There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)VI.
(1) Common among.—Rather, heavy upon. In this section it is remarked how even when riches remain with a man to the end of his life they may fail to bring him any real happiness.Ecclesiastes 6:1-2. There is an evil which I have seen, &c. — A most wretched, miserable disposition reigning among mankind: A man to whom God hath given riches, &c. — When a man is blessed by God with all sorts of riches, as gold and silver, cattle and lands, &c. So that he wanteth nothing that he desireth — Which he does or can reasonably desire; yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof — Either because his riches are unexpectedly taken away from him by the hand of God, or rather, because, as a punishment of his ingratitude to God, and uncharitableness to men, or of his inattention to, and neglect of, spiritual and eternal things, God gives him up to a base and covetous mind; but a stranger eateth it — Not his children, not any relation, however distant; not a friend, nor even an acquaintance; but, it may be, an entire stranger enjoys all the good things which he has saved: this is vanity, and an evil disease — For surely what we possess we possess in vain, if we do not use it; and that temper of mind is certainly a most wretched distemper which prevents our using it.
1. common—or else more literally,—"great upon man," falls heavily upon man.The vanity of riches without use, Ecclesiastes 6:1,2. Of children and old age without competent wealth; their obscurity is worse than not to have been, Ecclesiastes 6:3-6. All labour is for necessaries of life, which one getteth as well as another, Ecclesiastes 6:7,8. It is good for us to enjoy what we have, and not to desire what we have not; for our portion is appointed its; and we ourselves are vain; and other things do but increase our vanity, Ecclesiastes 6:9-12.
and it is common among men; or, "great over men" (u); or "over the man", the covetous man: it spreads itself over them; few were free from it, even so long ago, in those early times, and in such times in which silver was made no account of, and was like stones in Jerusalem, as common as they; and yet the sin of covetousness, of hoarding up money and making no use of it, for a man's own good, and the good of others, was very rife among men, 1 Kings 10:27.There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1. There is an evil which I have seen under the sun] The picture is substantially the same as that of ch. Ecclesiastes 4:7-8. The repetition is characteristic, consciously or unconsciously, of the pessimism from which the writer has not yet emancipated himself. He broods over the same thought, chews, as it were, the “cud of bitter fancies” only, “semper eandem canens cantilenam.” Here the picture is that of a man who has all outward goods in abundance, but he just lacks that capacity for enjoyment which is (as in ch. Ecclesiastes 5:20) the “gift of God,” and he dies childless and a stranger becomes the heir. We are reminded of the aged patriarch’s exclamation, “I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus” (Genesis 15:2).Verses 1-6. - Section 9. Koheleth proceeds to illustrate the fact which he stated at the end of the last chapter, viz. that the possession and enjoyment of wealth are alike the free gift of God. We may see men possessed of all the gifts of fortune, yet denied the faculty of enjoying them. Hence we again conclude that wealth cannot secure happiness. Verse 1. - There is an evil which I have seen under the sun. The writer presents his personal experience, that which has fallen under his own observation (comp. Ecclesiastes 5:13; Ecclesiastes 10:5). And it is common among men. Rab, Translated "common," like πολὺς ιν Greek, is used of number and of degree; hence there is some doubt about its meaning here. The Septuagint has πολλή, the Vulgate frequens. Taking into account the fact that the circumstance stated is not one of general experience, we must receive the adjective in its tropical signification, and render, And it is great [lies heavily] upon men. Comp. Ecclesiastes 8:6, where the same word is used, and the preposition עַל is rather "upon" than "among" (Isaiah 24:20). Job 1:21, with the setting aside of the difficult word שׁמּה found there, which Sirach 40:1 exhibits. With "naked" begins emphatically the main subject; כּשׁבּא equals בא כּאשׁר is the intensifying resumption of the comparison; the contrast of לכת f, going away, excedere vit, is בּיא of the entrance on life, coming into the world. מאוּמה (according to the root meaning and use, corresponding to the French point, Olsh. 205a) emphatically precedes the negation, as at Judges 14:6 (cf. the emphasis reached in a different way, Psalm 49:18). נשׂא signifies here, as at Ecclesiastes 5:18, Psalm 24:5, to take hence, to take forth, to carry away. The ב of בּע is not partitive (Aben Ezra compares Leviticus 8:32), according to which Jerome and Luther translate de labore suo, but is the Beth pretii, as e.g., at 1 Kings 16:34, as the Chald. understands it; Nolde cites for this Beth pretii passages such as Ecclesiastes 2:24, but incorrectly. Regarding the subjunctive שׁיּלך, quod auferat. We might also with the lxx and Symm. punctuate שׁיּלך: which might accompany him in his hand, but which could by no means denote, as Hitzig thinks: (for his trouble), which goes through his hand. Such an expression is not used; and Hitzig's supposition, that here the rich man who has lost his wealth is the subject, does not approve itself.
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