Ecclesiastes 2:14
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them.

King James Bible
The wise man's eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.

American Standard Version
The wise man's eyes are in his head, and the fool walketh in darkness: and yet I perceived that one event happeneth to them all.

Douay-Rheims Bible
The eyes of a wise man are in his head: the fool walketh in darkness: and I learned that they were to die both alike.

English Revised Version
The wise man's eyes are in his head, and the fool walketh in darkness: and yet I perceived that one event happeneth to them all.

Webster's Bible Translation
The wise man's eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.

Ecclesiastes 2:14 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

"I heaped up for myself also silver and gold, and the peculiar property of kings and of countries; I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the children of men: mistress and mistresses." The verb כּנשׁ כּנס, συνάγειν, is common to all Semitic dialects (also the to Assyr.), and especially peculiar to the more recent Heb., which forms from it the name of the religious community συναγωγή, כּנסת; it is used here of that which is brought together merely for the purpose of possession. Segūllah (from sagal, Targ., to make oneself possess), properly possession, and that something which specially and peculiarly belongs to one as his property; the word is here meant collect., as at 1 Chronicles 29:3 : that which only kings and individual countries possess. The interchange of melachim, which is without the article, with the determ. hammedinoth, is arbitrary: something special, such as that which a king possesses, the specialities which countries possess, - one country this, and another that. The hammedinoth are certainly not exclusively the regions embraced within the dominion of Solomon (Zckl.), as, according to Esther 1:1, the Persian kingdom was divided into 127 medinoth. Solomon had a fleet which went to Ophir, was in a friendly relation with the royal house of Tyre, the metropolis of many colonies, and ruled over a widely-extended kingdom, bound by commerce with Central Asia and Africa. - His desires had thus ample opportunity to stretch beyond the limits of his own kingdom, and facilities enough for procuring the peculiar natural and artistic productions which other lands could boast of. Medinah is, first of all, a country, not as a territory, but as under one government (cf. Ecclesiastes 5:7); in the later philosophical language it is the Heb. word for the Greek πολιτεία; in the passage before us, medinoth is, however, not different from ארצות.

From the singing men and singing women who come into view here, not as appertaining to the temple service (vid., the Targ.), with which no singing women were connected, but as connected with the festivities of the court (2 Samuel 19:36; cf. Isaiah 5:12), advance is made to shiddah veshiddoth; and since these are designated by the preceding ותענגות (not ותענגּות) bene hāādam, especially as objects and means of earthly pleasure, and since, according to Hebrews 2:7, sexual love is the fairest and the most pleasant, in a word, the most attractive of all earthly delights (Solomon's luxus, also here contradicting the law of the king, Deuteronomy 17:17, came to a height, according to 1 Kings 11:3, after the example of Oriental rulers, in a harem of not fewer than one thousand women, princesses and concubines), of necessity, the expression shiddah veshiddoth must denote a multitude of women whom the king possessed for his own pleasure. Cup-bearers, male and female (Syr., lxx), cannot at all be understood, for although it may be said that the enumeration thus connects itself with the before-named בּיּין, yet this class of female attendants are not numbered among the highest human pleasures; besides, with such an explanation one must read שׁרה ושׁדות, and, in addition, שׁדא (to throw, to pour to, or pour out), to which this Heb. שׁדה may correspond, is nowhere used of the pouring out of wine. Rather might שׁדה, like שדא, hydria, be the name of a vessel from which one pours out anything, according to which Aq. translates by κυλίκιον καὶ κυλίκια, Symmachus, after Jerome, by mensurarum (read mensarum)

(Note: Thus, according to Vallarsi, a Cod. Vat. and Cod. Palat. of the first hand.)

