Ecclesiastes 2:4
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself.

King James Bible
I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:

American Standard Version
I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards;

Douay-Rheims Bible
I made me great works, I built me houses, and planted vineyards,

English Revised Version
I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards;

Webster's Bible Translation
I made me great works; I built me houses; I planted me vineyards:

Ecclesiastes 2:4 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

"I have communed with mine own heart, saying: Lo, I have gained great and always greater wisdom above all who were before me over Jerusalem; and my heart hath seen wisdom and knowledge in fulness. And I gave my heart to know what was in wisdom and knowledge, madness and folly - I have perceived that this also is a grasping after the wind." The evidence in which he bears witness to himself that striving after wisdom and knowledge brings with it no true satisfaction, reaches down to the close of Ecclesiastes 1:17; ידעתּי is the conclusion which is aimed at. The manner of expression is certainly so far involved, as he speaks of his heart to his heart what it had experienced, and to what he had purposely directed it. The אני leads us to think that a king speaks, for whom it is appropriate to write a capital I, or to multiply it into we; vid., regarding this "I," more pleonastic than emphatic, subordinated to its verb.

It is a question whether עם־לבּי, after the phrase (את) עם דּבּר, is meant of speaking with any one, colloqui, or of the place of speaking, as in "thou shalt consider in thine heart," Deuteronomy 8:5, it is used of the place of consciousness; cf. Job 15:9, (עמּדי) עמּי היה equals σύνοιδα ἐμαυτῷ, and what is said in my Psychol. p. 134, regarding συνείδησις, consciousness, and συμμαρτυρεῖν. בּלבּי, interchanging with עם־לבּי, Ecclesiastes 2:1, Ecclesiastes 2:15, commends the latter meaning: in my heart (lxx, Targ., Jerome, Luther); but the cogn. expressions, medabběrěth ǎl-libbah, 1 Samuel 1:13, and ledabbēr ěl-libbi, Genesis 24:45, suggest as more natural the former rendering, viz., as of a dialogue, which is expressed by the Gr. Venet. (more distinctly than by Aquila, Symm., and Syr.): διείλεγμαι ἐγὼ ξὺν τῇ καρδίᾳ μου. Also לאמר, occurring only here in the Book of Koheleth, brings it near that the following oratio directa is directed to the heart, as it also directly assumes the form of an address, Ecclesiastes 2:1, after בלבי. The expression, הג הך, "to make one's wisdom great," i.e., "to gain great wisdom," is without a parallel; for the words, הג תו, Isaiah 28:29, quoted by Hitzig, signify to show and attest truly useful (beneficial) knowledge in a noble way. The annexed והו refers to the continued increase made to the great treasure already possessed (cf. Ecclesiastes 2:9 and 1 Kings 10:7). The al connected therewith signifies, "above" (Genesis 49:26) all those who were over Jerusalem before me. This is like the sarrâni âlik maḥrija, "the kings who were my predecessors," which was frequently used by the Assyrian kings. The Targumist seeks to accommodate the words to the actual Solomon by thus distorting them: "above all the wise men who have been in Jerusalem before me," as if the word in the text were בירושלם,

(Note: In F. the following note is added: "Several Codd. have, erroneously, birushalam instead of al-jerushalam." Kennicott counts about 60 such Codd. It stands thus also in J; and at first it thus stood in H, but was afterwards corrected to al-yerushalam. Cf. Elias Levita's Masoreth hamasoreth, II 8, at the end.)

as it is indeed found in several Codd., and according to which also the lxx, Syr., Jerome, and the Venet. translate. Rather than think of the wise (הכּימיּא), we are led to think of all those who from of old stood at the head of the Israelitish community. But there must have been well-known great men with whom Solomon measures himself, and these could not be such dissimilarly great men as the Canaanitish kings to the time of Melchizedek; and since the Jebusites, even under Saul, were in possession of Zion, and Jerusalem was for the first time completely subdued by David (2 Samuel 5:7, cf. Joshua 15:63), it is evident that only one predecessor of Solomon in the office of ruler over Jerusalem can be spoken of, and that here an anachronism lies before us, occasioned by the circumstance that the Salomo revivivus, who has behind him the long list of kings whom in truth he had before him, here speaks.

