Ecclesiastes 4:9
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.

King James Bible
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.

American Standard Version
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.

Douay-Rheims Bible
It is better therefore that two should be together, than one: for they have the advantage of their society:

English Revised Version
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.

Webster's Bible Translation
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.

Ecclesiastes 4:9 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

"And I praised the dead who were long ago dead, more than the living who are yet in life; and as happier than both, him who has not yet come into existence, who hath not seen the evil work which is done under the sun." ושׁבּח is hardly thought of as part., like יוּקשׁים equals מיקּשׁים, Ecclesiastes 9:12; the m of the part. Pih. is not usually thrown away, only מהר, Zephaniah 1:14, is perhaps equals ממהר, but for the same reason as בּית־אל, 2 Kings 2:3, is equals בּבית - אל. Thus ושׁבּח, like ונתון, Ecclesiastes 8:9, is inf. absol., which is used to continue, in an adverbially subord. manner, the preceding finite with the same subject,

(Note: Also 1 Chronicles 5:20, the subject remains virtually the same: et ita quidem ut exaudirentur.)

Genesis 41:43; Leviticus 25:14; Judges 7:19, etc.; cf. especially Exodus 8:11 : "Pharaoh saw ... and hardened (והכבּד) his heart;" just in the same manner as ושׁבּח here connects itself with ושׁ אני וא. Only the annexed designation of the subject is peculiar; the syntactic possibility of this connection is established by Psalm 15:5, Job 40:2, and, in the second rank, by Genesis 17:10; Ezekiel 5:14. Yet אני might well enough have been omitted had וש אני וא not stood too remote. Regarding עדנה

(Note: Thus punctuated with Segol under Daleth, and ,נ raphatum, in F. H. J. P. Thus also Kimchi in W.B. under עד.)

and עדן. The circumstantial form of the expression: prae vivis qui vivi sunt adhuc, is intentional: they who are as yet living must be witnesses of the manifold and comfortless human miseries.

It is a question whether Ecclesiastes 4:3 begins a new clause (lxx, Syr., and Venet.) or not. That את, like the Arab. aiya, sometimes serves to give prominence to the subject, cannot be denied (vid., Bttcher, 516, and Mhlau's remarks thereto). The Mishnic expressions היּום אותו, that day, הארץ אותהּ, that land, and the like (Geiger, 14. 2), presuppose a certain preparation in the older language; and we might, with Weiss (Stud. ueber d. Spr. der Mishna, p. 112), interpret אשׁר את in the sense of אותי אשר, is qui. But the accus. rendering is more natural. Certainly the expression טוב שׁבּח, "to praise," "to pronounce happy," is not used; but to טוב it is natural to suppose וקראתי added. Jerome accordingly translates: et feliciorem utroque judicavi qui necdum natus est. הרע has the double Kametz, as is generally the case, except at Psalm 54:7 and Micah 7:3.

(Note: Vid., Heidenheim, Meor Enajim, under Deuteronomy 17:7.)

Better than he who is born is the unborn, who does not become conscious of the wicked actions that are done under the sun. A similar thought, with many variations in its expression, is found in Greek writers; see regarding these shrill discordances, which run through all the joy of the beauty and splendour of Hellenic life, my Apologetick, p. 116. Buddhism accordingly gives to nirvna the place of the highest good. That we find Koheleth on the same path (cf. Ecclesiastes 6:3; Ecclesiastes 7:1), has its reason in this, that so long as the central point of man's existence lies in the present life, and this is not viewed as the fore-court of eternity, there is no enduring consolation to lift us above the miseries of this present world.

Ecclesiastes 4:9 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Exodus 4:14-16 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well...

Numbers 11:14 I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me.

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

Haggai 1:14 And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Josedech...

Mark 6:7 And he called to him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;

Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said...

Acts 15:39,40 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark...

1 Corinthians 12:18-21 But now has God set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased him...

a good

Ruth 2:12 The LORD recompense your work, and a full reward be given you of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you are come to trust.

John 4:36 And he that reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit to life eternal: that both he that sows and he that reaps may rejoice together.

2 John 1:8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have worked, but that we receive a full reward.

Cross References
Ecclesiastes 4:8
one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, "For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?" This also is vanity and an unhappy business.

Ecclesiastes 4:10
For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!

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