Ecclesiastes 5:16
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind?

King James Bible
And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?

American Standard Version
And this also is a grievous evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that he laboreth for the wind?

Douay-Rheims Bible
A most deplorable evil: as he came, so shall he return. What then doth it profit him that he hath laboured for the wind?

English Revised Version
And this also is a grievous evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that he laboureth for the wind?

Webster's Bible Translation
And this also is a grievous evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath labored for the wind?

Ecclesiastes 5:16 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

"He who loveth silver is not satisfied with silver; and he whose love cleaveth to abundance, hath nothing of it: also this is vain." The transition in this series of proverbs is not unmediated; for the injustice which, according to Ecclesiastes 5:7, prevails in the state as it now is becomes subservient to covetousness, in the very nature of which there lies insatiableness: semper avarus eget, hunc nulla pecunia replet. That the author speaks of the "sacra fames argenti" (not auri) arises from this, that not זהב, but כסף, is the specific word for coin.

(Note: A Jewish fancy supposes that כסף is chosen because it consists of letters rising in value (20, 60, 80); while, on the contrary, זהב consists of letters decreasing in value (7, 5, 2).)

Mendelssohn-Friedlnder also explains: "He who loveth silver is not satisfied with silver," i.e., it does not make him full; that might perhaps be linguistically possible (cf. e.g., Proverbs 12:11), although the author would in that case probably have written the words מן־הכּסף, after Ecclesiastes 6:3; but "to be not full of money" is, after Ecclesiastes 1:8, and especially Ecclesiastes 4:8, Habakkuk 2:5, cf. Proverbs 27:20 equals never to have enough of money, but always to desire more.

That which follows, Ecclesiastes 5:9, is, according to Hitz., a question: And who hath joy in abundance, which bringeth nothing in? But such questions, with the answer to be supplied, are not in Koheleth's style; and what would then be understood by capital without interest? Others, as Zφckler, supply ישׂבּע: and he that loveth abundance of possessions (is) not (full) of income; but that which is gained by these hard ellipses is only a tautology. With right, the Targ., Syr., Jerome, the Venet., and Luther take lo tevuah as the answer or conclusion; and who clings to abundance of possessions with his love? - he has no fruit thereof; or, with a weakening of the interrog. pronoun into the relative (as at Ecclesiastes 1:9; cf. under Psalm 34:13): he who ... clings has nothing of it. Hamon signifies a tumult, a noisy multitude, particularly of earthly goods, as at Psalm 37:16; 1 Chronicles 29:16; Isaiah 60:5. The connection of אהב with ב, occurring only here, follows the analogy of חפץ בּ and the like. The conclusion is synon. with levilti ho'il; e.g., Isaiah 44:10; Jeremiah 7:8. All the Codd. read לא; לו in this sense would be meaningless.

(Note: In Maccoth 10a, לו is read three times in succession; the Midrash Wajikra, c. 22, reads לא, and thus it is always found without Kerı̂ and without variation.)

The designation of advantage by tevuah, the farmer enjoys the fruit of his labour; but he who hangs his heart on the continual tumult, noise, pomp of more numerous and greater possessions is possible, to him all real profit - i.e., all pleasant, peaceful enjoyment - is lost. With the increase of the possessions there is an increase also of unrest, and the possessor has in reality nothing but the sight of them.

Ecclesiastes 5:16 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

a sore

Ecclesiastes 5:13 There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.

Ecclesiastes 2:22,23 For what has man of all his labor, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he has labored under the sun...

what

1 Samuel 12:21 And turn you not aside: for then should you go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain.

Jeremiah 2:8 The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me...

Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

for

Ecclesiastes 1:3 What profit has a man of all his labor which he takes under the sun?

Proverbs 11:29 He that troubles his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.

Isaiah 26:18 We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not worked any deliverance in the earth...

Hosea 8:7 For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it has no stalk; the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield...

John 6:27 Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you...

Cross References
1 Corinthians 16:16
be subject to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer.

Proverbs 11:29
Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.

Ecclesiastes 1:3
What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?

Ecclesiastes 2:11
Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 3:9
What gain has the worker from his toil?

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