English Standard Version
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
King James Bible
Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
Darby Bible Translation
Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities! all is vanity.
World English Bible
"Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher; "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity."
Young's Literal Translation
Vanity of vanities, said the Preacher, Vanity of vanities: the whole is vanity.
Ecclesiastes 1:2 Parallel
CommentaryKeil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament
The book begins artistically with an opening section of the nature of a preamble. The ground-tone of the whole book at once sounds in Ecclesiastes 1:2, which commences this section, "O vanity of vanities, saith Koheleth, O vanity of vanities! All is vain." As at Isaiah 40:1 (vid., l.c.) it is a question whether by "saith" is meant a future or a present utterance of God, so here and at Ecclesiastes 12:8 whether "saith" designates the expression of Koheleth as belonging to history or as presently given forth. The language admits both interpretations, as e.g., "saith," with God as the subject, 2 Samuel 23:3, is meant historically, and in Isaiah 49:5 of the present time. We understand "saith" here, as e.g., Isaiah 36:4, "Thus saith ... the king of Assyria," of something said now, not of something said previously, since it is those presently living to whom the Solomon redivivus, and through him the author of this book, preaches the vanity of all earthly things. The old translators take "vanity of vanities" in the nominative, as if it were the predicate; but the repetition of the expression shows that it is an exclamation equals O vanitatem vanitatum. The abbreviated connecting form of הבל is here not punctuated הבל, after the form חדר (חדר) and the like, but הבל, after the manner of the Aram. ground-form עבד; cf. Ewald, 32b. Jerome read differently: In Hebraeo pro vanitate vanitatum ABAL ABALIM scriptum est, quod exceptis lxx interpretibus omnes similiter transtulerunt ἀτμὸς ἀτμἰδων sive ἀτμῶν. Hěvěl primarily signifies a breath, and still bears this meaning in post-bibl. Heb., e.g., Schabbath 119b: "The world exists merely for the sake of the breath of school-children" (who are the hope of the future). Breath, as the contrast of that which is firm and enduring, is the figure of that which has no support, no continuance. Regarding the superlative expression, "Vanity of vanities," vid., the Sol 1:1. "Vanity of vanities" is the non plus ultra of vanity, - vanity in the highest degree. The double exclamation is followed by a statement which shows it to be the result of experience. "All is vain" - the whole (of the things, namely, which present themselves to us here below for our consideration and use) is vanity.
LibraryWhat Passes and what Abides
'One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.'--ECCLES. i. 4. 'And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.'--1 JOHN ii. 17. A great river may run through more than one kingdom, and bear more than one name, but its flow is unbroken. The river of time runs continuously, taking no heed of dates and calendars. The importance that we attach to the beginnings or endings of years and centuries is a …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Introduction to vita S. Antoni.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope
But a stupid man will get understanding when a wild donkey's colt is born a man!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
Surely a man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath.
Remember how short my time is! For what vanity you have created all the children of man!
Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.
Jump to PreviousKoheleth Meaningless Preacher Purpose Teacher Utterly Vanities Vanity Ways Whole
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