Ecclesiastes 9:4
New International Version
Anyone who is among the living has hope --even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!

New Living Translation
There is hope only for the living. As they say, “It’s better to be a live dog than a dead lion!”

English Standard Version
But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

Berean Study Bible
There is hope, however, for anyone who is among the living; for even a live dog is better than a dead lion.

King James Bible
For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

New King James Version
But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

New American Standard Bible
For whoever is joined to all the living, there is hope; for better a live dog, than a dead lion.

NASB 1995
For whoever is joined with all the living, there is hope; surely a live dog is better than a dead lion.

NASB 1977
For whoever is joined with all the living, there is hope; surely a live dog is better than a dead lion.

Amplified Bible
[There is no exemption,] but whoever is joined with all the living, has hope; surely a live dog is better than a dead lion.

Christian Standard Bible
But there is hope for whoever is joined with all the living, since a live dog is better than a dead lion.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
But there is hope for whoever is joined with all the living, since a live dog is better than a dead lion.

American Standard Version
For to him that is joined with all the living there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Everyone who shall be joined to All Life has trust, because a living dog is better than a dead lion

Brenton Septuagint Translation
for who is he that has fellowship with all the living? there is hope of him: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

Contemporary English Version
As long as we are alive, we still have hope, just as a live dog is better off than a dead lion.

Douay-Rheims Bible
There is no man that liveth always, or that hopeth for this: a living dog is better than a dead lion.

English Revised Version
For to him that is joined with all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

Good News Translation
But anyone who is alive in the world of the living has some hope; a live dog is better off than a dead lion.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
But all who are among the living have hope, because a living dog is better than a dead lion.

International Standard Version
"While someone is among the living, hope remains," because "it is better to be a living dog than to be a dead lion."

JPS Tanakh 1917
For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

Literal Standard Version
But [to] him who is joined to all the living there is confidence, for to a living dog it [is] better than to the dead lion.

NET Bible
But whoever is among the living has hope; a live dog is better than a dead lion.

New Heart English Bible
For to him who is joined with all the living there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

World English Bible
For to him who is joined with all the living there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

Young's Literal Translation
But to him who is joined unto all the living there is confidence, for to a living dog it is better than to the dead lion.

Additional Translations ...
Context
Death Comes to Good and Bad
3This is an evil in everything that is done under the sun: There is one fate for everyone. Furthermore, the hearts of men are full of evil and madness while they are alive, and afterward they join the dead. 4There is hope, however, for anyone who is among the living; for even a live dog is better than a dead lion. 5For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, because the memory of them is forgotten.…

Cross References
Ecclesiastes 9:3
This is an evil in everything that is done under the sun: There is one fate for everyone. Furthermore, the hearts of men are full of evil and madness while they are alive, and afterward they join the dead.

Ecclesiastes 9:5
For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, because the memory of them is forgotten.


Treasury of Scripture

For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

Job 14:7-12
For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease…

Job 27:8
For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?

Isaiah 38:18
For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.









(4) There is a various reading here in the Hebrew. Our translators, following the older translators, adopt the reading of the margin. That of the text gives, instead of "joined," a word signifying "chosen;" the best sense that can be given to which is to translate, "For who is excepted," joining it with the previous verse, beginning this one, "To all the living," &c. With regard to the statement of the following verses, comp. Psalm 6:3 and the marginal references there given. The shepherd's dog is spoken of Job 30:1, and watchdogs Isaiah 56:10. Elsewhere in the Old Testament the dog is an unclean animal living or dead.

Verse 4. - For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope. As long as a man lives (is one of living beings) he has some hope, whatever it be. This feeling is inextinguishable even unto the end.

Ἄελπτον οὐδέν πάντα δ ελπίζειν χρεών

"Hope springs eternal in the human breast." Thus Bailey sings, in 'Festus' -

"All Have hopes, however wretched they may be,
Or blessed. It is hope which lifts the lark so high,
Hope of a lighter air and bluer sky
;

And the poor hack which drops down on the flints,
Upon whose eye the dust is settling, he
Hopes, but to die. No being exists, of hope,
Of love, void."
This clause gives a reason for the folly of men, mentioned in ver. 3. Whatever be their lot, or their way of life, they see no reason to make any change by reformation or active exertion. They go on hoping, and do nothing. Something may turn up; amid the inexplicable confusion of the ordering of events some happy contingency may arrive. The above is the reading according to the Keri. Thus the Septuagint: Ὅτι τίς ὅς κοινωνεῖ; "For who is he that has fellowship with all the living?" Symmachus has, "For who is he that will always continue to live?" while the Vulgate gives, Nemo est qui semper vivat. The Khetib points differently, offering the reading, "For who is excepted?" i.e. from the common lot, the interrogation being closely connected with the preceding verse, or "Who can choose?" i.e. whether he will die or not. The sentence then proceeds, "To all the living there is hope." But the rendering of the Authorized Version has good authority, and affords the better sense. For a living dog is better than a dead lion. The dog in Palestine was not made a pet and companion, as it is among us, but was regarded as a loathsome and despicable object comp. 1 Samuel 17:43; 2 Samuel 3:8); while the lion was considered as the noblest of beasts, the type of power and greatness (comp. Proverbs 30:30; Isaiah 31:4). So the proverbial saying in the text means that the vilest and meanest creature possessed of life is better than the highest and mightiest which has succumbed to death. There is an apparent contradiction between this sentence and such passages as claim a preference for death over life, e.g. Ecclesiastes 4:2; Ecclesiastes 7:1; but in the latter the writer is viewing life with all its sorrows and bitter experiences, here he regards it as affording the possibility of enjoyment. In the one case he holds death as desirable, because it delivers from further sorrow and puts an end to misery; in the other, he deprecates death as cutting off from pleasure and hope. He may also have in mind that now is the time to do the work which we have to perform: "The night cometh when no man can work;" Ecclus. 17:28, "Thanksgiving perisheth from the dead, as from one that is not; the living and sound shall praise the Lord" (comp. Isaiah 38:18, 19.)

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
There is
יֵ֣שׁ (yêš)
Adverb
Strong's 3426: Being, substance, existence, is

hope,
בִּטָּח֑וֹן (biṭ·ṭā·ḥō·wn)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 986: Trust

however,
כִּי־ (kî-)
Conjunction
Strong's 3588: A relative conjunction

for anyone who
מִי֙ (mî)
Interrogative
Strong's 4310: Who?, whoever, in oblique construction with prefix, suffix

is among
יְחֻבַּ֔ר (yə·ḥub·bar)
Verb - Pual - Imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 977: To try, select

the living;
הַחַיִּ֖ים (ha·ḥay·yîm)
Article | Noun - masculine plural
Strong's 2416: Alive, raw, fresh, strong, life

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

a live
חַי֙ (ḥay)
Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's 2416: Alive, raw, fresh, strong, life

dog
לְכֶ֤לֶב (lə·ḵe·leḇ)
Preposition-l | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 3611: A dog, a male prostitute

is better
ט֔וֹב (ṭō·wḇ)
Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's 2896: Pleasant, agreeable, good

than
מִן־ (min-)
Preposition
Strong's 4480: A part of, from, out of

a dead
הַמֵּֽת׃ (ham·mêṯ)
Article | Verb - Qal - Participle - masculine singular
Strong's 4191: To die, to kill

lion.
הָאַרְיֵ֖ה (hā·’ar·yêh)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 738: A lion


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OT Poetry: Ecclesiastes 9:4 For to him who is joined (Ecclesiast. Ec Ecc Eccles.)
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