Ecclesiastes 4:5
New International Version
Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves.

New Living Translation
"Fools fold their idle hands, leading them to ruin."

English Standard Version
The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh.

Berean Study Bible
The fool folds his hands and consumes his own flesh.

New American Standard Bible
The fool folds his hands and consumes his own flesh.

King James Bible
The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.

Christian Standard Bible
The fool folds his arms and consumes his own flesh.

Contemporary English Version
Fools will fold their hands and starve to death.

Good News Translation
They say that we would be fools to fold our hands and let ourselves starve to death.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The fool folds his arms and consumes his own flesh.

International Standard Version
The fool crosses his arms and starves himself.

NET Bible
The fool folds his hands and does no work, so he has nothing to eat but his own flesh.

New Heart English Bible
The fool folds his hands together and ruins himself.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
A fool folds his hands and wastes away.

JPS Tanakh 1917
The fool foldeth his hands together, And eateth his own flesh.

New American Standard 1977
The fool folds his hands and consumes his own flesh.

Jubilee Bible 2000
The fool folds his hands together and eats his own flesh.

King James 2000 Bible
The fool folds his hands together, and eats his own flesh.

American King James Version
The fool folds his hands together, and eats his own flesh.

American Standard Version
The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.

Brenton Septuagint Translation
The fool folds his hands together, and eats his own flesh.

Douay-Rheims Bible
The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh, saying:

Darby Bible Translation
The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.

English Revised Version
The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.

Webster's Bible Translation
The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.

World English Bible
The fool folds his hands together and ruins himself.

Young's Literal Translation
The fool is clasping his hands, and eating his own flesh:
Study Bible
The Evil of Oppression
4I saw that all labor and success spring from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind. 5The fool folds his hands and consumes his own flesh. 6Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and pursuit of the wind.…
Cross References
Proverbs 6:10
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest,

Proverbs 24:33
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest,

Ecclesiastes 10:12
The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious, but the lips of a fool consume him.

Isaiah 9:20
They carve out what is on the right, but they are still hungry; they have eaten what is on the left, but they are still not satisfied. Each one devours the flesh of his own arm.

Treasury of Scripture

The fool folds his hands together, and eats his own flesh.

fool

Proverbs 6:10,11
Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: …

Proverbs 12:27
The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.

Proverbs 13:4
The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

eateth that is with envy

Job 13:14
Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand?

Proverbs 11:17
The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.

Isaiah 9:20
And he shall snatch on the right hand, and be hungry; and he shall eat on the left hand, and they shall not be satisfied: they shall eat every man the flesh of his own arm:







Lexicon
The fool
הַכְּסִיל֙ (hak·kə·sîl)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3684: Stupid fellow, dullard, fool

folds
חֹבֵ֣ק (ḥō·ḇêq)
Verb - Qal - Participle - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2263: To clasp, embrace

his hands
יָדָ֔יו (yā·ḏāw)
Noun - fdc | third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3027: A hand

and consumes
וְאֹכֵ֖ל (wə·’ō·ḵêl)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Participle - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 398: To eat

his own flesh.
בְּשָׂרֽוֹ׃ (bə·śā·rōw)
Noun - masculine singular construct | third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1320: Flesh, body, person, the pudenda of a, man
(5) Eateth his own flesh.--Interpreters have usually taken these words metaphorically, as in Psalm 27:2; Isaiah 49:26; Micah 3:3, and understood them as a condemnation of the sluggard's conduct as suicidal. But it has been proposed, taking the verse in connection with that which precedes and those which follow, to understand them literally, "eats his meat;" the sense being that, considering the emulation and envy involved in all successful exertion, one is tempted to say that the sluggard does better who eats his meat in quiet. There is, however, no exact parallel to the phrase "eats his flesh;" and I think that if the latter were the meaning intended, it would have been formally introduced in some such way as, "Wherefore I praised the sluggard." Adopting, then, the ancient interpretation, we understand the course of conduct recommended to be the golden mean between the ruinous sloth of the fool and the vexatious toil of the ambitious man.

Verse 5. - The connection of this verse with the preceding is this: activity, diligence, and skill indeed bring success, but success is accompanied by sad results. Should we, then, sink into apathy, relinquish work, let things slide? Nay, none but the fool (kesil), the insensate, half-brutish man, doth this. The fool foldeth his hands together. The attitude expresses laziness and disinclination for active labor, like that of the sluggard in Proverbs 6:10. And eateth his own flesh. Ginsburg, Plumptre, and others take these words to mean "and yet eats his meat," i.e. gets that enjoyment from his sluggishness which is denied to active diligence. They refer, in proof of this interpretation, to Exodus 16:8; Exodus 21:28; Isaiah 22:13; Ezekiel 39:17, in which passages, however, the phrase is never equivalent to "eating his food." The expression is really equivalent to "destroys himself," "brings ruin upon himself." Thus we have in Psalm 27:2, "Evildoers came upon me to eat up my flesh;" and in Micah 3:3, "Who eat the flesh of my people" (comp. Isaiah 49:26). The sluggard is guilty of moral suicide; he takes no trouble to provide for his necessities, and suffers extremities in consequence. Some see in this verse and the following an objection and its answer. There is no occasion for this view, and it is not in keeping with the context; but it contains an intimation of the true exposition, which makes ver. 6 a proverbial statement of the sluggard's position. The verbs in the text are participial in form, so that the Vulgate rendering, which supplies a verb, is quite admissible: Stultus complicat manna suas, et comedit carnes suas, dicens: Melior est, etc. 4:4-6 Solomon notices the sources of trouble peculiar to well-doers, and includes all who labour with diligence, and whose efforts are crowned with success. They often become great and prosperous, but this excites envy and opposition. Others, seeing the vexations of an active course, foolishly expect more satisfaction in sloth and idleness. But idleness is a sin that is its own punishment. Let us by honest industry lay hold on the handful, that we may not want necessaries, but not grasp at both hands full, which would only create vexation of spirit. Moderate pains and gains do best.
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