species et appositioines, and Jerome, scyphos et urceos in ministerio ad vina fundenda; but this word for kelē mashkēh, 1 Kings 10:21 ( equals 2 Chronicles 9:20), is not found. Also the Targ., which translates by dimasaya uvē venavan, public baths (δημόσια), and balneae, vindicates this translation by referring the word to the verb שׁדא, "with pipes which pour out (דּשׁרין) tepid water, and pipes which pour out hot water." But this explanation is imaginary; שׁדּה occurs in the Mishna, Mikwaoth (of plunge-baths) Ecclesiastes 6:5, but there it denotes a chest which, when it swims in the water, makes the plunge-bath unsuitable. Such an untenable conceit also is the translation suggested by Kimchi, כלי זמר, according to which the Event. σύστεεμα καὶ συστήματα (in a musical sense: concentus), and Luther: "all kinds of musical instruments;" the word has not this meaning; Orelli, Sanchuniathon, p. 33, combines therewith Σιδών, according to the Phoenician myth, the inventress of the artistic song. The explanation by Kimchi is headed, "Splendour of every kind;" Ewald, Elster, and Zckler find therein a general expression, following taanugoth: great heap and heaps equals in great abundance [die Hlle und Flle]. But the synon. of כבוד, "splendour," is not שׁד, but עז; and that שׁדד, like עצם, is referred to a great number, is without proof. Thus shiddah veshiddoth will denote something definite; besides, "a large number" finds its expression in the climactic union of words. In the Jerus. Talm. Taanith Ecclesiastes 4:5, shiddah must, according to the gloss, be the name of a chariot, although the subject there is not that of motion forward, or moving quickly; it is there announced that Schn, not far from Sepphoris, a place famed also for its pottery, formerly possessed 80 such shiddoth wholly of metal. The very same word is explained by Rashi, Baba kamma ix. 3, Shabbath 120a, Erubin 30b, Gittin 8b, 68a, Chagiga 25a, and elsewhere, of a carriage of wood, and especially of a chariot for women and distinguished persons. The combination of the synonyms, shiddah uthivah umigdal, does not in itself mean more than a chest; and Rashi himself explains, Kethuboth 65a, quolphi dashidah of the lock of a chest (argaz); and the author of Aruch knows no other meaning than that of a repository such as a chest. But in passages such as Gittin 8b, the shiddah is mentioned as a means of transport; it is to all appearance a chest going on wheels, moved forward by means of wheels, but on that very account not a state-chariot. Rashi's tradition cannot be verified.

Bttcher, in the Neue Aehrenlese, adduces for comparison the Syr. Shydlo, which, according to Castelli, signifies navis magna, corbita, arca; but from a merchant ship and a portable chest, it is a great way to a lady's palanquin.

He translates: palanquin and palinquins equals one consignment to the harem after another. Gesen., according to Rdiger, Thes. 1365b, thinks that women are to be understood; for he compares the Arab. z'ynat, which signifies a women's carriage, and then the woman herself (cf. our Frauenzimmer, women's apartment, women, like Odaliske, from the Turk. oda, apartment). But this all stands or falls with that gloss of Rashi's: 'agalah lemerkavoth nashim usarim. Meanwhile, of all the explanations as yet advanced, this last of splendid coaches, palanquins is the best; for it may certainly be supposed that the words shiddah veshiddoth are meant of women. Aben Ezra explains on this supposition, shiddoth equals shevuyoth, females captured in war; but unwarrantably, because as yet Solomon had not been engaged in war; others (vid., Pinsker's Zur Gesch. des Karaismus, p. 296), recently Bullock, connect it with shadim, in the sense of (Arab.) nahidah (a maiden with swelling breast); Knobel explains after shadad, to barricade, to shut up, occlusa, the female held in custody (cf. bethulah, the separated one, virgin, from bathal, cogn. badal); Hitzig, "cushions," "bolsters," from shanad, which, like (Arab.) firash, λέχος, is then transferred to the juncta toro. Nothing of all that is satisfactory. The Babyl. Gemara, Gittin 68a, glosses ותען וגו by "reservoirs and baths," and then further says that in the west (Palestine) they say שׁדּתא, chests (according to Rashi: chariots); but that here in this country (i.e., in Babylon) they translate shiddah veshiddoth by shēdah veshēdathin, which is then explained, "demons and demonesses," which Solomon had made subservient to him.

