Ecclesiastes 3:12
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.

New Living Translation
So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.

English Standard Version
I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;

Berean Study Bible
I know that there is nothing better for men than to rejoice and do good while they live,

New American Standard Bible
I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime;

King James Bible
I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.

Christian Standard Bible
I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and enjoy the good life.

Contemporary English Version
I know the best thing we can do is to always enjoy life,

Good News Translation
So I realized that all we can do is be happy and do the best we can while we are still alive.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and enjoy the good life.

International Standard Version
I have concluded that the only worthwhile thing for them is to take pleasure in doing good in life;

NET Bible
I have concluded that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to enjoy themselves as long as they live,

New Heart English Bible
I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice, and to do good as long as they live.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I realize that there's nothing better for them to do than to be cheerful and enjoy what is good in their lives.

JPS Tanakh 1917
I know that there is nothing better for them, than to rejoice, and to get pleasure so long as they live.

New American Standard 1977
I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime;

Jubilee Bible 2000
I have learned that there is nothing better for them, but to rejoice and to do good in his life.

King James 2000 Bible
I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.

American King James Version
I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.

American Standard Version
I know that there is nothing better for them, than to rejoice, and to do good so long as they live.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And I have known that there was no better thing than to rejoice, and to do well in this life.

Darby Bible Translation
I know that there is nothing good for them but to rejoice and to do well in their life;

English Revised Version
I know that there is nothing better for them, than to rejoice, and to do good so long as they live.

Webster's Bible Translation
I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.

World English Bible
I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice, and to do good as long as they live.

Young's Literal Translation
I have known that there is no good for them except to rejoice and to do good during their life,
Study Bible
God's Works Remain Forever
11He 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. 12I know that there is nothing better for men than to rejoice and do good while they live, 13and also that every man should eat and drink and find satisfaction in all his labor—this is the gift of God.…
Cross References
Deuteronomy 12:7
There, in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your households shall eat and rejoice in all you do, because the LORD your God has blessed you.

Deuteronomy 12:18
Instead, you must eat them in the presence of the LORD your God at the place the LORD your God will choose--you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levite within your gates. Rejoice before the LORD your God in all you do,

Deuteronomy 26:11
So you shall rejoice--you, the Levite, and the foreigner dwelling among you--in all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household.

Ecclesiastes 2:3
My mind, all the while guiding me with wisdom, sought to cheer my body with wine and embrace folly, until I could see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives.

Ecclesiastes 2:24
Nothing is better for man than to eat and drink and enjoy his work. I have also seen that this is from the hand of God.

Ecclesiastes 8:15
So I commended the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be merry. For this joy will accompany him in his labor during the days of his life that God gives him under the sun.

Treasury of Scripture

I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.

but

Ecclesiastes 3:22 Why I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should …

Ecclesiastes 9:7-9 Go your way, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a …

Deuteronomy 28:63 And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to …

Psalm 37:3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and …

Isaiah 64:5 You meet him that rejoices and works righteousness, those that remember …

Luke 11:41 But rather give alms of such things as you have; and, behold, all …

Acts 20:35 I have showed you all things, how that so laboring you ought to support …

Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice…

1 Thessalonians 5:15,16 See that none render evil for evil to any man; but ever follow that …

1 Timothy 6:18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, …







(12) I know.--Literally, I knew: i.e., I came to know. The writer is relating the conclusions at which he successively arrived.

To do good.--This phrase is always used elsewhere in a moral sense: "to act rightly." When enjoyment is meant, the phrase used is, as in the next verse, "to see good;" but the context seems to require that this sense should be given to the phrase in this verse also.

Verse 12. - I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice; rather, I knew, perceived, that there was no good for them; i.e. for men. From the facts adduced, Koheleth learned this practical result - that man had nothing in his own power (see on Ecclesiastes 2:24) which would conduce to his happiness, but to make the best of life such as he finds it. Vulgate, Cognovi quod non esset melius nisi laetari. To do good in his life; Τοῦ ποιεῖν ἀγαθόν; (Septuagint); Facere bene (Vulgate). This has been taken by many in the sense of "doing one's self good, prospering, enjoying one's self." like the Greek εϋ πράττειν, and therefore nearly equivalent to "rejoice" in the former part of the verse. But the expression is best taken here, as when it occurs elsewhere (e.g. Ecclesiastes 7:20), in a moral sense, and it thus teaches the great truth that virtue is essential to happiness, that to "trust in the Lord... to depart from evil, and to do good" (Psalm 36:3, 27), will bring peace and content (see in the epilogue, Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14). There is no Epicureanism in this verse; the enjoyment spoken of is not licentiousness, but a happy appreciation of the innocent pleasures which the love of God offers to those who live in accordance with the laws of their higher nature. I know that there is no good in them,.... In these things; as the Arabic version; in the creatures, as Jarchi; in all sublunary enjoyments; in everything the wise man had made a trial of before, as natural Wisdom and knowledge, worldly pleasure, riches, and wealth; the "summun bonum", or happiness of men, did not lie in these things; this he knew by experience, and had the strongest assurance of it: or in them, that is, the children of men, as the Targum: there is no real good thing in them, nor comes out of them, nor is done by them; they cannot think a good thought, nor do a good action, of themselves. Or rather the sense is, I know there is nothing better for them than what follows:

but for a man to rejoice; not in sin and sinful pleasures, in a riotous, voluptuous, and epicurean manner; but to be cheerful, and enjoy the blessings of life in a comfortable way, and with a thankful heart; and especially to rejoice in spiritual things, and above all in Christ; and not in any self-boastings or carnal confidences, all such rejoicing is evil; see Ecclesiastes 9:7. The Targum is,

"but that they rejoice in the joy of the law;''

but it is much better to rejoice in the things of the Gospel, which is indeed a joyful sound;

and to do good in his life: to himself and family, by making use of the good things of life, and not withholding and hoarding them up; and to others, to all men, as opportunity offers, and especially to the household of faith; and not only by liberality and alms deeds, but by doing all good works, from right principles and to right ends, and that always, as long as he lives, Galatians 6:9. 12. in them—in God's works (Ec 3:11), as far as relates to man's duty. Man cannot fully comprehend them, but he ought joyfully to receive ("rejoice in") God's gifts, and "do good" with them to himself and to others. This is never out of season (Ga 6:9, 10). Not sensual joy and self-indulgence (Php 4:4; Jas 4:16, 17).3:11-15 Every thing is as God made it; not as it appears to us. We have the world so much in our hearts, are so taken up with thoughts and cares of worldly things, that we have neither time nor spirit to see God's hand in them. The world has not only gained possession of the heart, but has formed thoughts against the beauty of God's works. We mistake if we think we were born for ourselves; no, it is our business to do good in this life, which is short and uncertain; we have but little time to be doing good, therefore we should redeem time. Satisfaction with Divine Providence, is having faith that all things work together for good to them that love him. God doeth all, that men should fear before him. The world, as it has been, is, and will be. There has no change befallen us, nor has any temptation by it taken us, but such as is common to men.
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OT Poetry: Ecclesiastes 3:12 I know that there is nothing better (Ecclesiast. Ec Ecc Eccles.) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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