Ecclesiastes 8:6
Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great on him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) The connecting particles here present difficulties which have not been satisfactorily solved; and it has even been conjectured that some words may have dropped out of the text. The first half of the verse repeats Ecclesiastes 3:1; the second almost verbally Ecclesiastes 6:1; on this account our translation “misery” is to be preferred to “wickedness” as some render it.

Ecclesiastes 8:6-7. Because to every purpose there is a time, &c. — There is a fit way and season for the accomplishment of every business, which is known to God, but for the most part hidden from man. See notes on Ecclesiastes 3:1. Therefore the misery of man is great — Because there are few who have wisdom to discern this, most men expose themselves to manifold miseries. For he knoweth not that which shall be — Men are generally ignorant of future events, and of the success of their endeavours, and therefore their minds are disquieted, and their expectations frequently are disappointed, and they fall into many mistakes and miscarriages, which they might prevent if they foresaw the issues of things; who can tell when it shall be? — No wise man, no astrologer, no soothsayer can discover this.8:6-8 God has, in wisdom, kept away from us the knowledge of future events, that we may be always ready for changes. We must all die, no flight or hiding-place can save us, nor are there any weapons of effectual resistance. Ninety thousand die every day, upwards of sixty every minute, and one every moment. How solemn the thought! Oh that men were wise, that they understood these things, that they would consider their latter end! The believer alone is prepared to meet the solemn summons. Wickedness, by which men often escape human justice, cannot secure from death.Because, therefore - , Or, as in Ecclesiastes 8:7, "for."

The possibility of God's time and judgment being in opposition to a king's purpose or commandment Ecclesiastes 8:5, suggests the thought that such discord is a misery (evil, Ecclesiastes 6:1) common to man (or, mankind).

6. therefore the misery, &c.—because the foolish sinner does not think of the right "times" and the "judgment." There is time and judgment; there is a fit way and season for the happy accomplishment of every business which a man designeth or undertaketh to do, which is known to God, but for the most part hidden from man, as is implied and may be gathered from the following words. See Poole "Ecclesiastes 3:1".

Therefore; because there are very few who have that wisdom which is necessary to discern this, as was now said, Ecclesiastes 9:5, and most men do by their ignorance and loss of opportunities deprive themselves of many advantages, and expose themselves to manifold miseries. Because to every purpose there is time and judgment,.... There is a fit season, and a right and proper manner of doing everything that is to be done; see Ecclesiastes 3:1; which a wise man discerns; and which when a man hits upon, it prevents a great deal of mischief, which for want of it comes upon men, as the following clause shows; some refer this to the punishment of the wicked, and to a future judgment. So the Targum,

"to every business there is a time good and evil, and according to the judgment of truth the whole world is judged;''

and to the same purpose Jarchi,

"there is a time fixed for the visitation of the wicked, and there is judgment before the Lord; this is vengeance or punishment;''

therefore the misery of man is great upon him; he not observing the right time and manner of doing what he ought, brings much trouble upon himself; his days are few and full trouble, and every day has a sufficiency of evil in because of the evil of sin, the evil of misery presses upon him, and is a heavy burden on him Jarchi's note is,

"when the wickedness of a man is great, then cometh his visitation.''

Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the {f} misery of man is great upon him.

