Ecclesiastes 2:12
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly. For what can the man do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done.

King James Bible
And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done.

American Standard Version
And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been done long ago.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I passed further to behold wisdom, and errors and folly, (What is man, said I, that he can follow the King his maker?)

English Revised Version
And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness and folly; for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done.

Webster's Bible Translation
And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done.

Ecclesiastes 2:12 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

"I undertook great works, built me houses, planted me vineyards. I made me gardens and parks, and planted therein all kinds of fruit-trees. I made me water-pools to water therewith a forest bringing forth trees." The expression, "I made great my works," is like Ecclesiastes 1:16; the verb contains the adj. as its obj. The love of wisdom, a sense of the beautiful in nature and art, a striving after splendour and dignity, are fundamental traits in Solomon's character. His reign was a period of undisturbed and assured peace. The nations far and near stood in manifold friendly relations with him. Solomon was "the man of rest," 1 Chronicles 22:9; his whole appearance was as it were the embodied glory itself that had blossomed from out of the evils and wars of the reign of David. The Israelitish commonwealth hovered on a pinnacle of worldly glory till then unattained, but with the danger of falling and being lost in the world. The whole tendency of the time followed, as it were, a secular course, and it was Solomon first of all whom the danger of the love of the world, and of worldly conformity to which he was exposed, brought to ruin, and who, like so many of the O.T. worthies, began in the spirit and ended in the flesh. Regarding his buildings, - the house of the forest of Lebanon, the pillared hall (porch), the hall of judgment, the palace intended for himself and the daughter of Pharaoh, - vid. the description in 1 Kings 7:1-12, gathered from the annals of the kingdom; 1 Kings 9:15-22 equals 2 Chronicles 8:3-6, gives an account of Solomon's separate buildings (to which also the city of Millo belongs), and of the cities which he built; the temple, store-cities, treasure-cities, etc., are naturally not in view in the passage before us, where it is not so much useful buildings, as rather buildings for pleasure (1 Kings 9:19), that are referred to. Vineyards, according to 1 Chronicles 27:27, belonged to David's royal domain; a vineyard in Baal-hamon which Solomon possessed, but appears at a later period to have given up, is mentioned at the close of the Song. That he was fond of gardening, appears from manifold expressions in the Song; delight in the life and movements of the natural world, and particularly in plants, is a prominent feature in Solomon's character, in which he agrees with Shulamith. The Song; Sol 6:2, represents him in the garden at the palace. We have spoken under the Song; Sol 6:11., of the gardens and parks at Etam, on the south-west of Bethlehem. Regarding the originally Persian word pardēs (plur. pardesim, Mishnic pardesoth), vid., under Sol 4:13; regarding the primary meaning of berēchah (plur. const. berēchoth, in contradistinction to birchoth, blessings), the necessary information is found under Sol 7:5. These Solomonic pools are at the present day to be seen near old Etam, and the clause here denoting a purpose, "to water from them a forest which sprouted trees, i.e., brought forth sprouting trees," is suitable to these; for verbs of flowing and swarming, also verbs of growing, thought of transitively, may be connected with obj. - accus., Ewald, 281b; cf. under Isaiah 5:6. Thus, as he gave himself to the building of houses, the care of gardens, and the erection of pools, so also to the cultivation of forests, with the raising of new trees.

Another means, wisely considered as productive of happiness, was a large household and great flocks of cattle, which he procured for himself.

Ecclesiastes 2:12 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

i turned

Ecclesiastes 1:17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.

Ecclesiastes 7:25 I applied my heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly...

even that which hath already been done

Ecclesiastes 2:25 For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I?

Cross References
Ecclesiastes 1:9
What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:10
Is there a thing of which it is said, "See, this is new"? It has been already in the ages before us.

Ecclesiastes 1:17
And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind.

Ecclesiastes 3:15
That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.

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ESV Text Edition: 2016. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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