Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Now.—Rather, long ago.
portion—Their "portion" was "in this life" (Ps 17:14), that they now "cannot have any more."
In any thing that is done under the sun; in any worldly thing; by which limitation he sufficiently insinuates his belief of their portion in the other world. 1 Corinthians 13:13; they will hate sin, Satan, and all the enemies of Christ, and be filled with zeal for his glory; so the word (z) for envy may be rendered; see Revelation 6:9; and the spirits of the wicked dead will still continue to love sin, and hate the Lord, and envy the happiness of the saints; and will rise again with the same spite and malice against them; see Ezekiel 32:27; but this respects persons and things in this world; they no more love persons and things here, nor are loved by any; death parts the best friends, and the most endearing and loving relations, and puts an end to all their mutual friendship and affection; they hate their enemies no more, nor are hated by them; they no more envy the prosperity of others, nor are envied by others; all such kind of love and hatred, enmity and envy, active or passive, cease at death; out of the world, as the Targum adds;
neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is under the sun: the worldly man's portion is only in this life, and when he dies, he carries nothing of it with him; whose ever his possessions will be at death, they are no more his, nor will he ever return to enjoy them any more; his houses, his lands, his estates, his gold and silver, and whatever of worth and value he had, he has no more lot and part in them: but the good man has a portion above the sun; God is his portion, heaven is his inheritance for ever and ever. The Targum understands it of the wicked;
"and they have no good part with the righteous in the world to come; and they have no profit of all that is done in this world under the sun.''Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)6. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished] The three passions are named as strongest and most vehement in their action. Even these are all hushed in the calm of the grave. There are no passions there, and the deadliest foes, rival statesmen and bitter controversialists, rest side by side together. The thought of the state of the dead stands on nearly the same level as that of the elegy of Hezekiah (Isaiah 38:9-20).Verse 6. - Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now (long ago) perished. All the feelings which are exhibited and developed in the life of the upper world are annihilated (comp. ver. 10). Three are selected as the most potent passions, such as by their strength and activity might ideally be supposed to survive even the stroke of death. But all are now at an end. Neither have they any more a portion forever in any thing that is done under the sun. Between the dead and the living an impassable gulf exists. The view of death here given, intensely gloomy and hopeless as it appears to be, is in conformity with other passages of the Old Testament (see Job 14:10-14; Psalm 6:5; Psalm 30:9; Isaiah 38:10-19; Ecclus. 17:27, 28; Bar. 3:16-19), and that imperfect dispensation. Koheleth and his contemporaries were of those "who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Hebrews 2:15); it was Christ who brightened the dark valley, showing the blessedness of those who die in the Lord, bringing life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Timothy 1:10). Some expositors have felt the pessimistic utterances of this passage so deeply that they have endeavored to account for them by introducing an atheistic objector, or an intended opposition between flesh and spirit. But there is not a trace of any two such voices, and the suggestion is quite unnecessary. The writer, while believing in the continued existence of the soul, knows little and has little that is cheering to say about it's condition; and what he does say is not inconsistent with a judgment to come, though he has not yet arrived at the enunciation of this great solution. The Vulgate renders the last clause, Nec habent partem in hoc saeculo et in opere quod sub sole geritur. But "forever" is the correct rendering of לְעולָם, and Ginsburg concludes that Jerome's translation can be traced to the Hagadistic interpretation of the verse which restricts its scope to the wicked The author of the Book of Wisdom, writing later, takes a much more hopeful view of death and the departed (see Ecclesiastes 1:15; Ecclesiastes 2:22-24; Ecclesiastes 3:1; 6:18; 8:17; 15:3, etc.). 1 Chronicles 17:1; Nehemiah 4:1, and frequently; but the author here uses this modus only rarely, and not (vid., Ecclesiastes 4:1, Ecclesiastes 4:7) as a sign of an apodosis.
We consider, first, the protasis, with the parenthesis in which it terminates. The phrase נתן את־הלב ל, to direct the heart, to give attention and effort toward something, we have now frequently met with from Ecclesiastes 1:13 down. The aim is here twofold: (1) "to know wisdom" (cf. Ecclesiastes 1:17), i.e., to gain the knowledge of that which is wisdom, and which is to be regarded as wisdom, viz., solid knowledge regarding the essence, causes, and objects of things; (2) by such knowledge about that which wisdom is in itself "to see earthly labour," and - this arises from the combination of the two resolutions - to comprehend this labour in accordance with the claims of true wisdom from the point of view of its last ground and aim. Regarding 'inyan, vid., under Ecclesiastes 3:10. "On the earth" and "under the sun" are parallel designations of this world.
With גּם כּי begins a parenthetical clause. Ki may also, it is true, be rendered as at Ecclesiastes 8:17: the labour on the earth, that he, etc. (Zckl.); but this restlessness, almost renouncing sleep, is thereby pressed too much into the foreground as the special obj. of the reuth (therefore Ginsburg introduces "how that"); thus better to render this clause with ki gam, as establishing the fact that there is 'inyan, self-tormenting, restless labour on the earth. Thus also איננּוּ is easier explained, which scarcely goes back to laadam, Ecclesiastes 8:15 (Hitz.), but shows that the author, by )inyan, has specially men in view. וּבלּ ... גּם is equals גם בי גם בל: as well by day as by night, with the negat. following (cf. Numbers 23:25; Isaiah 48:8): neither by day nor by night; not only by day, but also in the night, not. "To see sleep" is a phrase occurring only here; cf. Terence, Heautontim. iii. 1. 82, Somnum hercle ego hac nocte oculis non vidi meis, for which we use the expression: "In this whole night my eyes have seen no sleep." The not wishing to sleep, and not being able to sleep, is such an hyperbole, carrying its limitation in itself, as is found in Cicero (ad Famil. vii. 30): Fuit mirifica vigilantia, qui toto suo consulatu somnum non vidit.
With ור, "Then I have seen," begins the apodosis: vidi totum Dei opus non posse hominem assequi. As at Ecclesiastes 2:24, the author places the obj. in the foreground, and lets the pred. with ki follow (for other examples of this so-called antiposis, vid., under Genesis 1:4). He sees in the labour here below one side of God's work carrying itself forward amid this restless confusion, and sets forth this work of God, as at Ecclesiastes 3:11 (but where the connection of the thoughts is different), as an object of knowledge remaining beyond the reach of man. He cannot come to it, or, as מצא properly means, he reaches not to it, therefore "that a man wearies himself to seek, and yet finds not," i.e., that the search on the part of a man with all his endeavours comes not to its aim. אשׁר בכל Ewald's emendation, instead of the words of the text before us: for all this, that quantumcunque (Ewald, 362c), which seems to have been approved of by the lxx, Syr., and Jerome, is rightly rejected by Hitzig; beshel asher is Heb., exactly equivalent to Aram. בּדיל דּ, e.g., Genesis 6:3; and is rightly glossed by Rashi, Kimchi, Michlol 47b, by בּשׁביל שׁ and בּעבוּר שׁ. The accent dividing the verse stands on yimetsa, for to this word extends the first half of the apodosis, with vegam begins the second. Gam im is equals εἰ καί, as gam ki is equals ἐὰν καί. יאמר is to be understood after אם אח, Ecclesiastes 7:23 : also if (although) the wise man resolves to know, he cannot reach that which is to be known. The characteristic mark of the wise man is thus not so much the possession as the striving after it. He strives after knowledge, but the highest problems remain unsolved by him, and his ideal of knowledge unrealized.
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