Ecclesiastes 11:8
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
However many years anyone may live, let them enjoy them all. But let them remember the days of darkness, for there will be many. Everything to come is meaningless.

New Living Translation
When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember there will be many dark days. Everything still to come is meaningless.

English Standard Version
So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity.

Berean Study Bible
So if a man lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything to come is futile.

New American Standard Bible
Indeed, if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything that is to come will be futility.

King James Bible
But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.

Christian Standard Bible
Indeed, if someone lives many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, since they will be many. All that comes is futile.

Contemporary English Version
Even if you have a very long life, you should try to enjoy each day, because darkness will come and will last a long time. Nothing makes sense.

Good News Translation
Be grateful for every year you live. No matter how long you live, remember that you will be dead much longer. There is nothing at all to look forward to.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Indeed, if a man lives many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, since they will be many. All that comes is futile.

International Standard Version
Even if a person lives many years, let him enjoy them all, recalling that there will be many days of darkness to come—all of which are pointless.

NET Bible
So, if a man lives many years, let him rejoice in them all, but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many--all that is about to come is obscure.

New Heart English Bible
Yes, if a man lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many. All that comes is vanity.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Even though people may live for many years, they should enjoy every one of them. But they should also remember there will be many dark days. Everything that is coming is pointless.

JPS Tanakh 1917
For if a man live many years, Let him rejoice in them all, And remember the days of darkness, For they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.

New American Standard 1977
Indeed, if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many. Everything that is to come will be futility.

Jubilee Bible 2000
but if a man lives many years and rejoices in them all; yet if afterwards he remembers the days of darkness, for they shall be many, he shall say that everything that shall have happened to him is vanity.

King James 2000 Bible
But if a man lives many years, and rejoices in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that comes is vanity.

American King James Version
But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that comes is vanity.

American Standard Version
Yea, if a man live many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.

Douay-Rheims Bible
If a man live many years, and have rejoiced in them all, he must remember the darksome time, and the many days: which when they shall come, the things past shall be accused of vanity.

Darby Bible Translation
but if a man live many years, [and] rejoice in them all, yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many: all that cometh is vanity.

English Revised Version
Yea, if a man live many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.

Webster's Bible Translation
But if a man shall live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.

World English Bible
Yes, if a man lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many. All that comes is vanity.

Young's Literal Translation
But, if man liveth many years, In all of them let him rejoice, And remember the days of darkness, For they are many! all that is coming is vanity.
Study Bible
Enjoy Your Years
7Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun. 8So if a man lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything to come is futile. 9Rejoice, O young man, while you are young, and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and in the sight of your eyes, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment.…
Cross References
Ecclesiastes 9:7
Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a cheerful heart, for God has already approved your works:

Ecclesiastes 11:2
Divide your portion among seven, or even eight, for you do not know what disaster may befall the land.

Ecclesiastes 12:1
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of adversity come, and the years approach of which you will say, "I find no pleasure in them,"

Treasury of Scripture

But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that comes is vanity.

if a man

Ecclesiastes 6:6 Yes, though he live a thousand years twice told, yet has he seen …

Ecclesiastes 8:12 Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, …

rejoice

Ecclesiastes 3:12,13 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and …

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat …

Ecclesiastes 8:15 Then I commended mirth, because a man has no better thing under the …

Ecclesiastes 7:14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: …

Ecclesiastes 12:1-5 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, while the evil …

Deuteronomy 32:29 O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would …

Job 10:22 A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, …

Job 14:10 But man dies, and wastes away: yes, man gives up the ghost, and where is he?

Job 15:23 He wanders abroad for bread, saying, Where is it? he knows that the …

Job 18:18 He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world.

Jeremiah 13:16 Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before …

Joel 2:2 A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick …

Matthew 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take …

John 12:35 Then Jesus said to them, Yet a little while is the light with you. …

Jude 1:18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, …

all that

Ecclesiastes 2:1-11,15,17,19,21-23,26 I said in my heart, Go to now, I will prove you with mirth, therefore …

Ecclesiastes 4:8,16 There is one alone, and there is not a second; yes, he has neither …

Ecclesiastes 5:15,16 As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go …

Ecclesiastes 6:11 Seeing there be many things that increase vanity, what is man the better?