Regarding היה אשׁר, qu'il y uet, for היו אשׁר, qui furent, vid., at Ecclesiastes 1:10. The seeing here ascribed to the heart (here equals νοῦς, Psychol. p. 249) is meant of intellectual observation and apprehension; for "all perception, whether it be mediated by the organs of sense or not (as prophetic observing and contemplating), comprehends all, from mental discernment down to suffering, which veils itself in unconsciousness, and the Scripture designates it as a seeing" (Psychol. 234); the Book of Koheleth also uses the word ראה of every kind of human experience, bodily or mental, Ecclesiastes 2:24; Ecclesiastes 5:17; Ecclesiastes 6:6; Ecclesiastes 9:9. It is commonly translated: "My heart saw much wisdom and knowledge" (thus e.g., Ewald); but that is contrary to the gram. structure of the sentence (Ew. 287c). The adject. harbēh

(Note: Regarding the form הרבה, which occurs once (Jeremiah 42:2), vid., Ew. 240c.)

is always, and by Koheleth also, Ecclesiastes 2:7; Ecclesiastes 5:6, Ecclesiastes 5:16; Ecclesiastes 6:11; Ecclesiastes 9:18; Ecclesiastes 11:8; Ecclesiastes 12:9, Ecclesiastes 12:12, placed after its subst.; thus it is here adv., as at Ecclesiastes 5:19; Ecclesiastes 7:16. Rightly the Venet.: ἡ καρδία μου τεθέαται κατὰ πολὺ σοφίαν καί γνῶσιν Chokma signifies, properly, solidity, compactness; and then, like πυκνότης, mental ability, secular wisdom; and, generally, solid knowledge of the true and the right. Dǎǎth is connected with chokma here and at Isaiah 33:6, as at Romans 11:33, γνῶσις is with σοφία. Baumggarten-Crusius there remarks that σοφία refers to the general ordering of things, γνῶσις to the determination of individual things; and Harless, that σοφία is knowledge which proposes the right aim, and γνῶσις that which finds the right means thereto. In general, we may say that chokma is the fact of a powerful knowledge of the true and the right, and the property which arises out of this intellectual possession; but dǎǎth is knowledge penetrating into the depth of the essence of things, by which wisdom is acquired and in which wisdom establishes itself.

Ecclesiastes 2:4 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

made

Genesis 11:4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach to heaven; and let us make us a name...

2 Samuel 18:18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the king's dale: for he said...

Daniel 4:30 The king spoke, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power...

I builded

Deuteronomy 8:12-14 Lest when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses, and dwelled therein...

1 Kings 7:1,2,8-12 But Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house...

1 Kings 9:1 And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the LORD, and the king's house...

1 Kings 15:19 There is a league between me and you, and between my father and your father: behold, I have sent to you a present of silver and gold...

1 Kings 10:19,20 The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat...

2 Chronicles 8:1-6,11 And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of the LORD, and his own house...

i planted

1 Chronicles 27:27 And over the vineyards was Shimei the Ramathite: over the increase of the vineyards for the wine cellars was Zabdi the Shiphmite:

2 Chronicles 26:10 Also he built towers in the desert, and dig many wells: for he had much cattle, both in the low country, and in the plains...

Songs 1:14 My beloved is to me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.

Songs 7:12 Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth...

Songs 8:11,12 Solomon had a vineyard at Baalhamon; he let out the vineyard to keepers...

Isaiah 5:1 Now will I sing to my well beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My well beloved has a vineyard in a very fruitful hill:

Cross References
1 Kings 7:1
Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished his entire house.

Song of Solomon 8:11
Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon; he let out the vineyard to keepers; each one was to bring for its fruit a thousand pieces of silver.

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