Ecclesiastes 1:13
New International Version
I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind!

New Living Translation
I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done under heaven. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race.

English Standard Version
And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with.

Berean Study Bible
And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on the sons of men, to keep them occupied!

New American Standard Bible
And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with.

King James Bible
And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.

Christian Standard Bible
I applied my mind to examine and explore through wisdom all that is done under heaven. God has given people this miserable task to keep them occupied.

Contemporary English Version
With all my wisdom I tried to understand everything that happens here on earth. And God has made this so hard for us humans to do.

Good News Translation
I determined that I would examine and study all the things that are done in this world. God has laid a miserable fate upon us.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I applied my mind to seek and explore through wisdom all that is done under heaven. God has given people this miserable task to keep them occupied.

International Standard Version
I dedicated myself to using wisdom for study and discovery of everything that is done under heaven. God uses terrible things so human beings will struggle with life.

NET Bible
I decided to carefully and thoroughly examine all that has been accomplished on earth. I concluded: God has given people a burdensome task that keeps them occupied.

New Heart English Bible
I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under the sky. It is a heavy burden that God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
With all my heart I used wisdom to study and explore everything done under heaven. Mortals are weighed down with a terrible burden that God has placed on them.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven; it is a sore task that God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised therewith.

New American Standard 1977
And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven (this sore travail God has given to the sons of man that they be occupied in it).

King James 2000 Bible
And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this severe burden has God given to the sons of man to be afflicted with.

American King James Version
And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail has God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.

American Standard Version
And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven: it is a sore travail that God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised therewith.

Brenton Septuagint Translation
And I applied my heart to seek out and examine by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven, for God has given to the sons of men an evil trouble to be troubled therewith.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And I proposed in my mind to seek and search out wisely concerning all things that are done under the sun. This painful occupation hath God given to the children of men, to be exercised therein.

Darby Bible Translation
And I applied my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under the heavens: this grievous occupation hath God given to the children of men to weary themselves therewith.

English Revised Version
And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven: it is a sore travail that God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised therewith.

Webster's Bible Translation
And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this grievous labor hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised with it.

World English Bible
I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under the sky. It is a heavy burden that God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with.

Young's Literal Translation
And I have given my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom concerning all that hath been done under the heavens. It is a sad travail God hath given to the sons of man to be humbled by it.
Study Bible
With Wisdom Comes Sorrow
12I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on the sons of men, to keep them occupied! 14I have seen all the things that are done under the sun, and have found them all to be futile, a pursuit of the wind.…
Cross References
Job 28:3
Man puts an end to the darkness; he probes the farthest recesses for ore in deepest darkness.

Ecclesiastes 1:17
So I set my mind to know wisdom and madness and folly; I learned that this, too, is a pursuit of the wind.

Ecclesiastes 2:23
Indeed, all his days are filled with grief, and his task is sorrowful; even at night, his mind does not rest. This too is futile.

Ecclesiastes 2:26
To the man who is pleasing in His sight, He gives wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner He assigns the task of gathering and accumulating that which he will hand over to one who pleases God. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.

Ecclesiastes 3:10
I have seen the burden that God has laid on men to occupy them.

Ecclesiastes 3:11
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom the work God has done from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes 4:8
There is a man all alone, without even a son or brother. And though there is no end to his labor, his eyes are still not content with his wealth: "For whom do I toil and bereave my soul of enjoyment?" This too is futile--a miserable task.

Ecclesiastes 7:25
I directed my mind to understand, to explore, to search out wisdom and explanations, and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the folly of madness.

Ecclesiastes 8:16
When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe the activity that one does on the earth--though his eyes do not see sleep day or night--

Ecclesiastes 8:17
I saw every work of God, and that a man is unable to comprehend the work that is done under the sun. Despite his efforts to search it out, he cannot find its meaning; even if the wise man claims to know, he is unable to comprehend.

Ecclesiastes 11:5
As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the bones are formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.

Treasury of Scripture

And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail has God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.

i gave

Ecclesiastes 1:17
And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.

Ecclesiastes 7:25
I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:

Ecclesiastes 8:9,16,17
All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: there is a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt…

this sore

Ecclesiastes 3:10
I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

Ecclesiastes 4:4
Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.

Ecclesiastes 12:12
And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

to be exercised or to afflict them







Lexicon
And I set
וְנָתַ֣תִּי (wə·nā·ṯat·tî)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Conjunctive perfect - first person common singular
Strong's Hebrew 5414: To give, put, set

my mind
לִבִּ֗י (lib·bî)
Noun - masculine singular construct | first person common singular
Strong's Hebrew 3820: The heart, the feelings, the will, the intellect, centre

to seek
לִדְר֤וֹשׁ (liḏ·rō·wōš)
Preposition-l | Verb - Qal - Infinitive construct
Strong's Hebrew 1875: To tread, frequent, to follow, to seek, ask, to worship

and explore
וְלָתוּר֙ (wə·lā·ṯūr)
Conjunctive waw, Preposition-l | Verb - Qal - Infinitive construct
Strong's Hebrew 8446: To meander, about, for, trade, reconnoitring

by wisdom
בַּֽחָכְמָ֔ה (ba·ḥā·ḵə·māh)
Preposition-b, Article | Noun - feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2451: Wisdom

all
כָּל־ (kāl-)
Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 3605: The whole, all, any, every

that
אֲשֶׁ֥ר (’ă·šer)
Pronoun - relative
Strong's Hebrew 834: Who, which, what, that, when, where, how, because, in order that

is done
נַעֲשָׂ֖ה (na·‘ă·śāh)
Verb - Nifal - Perfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 6213: To do, make

under
תַּ֣חַת (ta·ḥaṯ)
Preposition
Strong's Hebrew 8478: The bottom, below, in lieu of

heaven.
הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם (haš·šā·mā·yim)
Article | Noun - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 8064: Heaven, sky