(8) Days of darkness.--Psalm 88:12; Psalm 143:3; Job 10:21. (Comp. also Psalm 56:13; Job 33:30.)

Verse 8. - But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all. The conjunction ki at the commencement of the verse is causal rather than adversative, and should be rendered "for." The insertion of "and" before "rejoice" mars the sentence. The apodosis begins with "rejoice," and the translation is, For if a man live many years, he ought to rejoice in them all. Koheleth has said (ver. 7) that life is sweet and precious; now he adds that it is therefore man's duty to enjoy it; God has ordained that he should do so, whether his days on earth be many or few. Yet let him remember the days of darkness. The apodosis is continued, and the clause should run, And remember, etc. "The days of darkness ' do not mean times of calamity as contrasted with the light of prosperity, as though the writer were bidding one to be mindful of the prospect of disastrous change in the midst of happiness; nor, again, the period of old age distinguished from the glowing light of youth (Virgil, 'AEneid,' L 590, 591). The days of darkness signify the life in Hades, far from the light of the sun, gloomy, uncheered. The thought of this state should not make us hopeless and reckless, like the sensualists whose creed is to "eat and drink, for to-morrow we die" (1 Corinthians 15:82; Wisd. 2:1, etc.), but rouse us to make the best of life, to be contented and cheerful, doing our daily duties with the consciousness that this is our day of labor and joy, and that "the night cometh when no man can work ' (John 9:4). Wisely says Beu-Sira, "Whatsoever thou takest in hand, remember the end, and thou shalt never do amiss" (Ecclus. 7:36). We are reminded of the Egyptian custom, mentioned by Herodotus (2. 78), of carrying a figure of a corpse among the guests at a banquet, not in order to damp pleasure, but to give zest to the enjoyment of the present and to keep it under proper control. "Look on this!" it was cried; "drink, and enjoy thyself; for when thou diest thou shalt he such." The Roman poet has many a passage like this, though, of course, of lower tendency. Thus Horace, 'Carm.,' 2:3 -

"Preserve, O my Dellius, whatever thy fortunes,
A mind undisturbed, 'midst life's changes and ills;
Not cast down by its sorrows, nor too much elated
If sudden good fortune thy cup overfills,"
etc.

(Stanley.) (See also 'Carm.,' 1:4.) For they shall be many; rather, that they shall be many. This is one of the things to remember. The time in Sheol will be long. How to be passed - when, if ever, to end - he says not; he looks forward to a dreary protracted period, when joy shall be unattainable, and therefore he bids men to use the present, which is all they can claim. All that cometh is vanity. All that comes after this life is ended, the great future, is nothingness; shadow, not substance; a state from which is absent all that made life, and over which we have no control. Koheleth had passed the sentence of vanity on all the pursuits of the living man; now he gives the same verdict upon the unknown condition of the departed soul (comp, Ecclesiastes 9:5). Till the gospel had brought life and immortality to light, the view of the future was dark and gloomy. So we read in Job (Job 10:21, 22), "I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and of the shadow of death; a land of thick darkness, as darkness itself; a land of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness." The Vulgate gives quite a different turn to the clause, rendering, Meminisse debet tenebrosi temporis, et dierum multorum; qui cum venerint, vanitatis arguentur praeterita, "He ought to remember... the many days; and when these have come, things passed shall be charged with vanity" - which implies, in accordance with an haggadic interpretation of the passage, that the sinner shall suffer for his transgressions, and shall then learn to acknowledge his folly in the past. It is unnecessary to say that the present text is at variance with this rendering. But if a man live many years,.... Enjoying light and life, and beholding the sun with much delight and pleasure. The days of men on earth, or under the sun, are but few at most; but some live many days, in comparison of others; they come to a good old age, as Abraham did; and to their graves like a shock of corn fully ripe; and arrive to, or beyond, the common term of human life;

