Ecclesiastes 11:5
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

King James Bible
As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.

American Standard Version
As thou knowest not what is the way of the wind, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child; even so thou knowest not the work of God who doeth all.

Douay-Rheims Bible
As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones are joined together in the womb of her that is with child: so thou knowest not the works of God, who is the maker of all.

English Revised Version
As thou knowest not what is the way of the wind, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child; even so thou knowest not the work of God who doeth all.

Webster's Bible Translation
As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor the structure of the parts of conception in her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.

Ecclesiastes 11:5 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

"Meals they make into a pleasure, and wine cheereth the life, and money maketh everything serviceable." By עשׂים, wicked princes are without doubt thought of-but not immediately, since Ecclesiastes 10:16 is too remote to give the subject to Ecclesiastes 10:19. The subject which 'osim bears in itself ( equals 'osim hēm) might be syntactically definite, as e.g., Psalm 33:5, אהב, He, Jahve, loves, thus: those princes, or, from Ecclesiastes 10:18 : such slothful men; but 'osim is better rendered, like e.g., omrim, Exodus 5:16 (Ewald, 200a), and as in the Mishna we read קורין and the like with gramm. indefin. subj.: they make, but so that by it the slothful just designated, and those of a princely rank are meant (cf. a similar use of the inf. abs., as here of the part. in the historical style, Isaiah 22:13). Ginsburg's rendering is altogether at fault: "They turn bread and wine which cheereth life into revelry." If עשׁה and לחם as its object stand together, the meaning is, "to prepare a feast," Ezekiel 4:15; cf. 'avad lehēm, Daniel 5:1. Here, as there, 'osim lěhěm signifies coenam faciunt (parant). The ל of לשׂ is not the sign of the factitive obj. (as leēl, Isaiah 44:17), and thus not, as Hitz. supposes, the conditioning ל with which adv. conceptions are formed, - e.g., Lamentations 4:5, האך למע, where Jerome rightly translates, voluptuose (vid., E. Gerlach, l.c.), - but, which is most natural and is very appropriate, it is the ל of the aim or purpose: non ad debitam corporis refectionem, sed ad hera ludicra et stulta gaudia (Geier). שׂחוק is laughter, as that to which he utters the sentence (Ecclesiastes 2:2): Thou art mad. It is incorrect, moreover, to take lěhěm veyaim together, and to render yesammahh hayaim as an attribut. clause to yain: this epitheton ornans of wine would here be a most unsuitable weakening of the figure intended. It is only an apparent reason for this, that what Psalm 104:15 says in praise of wine the author cannot here turn into a denunciatory reproach. Wine is certainly fitted to make glad the heart of a man; but here the subject of discourse is duty-forgetting idlers, to whom chiefly wine must be brought (Isaiah 5:12) to cheer their life (this sluggard-life spent in feasting and revelry). The fut. ישׂמּח is meant in the same modal sense as יגבּר, Ecclesiastes 10:10: wine must accomplish that for them. And they can feast and drink, for they have money, and money ־הכּל... יע. Luther hits the meaning: "Money must procure everything for them;" but the clause is too general; and better thus, after Jerome, the Zrich Bible: "unto money are all things obedient." The old Jewish interpreters compare Hosea 2:23., where ענה, with accus. petentis, signifies, "to answer a request, to gratify a desire." But in the passage before us הכּל is not the obj. accus. of petentis, but petiti; for 'anah is connected with the accus. of that to which one answers as well as of that which one answers, e.g., Job 40:2, cf. Ecclesiastes 9:3. It is unnecessary, with Hitzig, to interpret יענה as Hiph.: Money makes all to hear (him who has the money), - makes it that nothing is refused to his wish. It is the Kal: Money answers to every demand, hears every wish, grants whatever one longs for, helps to all; as Menander says: "Silver and gold, - these are, according to my opinion, the most useful gods; if these have a place in the house, wish what thou wilt (εὖξαι τί βούλει), all will be thine;" and Horace, Epod. i. 6. 36 s.:

"Scilicet uxorem cum dote fidemque et amicos

Et genus et formam regina pecunia donat."

The author has now described the king who is a misfortune and him who is a blessing to the land, and princes as they ought to be and as they ought not to be, but particularly luxurious idle courtiers; there is now a warning given which has for its motive not only prudence, but also, according to Ecclesiastes 8:2, religiousness.

Ecclesiastes 11:5 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

thou knowest not what

John 3:8 The wind blows where it wants, and you hear the sound thereof, but can not tell from where it comes, and where it goes...

nor

Psalm 139:14,15 I will praise you; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are your works; and that my soul knows right well...

even

Ecclesiastes 7:24 That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out?

Ecclesiastes 8:17 Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun...

Job 5:9 Which does great things and unsearchable; marvelous things without number:

Job 26:5-14 Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof...

Job 36:24-33 Remember that you magnify his work, which men behold...

Job 37:23 Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice...

Job 38:4 Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if you have understanding.

Job 39:1-41:34 Know you the time when the wild goats of the rock bring forth? or can you mark when the hinds do calve...

Psalm 40:5 Many, O LORD my God, are your wonderful works which you have done, and your thoughts which are to us-ward...

Psalm 92:5 O LORD, how great are your works! and your thoughts are very deep.

Psalm 104:24 O LORD, how manifold are your works! in wisdom have you made them all: the earth is full of your riches.

Isaiah 40:28 Have you not known? have you not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not...

Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

Cross References
John 3:8
The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."

Psalm 139:13
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.

Psalm 139:15
My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Psalm 139:16
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Ecclesiastes 1:6
The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns.

Ecclesiastes 1:13
And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with.

Ecclesiastes 3:10
I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with.

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