What
ה֣וּא ׀ (hū)
Pronoun - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1931: He, self, the same, this, that, as, are

a heavy
רָ֗ע (rā‘)
Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 7451: Bad, evil

burden
עִנְיַ֣ן (‘in·yan)
Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 6045: Ado, employment, an affair

God
אֱלֹהִ֛ים (’ĕ·lō·hîm)
Noun - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 430: gods -- the supreme God, magistrates, a superlative

has laid on
נָתַ֧ן (nā·ṯan)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5414: To give, put, set

the sons
לִבְנֵ֥י (liḇ·nê)
Preposition-l | Noun - masculine plural construct
Strong's Hebrew 1121: A son

of men,
הָאָדָ֖ם (hā·’ā·ḏām)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 120: Ruddy, a human being

to keep them occupied!
לַעֲנ֥וֹת (la·‘ă·nō·wṯ)
Preposition-l | Verb - Qal - Infinitive construct
Strong's Hebrew 6031: To be bowed down or afflicted
(13) Gave my heart.--The phrase occurs again in this book (Ecclesiastes 1:17; Ecclesiastes 7:25; Ecclesiastes 8:9; Ecclesiastes 8:16) and often elsewhere. (See Daniel 10:12; 2Chronicles 11:16, &c) The heart among the Hebrews is regarded as the seat, not merely of the feelings, but of the intellectual faculties, and so the word is constantly used in what follows. "I gave my heart" is the same as "I applied my mind."

To seek.--Deuteronomy 13:14; Leviticus 10:16.

Search out.--Numbers 14:36; Numbers 14:38; Ecclesiastes 7:25.

Travail.--The word occurs again in this book (Ecclesiastes 2:23; Ecclesiastes 2:26; Ecclesiastes 3:10; Ecclesiastes 4:8; Ecclesiastes 5:3; Ecclesiastes 5:14; Ecclesiastes 8:16) but no-where else in the Old Testament, though kindred forms are common. The word itself is common in Rabbinical Hebrew, in the sense of business.

"To afflict them" (margin). This is too strong a translation; better, to travail therein.

Verse 13. - I gave my heart (ver. 17; Ecclesiastes 7:25; Daniel 10:12). The heart, in the Hebrew conception, was the seat, not of the affections only, but of the understanding and intellectual faculties generally. So the expression here is equivalent to "I applied my mind." To seek and search out. The two words are not synonymous. The former verb (דָּרַשׁ, darash) implies penetrating into the depth of an object before one; the other word (תּוּר, tur) taking a comprehensive survey of matters further away; so that two methods and scopes of investigation are signified. By wisdom; ἐν τῇ σοφίᾳ (Septuagint). Wisdom was the means or instrument by which he carried on his researches, which were directed, not merely to the collecting of facts, but to investigating the causes and conditions of things. Concerning all things that are done under heaven; i.e. men's actions and conduct, political, social, and private life. We have "under the sun" in ver. 9, and again in ver. 14. Here there is no question of physical matters, the phenomena of the material world, but only of human circumstances and interests. This sore travail (rather, this is a sore travail that) God hath given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith. The word rendered "travail" (עִנְיָן, inyan) occurs often in this book (e.g., Ecclesiastes 2:23, 26, etc.), and nowhere else in the Old Testament. The same root is found in the word translated "exercised;" hence Wright has, "It is a woeful exercise which God has given to the sons of men wherewith to exercise themselves." If we keep to the word "travail," we may render, "to travail therein." It implies distracting business, engrossing occupation. Septuagint, περισπασμόν; Vulgate, occupationem. Man feels himself constrained to make this laborious investigation, yet the result is most unsatisfactory, as the next verse shows. "God" is here Elohim, and so throughout the book, the name Jehovah (the God of the covenant, the God of Israel) never once occurring. Those who regard Solomon as the author of the book account for this on the plea that the king, in his latest years, reflecting sadly on his backsliding and fall, shrank from uttering with his polluted lips the adorable Name once so often used with filial reverence and beloved. But the true reason is found in the design of Koheleth, which was to set forth, not so much Israel's position under the covenant, as the condition of man in the face of the God of nature. The idiosyncrasies and peculiar features of the chosen people are not the subject of his essay; he deals with a wider sphere; his theme is man in his relation to Divine providence; and for this power he uses that name, common alike to the true and false religions, Elohim, applied to the Supreme Being by believers and idolaters. 1:12-18 Solomon tried all things, and found them vanity. He found his searches after knowledge weariness, not only to the flesh, but to the mind. The more he saw of the works done under the sun, the more he saw their vanity; and the sight often vexed his spirit. He could neither gain that satisfaction to himself, nor do that good to others, which he expected. Even the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom discovered man's wickedness and misery; so that the more he knew, the more he saw cause to lament and mourn. Let us learn to hate and fear sin, the cause of all this vanity and misery; to value Christ; to seek rest in the knowledge, love, and service of the Saviour.
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