and rejoice in them all; in and throughout the many years he lives, even all his days; that is, is blessed with a plentiful portion of the good things of life, and enjoys them in a free and comfortable manner, with moderation and thankfulness; partakes of the good of his labour, and rejoices in his works, in the fruit and effects of them, through the blessing of divine Providence; not only is blessed with many days, but those days good ones, days of prosperity: such a man is in a happy case; and especially if he is possessed of spiritual joy, of joy in the Holy Ghost; if he rejoices in Christ, and in what he is to him, and has done for him; and having professed him, and submitted to his ordinances, goes on his way, rejoicing. Some render it, "let him rejoice in them all" (w); a good man has reason to rejoice always, throughout the whole course of his life; because of the goodness of divine Providence to him; because of the blessings of grace bestowed on him; and because of his good hope of eternal glory and happiness. The Targum is,

"in all these it becomes him to rejoice, and to study in the law of the Lord;''

yet let him remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many; or, "they may be" (x); meaning either, that though persons may live long, and enjoy much health and prosperity; yet, in the midst of all, they should consider, that it is possible that days of adversity and distress may come upon them, and continue; and therefore should not please themselves, as Job did, that they shall die in their nest in the height their prosperity, since they know not what days of evil may come, and how long they will last; or, however, they should remember the night of death, that is hastening, the land of darkness, and the shadow of death, they are going to; the dark grave, they will soon be laid in, where they will remain many days; many more than those in which they have lived, enjoying the light of the sun, even till the heavens shall be no more; though these days will not be infinite, they will have an end, and there will be a resurrection from the dead: and particularly if a man is a wicked man, that has lived a long and prosperous life, he should not only remember the above things; but also that outer darkness, that blackness of darkness reserved for him, the darkness of eternal death, which will be his portion for evermore. The Targum is,

"he shall remember the days of the darkness of death, and shall not sin; for many are the days that he shall lie dead in the house of the grave.''

All that cometh is vanity; Aben Ezra interprets this of every man that comes into the world, as in Ecclesiastes 1:2; whether high or low, rich or poor, in prosperity or adversity; man, at his best estate, is vanity: let a man therefore be in what circumstances he will, he should not take up his rest here; all that comes to him, everything that befalls him, is vanity. The wise man keeps in view the main thing he proposed, to prove that is vanity, all in this life; for what is to come hereafter, in a future state of happiness, cannot come under this name and character.

(w) "in eis omnibus laetetur", Junius & Tremellius, Mercerus, Cocceius, Gejerus. (x) "quia multi sint", Amama, so some in Drusius; "quod multi futuri sint", Piscator, Gejerus, Rambachius. 8. But while man thankfully enjoys life, "let him remember" it will not last for ever. The "many days of darkness," that is, the unseen world (Job 10:21, 22; Ps 88:12), also days of "evil" in this world (Ec 11:2), are coming; therefore sow the good seed while life and good days last, which are not too long for accomplishing life's duties.

All that cometh—that is, All that followeth in the evil and dark days is vain, as far as work for God is concerned (Ec 9:10).11:7-10 Life is sweet to bad men, because they have their portion in this life; it is sweet to good men, because it is the time of preparation for a better; it is sweet to all. Here is a caution to think of death, even when life is most sweet. Solomon makes an effecting address to young persons. They would desire opportunity to pursue every pleasure. Then follow your desires, but be assured that God will call you into judgment. How many give loose to every appetite, and rush into every vicious pleasure! But God registers every one of their sinful thoughts and desires, their idle words and wicked words. If they would avoid remorse and terror, if they would have hope and comfort on a dying bed, if they would escape misery here and hereafter, let them remember the vanity of youthful pleasures. That Solomon means to condemn the pleasures of sin is evident. His object is to draw the young to purer and more lasting joys. This is not the language of one grudging youthful pleasures, because he can no longer partake of them; but of one who has, by a miracle of mercy, been brought back in safety. He would persuade the young from trying a course whence so few return. If the young would live a life of true happiness, if they would secure happiness hereafter, let them remember their Creator in the days of their youth.
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