(f) Man by himself is miserable, and therefore should do nothing to increase the same, but to work all things by wisdom and counsel.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore] The English conjunctions misrepresent the sequence of thought, and we should read “For to every purpose there is time and judgment, for the misery (or, better, the wickedness) of man …” The wise man waits for the time of judgment, for he knows that such a time must come, and that the evil of the man (i.e. of the tyrant) is great upon him, weighs on him as a burden under which he must at last sink. This seems the most natural and legitimate interpretation, but the sentence is obscure, and has been very differently interpreted. (1) The evil of man (of the oppressor) is heavy upon him (the oppressed). (2) Though there is a time and a judgment, yet the misery of man is great, because (as in the next verse) he knows not when it is to come.Verse 6. - Because. This and the three following clauses all begin with ki, "since," "for," and the conjunction ought to have been similarly rendered in all the places. Thus here, for to every purpose there is time and judgment. Here commences a chain of argument to prove the wisdom of keeping quiet under oppression or evil rulers. Everything has its appointed time of duration, and in due course will be brought to judgment (see Ecclesiastes 3:1, 17; 41:14). Therefore (for) the misery of man is great upon him. This is a further reason, but its exact signification is disputed. Literally, the evil of the man is heavy upon him (comp. Ecclesiastes 6:1). This may mean, as in the Authorized Version, that the affliction which subjects suffer at the hand of a tyrant becomes insupportable, and calls for and receives God's interposition. Or "the evil" may be the wickedness of the despot, which presses heavily upon him, and under retributive justice will ere long bring him to the ground, and so the oppression will come to an end. This seems to be the most natural interpretation of the passage. The Septuagint, reading differently, has, "For the knowledge of a man is great upon him." Though what tiffs means it is difficult to say. "Lo, this only have I found, that God created man upright; but they seek many arts." Also here the order of the words is inverted, since זה, belonging as obj. to מץ (have I found), which is restricted by לבד, is amalgamated with ראה (Lo! see!). The author means to say: Only this (solummodo hocce) have I found, that ...; the ראה is an interjected nota bene. The expression: God has made man ישׁר, is dogmatically significant. Man, as he came from the Creator's hand, was not placed in the state of moral decision, nor yet in the state of absolute indifference between good and evil; he was not neither good nor bad, but he was טוב, or, which is the same thing, ישׁר; i.e., in every respect normal, so that he could normally develope himself from this positively good foundation. But by the expression ישׁר `שׁ, Koheleth has certainly not exclusively his origin in view, but at the same time his relative continuation in the propagation of himself, not without the concurrence of the Creator; also of man after the fall the words are true, ישׁר עשׂה, in so far as man still possesses the moral ability not to indulge sinful affections within him, nor suffer them to become sinful actions. But the sinful affections in the inborn nature of weak sinful man have derived so strong a support from his freedom, that the power of the will over against this power of nature is for the most part as weakness; the dominance of sin, where it is not counteracted by the grace of God, has always shown itself so powerful, that Koheleth has to complain of men of all times and in all circles of life: they seek many arts (as Luther well renders it), or properly, calculations, inventions, devices (hhishshevonoth,

(Note: If we derive this word from hhěshbon, the Dagesh in the שׁ is the so-called Dag. dirimens.)

as at 2 Chronicles 26:15, from hhishshevon, which is as little distinguished from the formation hhěshbon, as hhizzayon from hhězyon), viz., of means and ways, by which they go astray from the normal natural development into abnormities. In other words: inventive refined degeneracy has come into the place of moral simplicity, ἁπλότης (2 Chronicles 11:3). As to the opinion that caricatures of true human nature, contrasts between the actual and that which ought to be (the ideal), are common, particularly among the female sex, the author has testimonies in support of it from all nations. It is confirmed by the primitive history itself, in which the woman appears as the first that was led astray, and as the seducer (cf. Psychol. pp. 103-106). With reference to this an old proverb says: "Women carry in themselves a frivolous mind," Kiddushin 80b.

(Note: Cf. Tendlau's Sprichw. (1860), No. 733.)

And because a woman, when she has fallen into evil, surpasses a man in fiendish superiority therein, the Midrash reckons under this passage before us fifteen things of which the one is worse than the other; the thirteenth is death, and the fourteenth a bad woman.

(Note: Duke's Rabb. Blumenl. (1844), No. 32.)

Hitzig supposes that the author has before him as his model Agathoclea, the mistress of the fourth Ptolemy Philopator. But also the history of the Persian Court affords dreadful examples of the truth of the proverb: "Woe to the age whose leader is a woman;"

(Note: Ibid. No. 118.)

and generally the harem is a den of female wickedness.

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