(Note: A demon, and generally a superhuman being, is called, as in Heb. שׁד, so in the Babyl.-Assyr. sîdu, vid., Norris' Assyrian Dictionary, II p. cf. Schrader, in the Jena. Lit. Zeit. 1874, p. 218f., according to which sîdu, with alap, is the usual name of Adar formed like an ox.)

This haggadic-mytholog. interpretation is, linguistically at least, on the right track. A demon is not so named from fluttering or moving to and fro (Levy, Schnhak), for there is no evidence in the Semitic langauge of the existence of a verb שוד, to flee; also not from a verb sadad, which must correspond to the Heb. השׁתחוה, in the sense of to adore (Oppert's Inscription du palais de Khorsabad, 1863, p. 96); for this meaning is more than doubtful, and, besides, שׁד is an active, and not a passive idea-much rather שׁד, Assyr. sîd, Arab. sayyid, signifies the mighty, from שׁוּד, to force, Psalm 91:6.

(Note: Vid., Friedrich Delitzsch's Assyr. Theirnamen, p. 37.)

In the Arab. (cf. the Spanish Cid) it is uniformly the name of a lord, as subduing, ruling, mastering (sabid), and the fem. sayyidat, of a lady, whence the vulgar Arab. sitti equals my lady, and sîdi equals my lord. Since שׁדד means the same as שׁוד, and in Heb. is more commonly used than it, so also the fem. form שׁדּה is possible, so much the more as it may have originated from שׁדה, 5 שׁיד equals שׁד, by a sharpening contraction, like סגּים, from סיגים (Olsh. 83c), perhaps intentionally to make שׁדה, a demoness, and the name of a lady (donna equals domina) unlike. Accordingly we translate, with Gesen. and Meyer in their Handwrt.: "lady and ladies;" for we take shiddoth as a name of the ladies of the harem, like shēglath (Assyr. saklâti) and lehhenath in the book of Daniel, on which Ahron b. Joseph the Karaite remarks: shedah hinqaroth shagal.

The connection expressing an innumerable quantity, and at the same time the greatest diversity, is different from the genitival dor dorim, generation of generations, i.e., lasting through all generations, Psalm 72:5, from the permutative heightening the idea: rahham rahhamathaim, one damsel, two damsels, Judges 5:30, and from that formed by placing together the two gram. genders, comprehending every species of the generic conception: mash'ēn umash'enah, Isaiah 3:3 (vid., comm. l.c., and Ewald, 172b). Also the words cited by Ewald (Syr.), rogo urogo, "all possible pleasures" (Cureton's Spicil. p. 10), do not altogether accord with this passage for they heighten, like meod meod, by the repetition of the same expression. But similar is the Arab. scheme, mal wamwal, "possession and possessions," i.e., exceeding great riches, where the collective idea, in itself according by its indetermination free scope to the imagination, is multiplied by the plur. being further added.

After Koheleth has enumerated all that he had provided for the purpose of gratifying his lusts, but without losing himself therein, he draws the conclusion, which on this occasion also shows a perceptible deficit.

Ecclesiastes 2:14 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

wise

Ecclesiastes 8:1 Who is as the wise man? and who knows the interpretation of a thing? a man's wisdom makes his face to shine...

Ecclesiastes 10:2,3 A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left...

Proverbs 14:8 The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.

Proverbs 17:24 Wisdom is before him that has understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.

1 John 2:11 But he that hates his brother is in darkness, and walks in darkness, and knows not where he goes...

one

Ecclesiastes 9:1-3,11,16 For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works...

Psalm 19:10 More to be desired are they than gold, yes, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Psalm 49:10 For he sees that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.

Cross References
1 John 2:11
But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Psalm 49:10
For he sees that even the wise die; the fool and the stupid alike must perish and leave their wealth to others.

Proverbs 17:24
The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.

Ecclesiastes 2:16
For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise dies just like the fool!

Ecclesiastes 3:19
For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 6:6
Even though he should live a thousand years twice over, yet enjoy no good--do not all go to the one place?

Ecclesiastes 7:2
It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.

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