Ecclesiastes 4:6
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.

New Living Translation
And yet, "Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind."

English Standard Version
Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.

Berean Study Bible
Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and pursuit of the wind.

New American Standard Bible
One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.

King James Bible
Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.

Christian Standard Bible
Better one handful with rest than two handfuls with effort and a pursuit of the wind.

Contemporary English Version
Yet a very little food eaten in peace is better than twice as much earned from overwork and chasing the wind.

Good News Translation
Maybe so, but it is better to have only a little, with peace of mind, than be busy all the time with both hands, trying to catch the wind.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Better one handful with rest than two handfuls with effort and a pursuit of the wind.

International Standard Version
It's better to have one handful of tranquility than to have two handfuls of trouble and to chase after the wind.

NET Bible
Better is one handful with some rest than two hands full of toil and chasing the wind.

New Heart English Bible
Better is a handful, with quietness, than two handfuls with labor and chasing after wind.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
One handful of peace and quiet is better than two handfuls of hard work and of trying to catch the wind.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Better is a handful of quietness, Than both the hands full of labour and striving after wind.

New American Standard 1977
One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Better is a handful with rest than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.

King James 2000 Bible
Better is a handful with quietness, than both hands full with toil and grasping for the wind.

American King James Version
Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.

American Standard Version
Better is a handful, with quietness, than two handfuls with labor and striving after wind.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Better is a handful with rest, than both hands full with labour, and vexation of mind.

Darby Bible Translation
Better is a handful with quietness, than both hands full with labour and pursuit of the wind.

English Revised Version
Better is an handful with quietness, than two handfuls with labour and striving after wind.

Webster's Bible Translation
Better is a handful with quietness, than both the hands full with toil and vexation of spirit.

World English Bible
Better is a handful, with quietness, than two handfuls with labor and chasing after wind.

Young's Literal Translation
Better is a handful with quietness, than two handfuls with labour and vexation of spirit.'
Study Bible
The Evil of Oppression
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. 7Again, I saw futility under the sun.…
Cross References
Proverbs 15:16
Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure with turmoil.

Proverbs 15:17
Better a dish of vegetables where there is love than a fattened ox with hatred.

Proverbs 16:8
Better a little with righteousness than great gain with injustice.

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 4:7
Again, I saw futility under the sun.

Treasury of Scripture

Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.

Psalm 37:16 A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked.

Proverbs 15:16,17 Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and …

Proverbs 16:8 Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.

Proverbs 17:1 Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full …







Verse 6. - Better is a handful with quietness; literally, better a hand full of rest. Than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit; literally, than two hands full of travail, etc. This verse, which has been variously interpreted, is most simply regarded as the fool's defense of his indolence, either expressed in his own words or fortified by a proverbial saying. One open hand full of quietness and rest is preferable to two closed hands full of toil and vain effort. The verse must not be taken as the writer's warning against sloth, which would be out of place here, but as enunciating a maxim against discontent and that restless activity which is never satisfied with moderate returns. Better is a handful with quietness,.... These are the words of the fool, according to Aben Ezra; and which is the sense of other interpreters, particularly Mr. Broughton, who connects this verse with Ecclesiastes 4:5 by adding at the end of that the word "saying"; making an excuse or an apology for himself and conduct, from the use and profitableness of his sloth; that little had with ease, and without toil and labour, is much better

than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit; than large possessions gotten with a great deal of trouble, and enjoyed with much vexation and uneasiness; in which he mistakes slothful ease for true quietness; calls honest labour and industry travail and vexation; and supposes that true contentment lies in the enjoyment of little, and cannot be had where there is much; whereas it is to be found in a good man in every state: or else these words express the true sentiments of Solomon's mind, steering between the two extremes of slothfulness, and too toilsome labour to be rich; that it is much more eligible to have a competency, though it is but small, with a good conscience, with tranquillity of mind, with the love and fear of God, and a contented heart, than to have a large estate, with great trouble and fatigue in getting and keeping it, especially with discontent and uneasiness; and this agrees with what the wise man says elsewhere, Proverbs 15:16. The Targum is,

"better to a man is a handful of food with quietness of soul, and without robbery and rapine, than two handfuls of food with robbery and rapine;''

or with what is gotten in an ill way. 6. Hebrew; "One open hand (palm) full of quietness, than both closed hands full of travail." "Quietness" (mental tranquillity flowing from honest labor), opposed to "eating one's own flesh" (Ec 4:5), also opposed to anxious labor to gain (Ec 4:8; Pr 15:16, 17; 16:8).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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