Ecclesiastes 4:1
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them.

King James Bible
So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.

American Standard Version
Then I returned and saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and, behold, the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I turned myself to other things, and I saw the oppressions that are done under the sun, and the tears of the innocent, and they had no comforter; and they were not able to resist their violence, being destitute of help from any.

English Revised Version
Then I returned and saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold, the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power, but they had no comforter.

Webster's Bible Translation
So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.

Ecclesiastes 4:1 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

"I said in mine heart: God shall judge the righteous as well as the wicked: for there is there a time for every purpose and for every work." Since "the righteous" stands first, the word ישׁפּט has here the double sense of judging [richtens equals setting upright] equals acting uprightly, justly by one, as in the shofteni of Psalm 7:9; Psalm 26:1, etc., and of judging equals inflicting punishment. To the righteous, as well as to the wicked,

(Note: The lxx (in Aquila's manner): σὺν τὸν δίκαιον καὶ σὺν τὸν ἀσεβῆ - according to the Talm. hermeneut. rule, that where the obj. is designated by את, with that which is expressly named, something else is associated, and is to be thought of along with it.)

God will administer that which of right belongs to them. But this does not immediately happen, and has to be waited for a long time, for there is a definite time for every undertaking (Ecclesiastes 3:1), and for (על, in the more modern form of the language, interchanges promiscue with אל ht and ל, e.g., Jeremiah 19:15; Ezekiel 22:3; Ewald, 217i) every work there is a "time." This שׁם, defended by all the old interpreters, cannot have a temporal sense: tunc equals in die judicii (Jerome, Targ.), cf. Psalm 14:5; Psalm 36:13, for "a time of judgment there is for all one day" is not intended, since certainly the שׁם (day of judgment) is this time itself, and not the time of this time. Ewald renders שׁם as pointing to the past, for he thus construes: the righteous and the unrighteous God will judge (for there is a time for everything), and judge (vav thus explicat., "and that too," "and indeed") every act there, i.e., everything done before. But this שׁם is not only heavy, but also ambiguous and purposeless; and besides, by this parenthesizing of the words וגו עת כּי for there is a time for everything, the principal thought, that with God everything, even His act of judgment, has its time, is robbed of its independence and of the place in the principal clause appropriate to it. But if שׁם is understood adverbially, it certainly has a local meaning connected with it: there, viz., with God, apud Deum; true, for this use of the word Genesis 49:24 affords the only example, and it stands there in the midst of a very solemn and earnest address. Therefore it lies near to read, with Houbig., Dderl., Palm., and Hitz., שׁם, "a definite time ... has He (God) ordained;" שׂום (שׂים) is the usual word for the ordinances of God in the natural world and in human history (Proverbs 8:29; Exodus 21:13; Numbers 24:23; Habakkuk 1:12, etc.), and, as in the Assyr. simtuv, so the Heb. שׂימה (שׂוּמה), 2 Samuel 13:32, signifies lot or fate, decree.

(Note: Vid., Schrader's Keilsch. u. A. T. p. 105, simtu ubilsu, i.e., fate snatched him away (Heb. simah hovilathhu), cf. Fried. Delitzsch's Assyr. Stud. p. 66f.)

With this reading, Elster takes exception to the position of the words; but at Judges 6:19 also the object goes before שׂם, and "unto every purpose and for every work" is certainly the complement of the object-conception, so that the position of the words is in reality no other than at Ecclesiastes 10:20; Daniel 2:17. Quite untenable is Herzfeld's supposition (Frst, Vaih.), that שׁם has here the Talm. signification: aestimat, taxat, for (1) this שׁוּם equals Arab. sham, has not על, but the accus. after it; (2) the thought referring to the tie on which Ecclesiastes 3:18 rests is thereby interrupted. Whether we read שׂם, or take שׁם in the sense of עמּו (Job 25:2; Job 23:14, etc.), the thought is the same, and equally congruous: God will judge the innocent and the guilty; it shall be done some time, although not so soon as one might wish it, and think necessary, for God has for every undertaking and for every work its fixed time, also its judicial decision (vid., at Psalm 74:3); He permits wickedness, lets it develope itself, waits long before He interposes (vid., under Isaiah 18:4.).

Reflecting on God's delay to a time hidden from men, and known only to Himself, Koheleth explains the matter to himself in the following verse: -

Ecclesiastes 4:1 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

i returned

Job 6:29 Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yes, return again, my righteousness is in it.

Malachi 3:18 Then shall you return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serves God and him that serves him not.

and considered

Ecclesiastes 3:16 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness...

Ecclesiastes 5:8 If you see the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter...

Ecclesiastes 7:7 Surely oppression makes a wise man mad; and a gift destroys the heart.

Exodus 1:13,14,16,22 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigor...

Exodus 2:23,24 And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage...

Exodus 5:16-19 There is no straw given to your servants, and they say to us, Make brick: and, behold, your servants are beaten...

Deuteronomy 28:33,48 The fruit of your land, and all your labors, shall a nation which you know not eat up...

Judges 4:3 And the children of Israel cried to the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron...

Judges 10:7,8 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines...

Nehemiah 5:1-5 And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brothers the Jews...

Job 24:7-12 They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that they have no covering in the cold...

Psalm 10:9,10 He lies in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lies in wait to catch the poor: he does catch the poor...

Proverbs 28:3,15,16 A poor man that oppresses the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaves no food...

Isaiah 5:7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment...

Isaiah 51:23 But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict you; which have said to your soul, Bow down, that we may go over...

Isaiah 59:7,13-15 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity...

Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers...

the tears

Psalm 42:3,9 My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say to me, Where is your God...

Psalm 80:5 You feed them with the bread of tears; and give them tears to drink in great measure.

Psalm 102:8,9 My enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me...

Malachi 2:13 And this have you done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out...

James 5:4 Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, cries...

they had

Job 16:4 I also could speak as you do: if your soul were in my soul's stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake my head at you.

Job 19:21,22 Have pity on me, have pity on me, O you my friends; for the hand of God has touched me...

Psalm 69:20 Reproach has broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters...

Psalm 142:4 I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.

Proverbs 19:7 All the brothers of the poor do hate him: how much more do his friends go far from him? he pursues them with words...

Lamentations 1:2,9 She weeps sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: among all her lovers she has none to comfort her...

Matthew 25:26 His lord answered and said to him, You wicked and slothful servant, you knew that I reap where I sowed not...

2 Timothy 4:16,17 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge...

Cross References
Job 35:9
"Because of the multitude of oppressions people cry out; they call for help because of the arm of the mighty.

Psalm 12:5
"Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise," says the LORD; "I will place him in the safety for which he longs."

Ecclesiastes 3:16
Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness.

Ecclesiastes 5:8
If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, do not be amazed at the matter, for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them.

Ecclesiastes 7:7
Surely oppression drives the wise into madness, and a bribe corrupts the heart.

Ecclesiastes 8:9
All this I observed while applying my heart to all that is done under the sun, when man had power over man to his hurt.

Isaiah 5:7
For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, an outcry!

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