Ecclesiastes 9:12
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.

King James Bible
For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

American Standard Version
For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare, even so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Man knoweth not his own end: but as fishes are taken with the hook, and as birds are caught with the snare, so men are taken in the evil time, when it shall suddenly come upon them.

English Revised Version
For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare, even so, are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

Webster's Bible Translation
For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

Ecclesiastes 9:12 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

He sarcastically verifies his comparison in favour of a living dog. "For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not anything, and have no more a reward; for their memory is forgotten. Their love, as well as their hatred and their envy, has long ago perished, and they have part no more for ever in all that is done under the sun." The description of the condition of death begins sarcastically and then becomes elegiac. "They have no reward further," viz., in this upper world, since there it is only too soon forgotten that they once existed, and that they did anything worthy of being remembered; Koheleth might here indeed, with his view shrouded in dark clouds, even suppose that God also forgot them, Job 14:13. The suff. of אהב, etc., present themselves was subjective, and there is no reason, with Knobel and Ginsburg, to render them objectively: not merely the objects of their love, and hatred, and envy, are lost to them, but these their affections and strivings themselves have ceased (Rosenm., Hitzig, Zckl., and others), they lie (Kevar 'avadah) far behind them as absolutely gone; for the dead have no part more in the history which is unfolding itself amid the light of the upper world, and they can have no more any part therein, for the dead as not living are not only without knowledge, but also without feeling and desire. The representation of the state after death is here more comfortless than anywhere else. For elsewhere we read that those who have been living here spend in Sheol, i.e., in the deep (R. של, to be loose, to hang down, to go downwards) realm of the dead, as rephaim (Isaiah 14:9, etc.), lying beneath the upper world, far from the love and the praise of God (Psalm 6:3; Psalm 30:10), a prospectless (Job 7:7., Job 14:6-12; Job 18:11-13), dark, shadowy existence; the soul in Hades, though neither annihilated nor sleeping, finds itself in a state of death no less than does the body in the grave. But here the state of death is not even set forth over against the idea of the dissolution of life, the complete annihilation of individuality, much less that a retribution in eternity, i.e., a retribution executed, if not here, yet at some time, postulated elsewhere by the author, throws a ray of light into the night of death. The apocryphal book of the Wisdom of Solomon, which distinguishes between a state of blessedness and a state of misery measured out to men in the future following death, has in this surpassed the canonical Book of Koheleth. In vain do the Targ., Midrash, and the older Christian interpreters refer that which is said to the wicked dead; others regard Koheleth as introducing here the discourse of atheists (e.g., Oetinger), and interpret, under the influence of monstrous self-deception, Ecclesiastes 9:7 as the voice of the spirit (Hengst.) opposing the voice of the flesh. But that which Koheleth expresses here only in a particularly rugged way is the view of Hades predominating in the O.T. It is the consequence of viewing death from the side of its anger. Revelation intentionally permits this manner of viewing it to remain; but from premises which the revelation sets forth, the religious consciousness in the course of time draws always more decidedly the conclusion, that the man who is united to God will fully reach through death that which since the entrance of sin into the world cannot be reached without the loss of this present life, i.e., without death, viz., a more perfect life in fellowship with God. Yet the confusion of the O.T. representation of Hades remains; in the Book of Sirach it also still throws its deep shadows (17:22f.) into the contemplation of the future; for the first time the N.T. solution actually removes the confusion, and turns the scale in favour of the view of death on its side of light. In this history of the ideas of eternity moving forward amid many fluctuations to the N.T. goal, a significant place belongs to the Book of Koheleth; certainly the Christian interpreter ought not to have an interest in explaining away and concealing the imperfections of knowledge which made it impossible for the author spiritually to rise above his pessimism. He does not rise, in contrast to his pessimism, above an eudaemonism which is earthly, which, without knowing of a future life (not like the modern pessimism, without wishing to know of a future life), recommends a pleasant enjoyment of the present life, so far as that is morally allowable:

Ecclesiastes 9:12 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

man

Ecclesiastes 8:5-7,11 Whoever keeps the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerns both time and judgment...

Luke 19:42-44 Saying, If you had known, even you, at least in this your day...

2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he said, I have heard you in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored you: behold, now is the accepted time...

1 Peter 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works...

as the fishes

Proverbs 7:22,23 He goes after her straightway, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks...

Habakkuk 1:14-17 And make men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them...

2 Timothy 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

the sons

Job 18:8-10 For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walks on a snare...

Psalm 11:6 On the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.

Psalm 73:18-20 Surely you did set them in slippery places: you cast them down into destruction...

Proverbs 6:15 Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.

Proverbs 29:6 In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous does sing and rejoice.

Isaiah 30:13 Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall...

Luke 12:20,39 But God said to him, You fool, this night your soul shall be required of you: then whose shall those things be...

Luke 17:26-31 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man...

Luke 21:34-36 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life...

1 Thessalonians 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes on them, as travail on a woman with child...

2 Peter 2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not...

Cross References
Luke 21:34
"But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.

Luke 21:35
For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.

Proverbs 7:23
till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.

Proverbs 29:6
An evil man is ensnared in his transgression, but a righteous man sings and rejoices.

Ecclesiastes 3:19
For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 8:7
For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be?

Ecclesiastes 9:13
I have also seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great to me.

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