Ecclesiastes 4:16
New International Version
There was no end to all the people who were before them. But those who came later were not pleased with the successor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

New Living Translation
Endless crowds stand around him, but then another generation grows up and rejects him, too. So it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind.

English Standard Version
There was no end of all the people, all of whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Berean Study Bible
There is no limit to all the people who were before them. Yet the successor will not be celebrated by those who come even later. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.

King James Bible
There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

New King James Version
There was no end of all the people over whom he was made king; Yet those who come afterward will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

New American Standard Bible
There is no end to all the people, to all who were before them. Even the ones who will come later will not be happy with him; for this too is futility and striving after wind.

NASB 1995
There is no end to all the people, to all who were before them, and even the ones who will come later will not be happy with him, for this too is vanity and striving after wind.

NASB 1977
There is no end to all the people, to all who were before them, and even the ones who will come later will not be happy with him, for this too is vanity and striving after wind.

Amplified Bible
There is no end to all the people; to all who were before them. Yet those who come later will not be happy with him. Surely this also is vanity (emptiness) and chasing after the wind.

Christian Standard Bible
There is no limit to all the people who were before them, yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
There is no limit to all the people who were before them, yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.

American Standard Version
There was no end of all the people, even of all them over whom he was: yet they that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And there is no end to all the people, all who have been before him, neither will the latter ones rejoice in him, because even this is futility and agitation of spirit

Brenton Septuagint Translation
There is no end to all the people, to all who were before them: and the last shall not rejoice in him: for this also is vanity and waywardness of spirit.

Contemporary English Version
His followers could not even be counted. But years from now, no one will praise him--this makes no more sense than chasing the wind.

Douay-Rheims Bible
The number of the people, of all that were before him is infinite: and they that shall come afterwards, shall not rejoice in him: but this also is vanity, and vexation of spirit.

English Revised Version
There was no end of all the people, even of all them over whom he was: yet they that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Good News Translation
There may be no limit to the number of people a king rules; when he is gone, no one will be grateful for what he has done. It is useless. It is like chasing the wind.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
There was no end to all those people, everyone whom he led.?kings[."> But those who will come later will not be happy with the successor. Even this is pointless.]It's like[ trying to catch the wind.]

International Standard Version
There was no end to all of his subjects or to all of the people who had come before them. But those who come along afterward will not be happy with him. This is also pointless and a chasing after wind.

JPS Tanakh 1917
There was no end of all the people, even of all them whom he did lead; yet they that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Literal Standard Version
there is no end to all the people, to all who were before them; also, the latter do not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and distress of spirit.

NET Bible
There is no end to all the people nor to the past generations, yet future generations will not rejoice in him. This also is profitless and like chasing the wind.

New Heart English Bible
There was no end of all the people, even of all them over whom he was--yet those who come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a chasing after wind.

World English Bible
There was no end of all the people, even of all them over whom he was--yet those who come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a chasing after wind.

Young's Literal Translation
there is no end to all the people, to all who were before them; also, the latter rejoice not in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

Additional Translations ...
Context
The Futility of Power
15I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed this second one, the youth who succeeded the king. 16There is no limit to all the people who were before them. Yet the successor will not be celebrated by those who come even later. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.

Cross References
Ecclesiastes 1:14
I have seen all the things that are done under the sun, and have found them all to be futile, a pursuit of the wind.

Ecclesiastes 4:15
I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed this second one, the youth who succeeded the king.


Treasury of Scripture

There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

no end

2 Samuel 15:12,13
And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counseller, from his city, even from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom…

1 Kings 1:5-7,40
Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him…

1 Kings 12:10-16
And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins…

they also

Judges 9:19,20
If ye then have dealt truly and sincerely with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice ye in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you: …

2 Samuel 18:7,8
Where the people of Israel were slain before the servants of David, and there was there a great slaughter that day of twenty thousand men

2 Samuel 19:9
And all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, The king saved us out of the hand of our enemies, and he delivered us out of the hand of the Philistines; and now he is fled out of the land for Absalom.

this

Ecclesiastes 1:14
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

Ecclesiastes 2:11,17,26
Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun…









Verse 16. - There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them. The paragraph plainly is carrying on the description of the popular enthusiasm for the new favorite. The Authorized Version completely obscures this meaning. It is better to translate, Numberless were the people, all, at whose head he stood. Koheleth places himself in the position of a spectator, and marks how numerous are the adherents who flock around the youthful aspirant. "Nullus finis omni populo, omnibus, quibus praefuit" (Gesenius, Rosenmüller, Volck). Yet his popularity was not lasting and his influence was not permanent. They also that come after shall not rejoice in him. In spite of his cleverness, and notwithstanding the favor with which he is now regarded, those of a later generation shall flout his pretensions and forget his benefits. If we still continue the allusion to Joseph, we may see here in this last clause a reference to the change that supervened when another king arose who knew him not (Exodus 1:8), and who, oblivious of the services of this great benefactor, heavily oppressed the Israelites. This experience leads to the same result; it is all vanity and vexation of spirit.





Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
There is no
אֵֽין־ (’ên-)
Adverb
Strong's 369: A non-entity, a negative particle

limit
קֵ֣ץ (qêṣ)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 7093: An extremity, after

to all
לְכָל־ (lə·ḵāl)
Preposition-l | Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's 3605: The whole, all, any, every

the people
הָעָ֗ם (hā·‘ām)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 5971: A people, a tribe, troops, attendants, a flock

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

were
הָיָה֙ (hā·yāh)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 1961: To fall out, come to pass, become, be

before them,
לִפְנֵיהֶ֔ם (lip̄·nê·hem)
Preposition-l | Noun - masculine plural construct | third person masculine plural
Strong's 6440: The face

yet
גַּ֥ם (gam)
Conjunction
Strong's 1571: Assemblage, also, even, yea, though, both, and

those who come later
הָאַחֲרוֹנִ֖ים (hā·’a·ḥă·rō·w·nîm)
Article | Adjective - masculine plural
Strong's 314: Hinder, late, last, western

will not
לֹ֣א (lō)
Adverb - Negative particle
Strong's 3808: Not, no

rejoice
יִשְׂמְחוּ־ (yiś·mə·ḥū-)
Verb - Qal - Imperfect - third person masculine plural
Strong's 8055: To brighten up, be, blithe, gleesome

in [the successor].
ב֑וֹ (ḇōw)
Preposition | third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew

This
זֶ֥ה (zeh)
Pronoun - masculine singular
Strong's 2088: This, that

too
כִּֽי־ (kî-)
Conjunction
Strong's 3588: A relative conjunction

is futile
הֶ֖בֶל (he·ḇel)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 1892: Emptiness, vanity, transitory, unsatisfactory

and a pursuit
וְרַעְי֥וֹן (wə·ra‘·yō·wn)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's 7475: Longing, striving

of the wind.
רֽוּחַ׃ (rū·aḥ)
Noun - common singular
Strong's 7307: Wind, breath, exhalation, life, anger, unsubstantiality, a region of the sky, spirit


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OT Poetry: Ecclesiastes 4:16 There was no end of all (Ecclesiast. Ec Ecc Eccles.)
Ecclesiastes 4:15
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