thy head

Ruth 3:3 Wash yourself therefore, and anoint you, and put your raiment on …

2 Samuel 14:2 And Joab sent to Tekoah, and fetched there a wise woman, and said …

Daniel 10:3 I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, …

Amos 6:6 That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: …

Matthew 6:17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face;

Luke 7:46 My head with oil you did not anoint: but this woman has anointed …

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