Ecclesiastes 2:9
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me.

King James Bible
So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.

American Standard Version
So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And I surpassed in riches all that were before me in Jerusalem: my wisdom also remained with me.

English Revised Version
So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.

Webster's Bible Translation
So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.

Ecclesiastes 2:9 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

"I searched in my heart, (henceforth) to nourish my body with wine, while my heart had the direction by means of wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what it was good for the children of men that they should do, all the number of the days of their life." After he became conscious that unbridled sensual intoxication does not lead to the wished-for end, he looked around him farther, and examined into the following reception for happiness. Inappropriately, Zckl., with Hengst.: "I essayed in my heart to nourish ...." תּוּר does not mean probare, but explorare, to spy out, Numbers 10:33, and frequently in the Book of Koheleth (here and at Ecclesiastes 1:13; Ecclesiastes 7:25) of mental searching and discovery (Targ. אלּל). With למשׁוך there then follows the new thing that is contrived. If we read משׁך and נהג in connection, then the idea of drawing a carriage, Isaiah 5:18, cf. Deuteronomy 21:3, and of driving a carriage, 2 Samuel 6:3, lies near; according to which Hitzig explains: "Wine is compared to a draught beast such as a horse, and he places wisdom as the driver on the box, that his horse may not throw him into a ditch or a morass." But moshēk is not the wine, but the person himself who makes the trial; and nohēg is not the wisdom, but the heart, - the former thus only the means of guidance; no man expresses himself thus: I draw the carriage by means of a horse, and I guide it by means of a driv. Rightly the Syr.: "To delight (למבסמן, from בּסּם, oblectare) my flesh with wine." Thus also the Targ. and the Venet., by "drawing the flesh." The metaphor does not accord with the Germ. ziehen equals to nourish by caring for (for which רבּה is used); it is more natural, with Gesen., to compare the passing of trahere into tractare, e.g., in the expression se benignius tractare (Horace, Ephesians 1:17); but apart from the fact that trahere is a word of doubtful etymology,

(Note: Vid., Crossen's Nachtr. zur lat. Formenlehre, pp. 107-109.)

tractare perhaps attains the meaning of attending to, using, managing, through the intermediate idea of moving hither and thither, which is foreign to the Heb. משׁך, which means only to draw, - to draw to oneself, and hold fast (attractum sive prehensum tenere). As the Talm. משׁך occurs in the sense of "to refresh," e.g., Chagiga 14a: "The Haggadists (in contradistinction to the Halachists) refresh the heart of a man as with water"; so here, "to draw the flesh" equals to bring it into willing obedience by means of pleasant attractions.

(Note: Grtz translates: to embrocate my body with wine, and remarks that in this lies a raffinement. But why does he not rather say, "to bathe in wine"? If משׁח can mean "to embrocate," it may also mean "to bathe," and for ביין may be read ביוני: in Grecian, i.e., Falernian, Chian, wine.)

The phrase which follows: velibbi nohēg bahhochmāh, is conditioning: While my heart had the direction by means of wisdom; or, perhaps in accordance with the more modern usus loq. While my heart guided, demeaned, behaved itself with wisdom. Then the inf. limshok, depending on tarti as its obj., is carried forward with velěěhhoz besichluth. Plainly the subject treated of is an intermediate thing (Bardach: ממצּעת). He wished to have enjoyment, but in measure, without losing himself in enjoyment, and thereby destroying himself. He wished to give himself over to sweet desipere, but yet with wise self-possession (because it is sadly true that ubi mel ibi fel) to lick the honey and avoid the gall. There are drinkers who know how to guide themselves so that they do not end in drunken madness; and there are habitual pleasure-seekers who yet know how so far to control themselves, that they do not at length become rous. Koheleth thus gave himself to a foolish life, yet tempered by wisdom, till there dawned upon him a better light upon the way to true happiness.

The expression of the donec viderem is old Heb. Instead of אי־זה טוב, quidnam sit bonum in indirect interrog. (as Ecclesiastes 11:6, cf. Jeremiah 6:16), the old form מה־טוב (Hebrews 6:12) would lie at least nearer. Asher yǎǎsu may be rendered: quod faciant or ut faciant; after Ecclesiastes 2:24; Ecclesiastes 3:22; Ecclesiastes 5:4; Ecclesiastes 7:18, the latter is to be assumed. The accus. designation of time, "through the number of days of their life," is like Ecclesiastes 5:17; Ecclesiastes 6:12. We have not, indeed, to translate with Knobel: "the few days of their life," but yet there certainly lies in מספּר the idea that the days of man's life are numbered, and that thus even if they are not few but many (Ecclesiastes 6:3), they do not endure for ev.

The king now, in the verse following, relates his undertakings for the purpose of gaining the joys of life in fellowship with wisdom, and first, how he made architecture and gardening serviceable to this new style of life.

Ecclesiastes 2:9 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Ecclesiastes 1:16 I communed with my own heart, saying, See, I am come to great estate...

1 Kings 3:12 Behold, I have done according to your words: see, I have given you a wise and an understanding heart...

1 Kings 10:7,23 However, I believed not the words, until I came, and my eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me...

1 Chronicles 29:25 And the LORD magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel...

2 Chronicles 1:1 And Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the LORD his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly.

2 Chronicles 9:22,23 And king Solomon passed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom...

Cross References
1 Chronicles 29:25
And the LORD made Solomon very great in the sight of all Israel and bestowed on him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.

Ecclesiastes 1:16
I said in my heart, "I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge."

Ecclesiastes 5:11
When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes?

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