Ecclesiastes 1:13
Parallel Verses
New International Version
I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind!

King James Bible
And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.

Darby Bible Translation
And I applied my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under the heavens: this grievous occupation hath God given to the children of men to weary themselves therewith.

World English Bible
I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under the sky. It is a heavy burden that God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with.

Young's Literal Translation
And I have given my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom concerning all that hath been done under the heavens. It is a sad travail God hath given to the sons of man to be humbled by it.

Ecclesiastes 1:13 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

And I gave my heart to seek and search - While Solomon was faithful to his God he diligently cultivated his mind. His giving himself to the study of natural history, philosophy, poetry, etc., are sufficient proofs of it. He had not intuitive knowledge from God; but he had a capacity to obtain every kind of knowledge useful to man.

This sore travail - This is the way in which knowledge is to be acquired; and in order to investigate the operations of nature, the most laborious discussions and perplexing experiments must be instituted, and conducted to their proper results. It is God's determination that knowledge shall be acquired in no other way.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

i gave

Ecclesiastes 1:17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.

Ecclesiastes 7:25 I applied my heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly...

Ecclesiastes 8:9,16,17 All this have I seen, and applied my heart to every work that is done under the sun...

Psalm 111:2 The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.

Proverbs 2:2-4 So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding...

Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all your getting get understanding.

Proverbs 18:1,15 Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeks and intermeddles with all wisdom...

Proverbs 23:26 My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.

1 Timothy 4:15 Meditate on these things; give yourself wholly to them; that your profiting may appear to all.

this sore

Ecclesiastes 3:10 I have seen the travail, which God has given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

Ecclesiastes 4:4 Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbor...

Ecclesiastes 12:12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return to the ground; for out of it were you taken: for dust you are...

to be exercised or to afflict them

Library
Two views of Life
'This sore travail hath God given to the sons of man, to be exercised therewith.--ECCLES. i. 13. 'He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.'--HEBREWS xii. 10. These two texts set before us human life as it looks to two observers. The former admits that God shapes it; but to him it seems sore travail, the expenditure of much trouble and efforts; the results of which seem to be nothing beyond profitless exercise. There is an immense activity and nothing to show for it at the end
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Eusebius' Birth and Training. His Life in Cæsarea Until the Outbreak of the Persecution.
Our author was commonly known among the ancients as Eusebius of Cæsarea or Eusebius Pamphili. The former designation arose from the fact that he was bishop of the church in Cæsarea for many years; the latter from the fact that he was the intimate friend and devoted admirer of Pamphilus, a presbyter of Cæsarea and a martyr. Some such specific appellation was necessary to distinguish him from others of the same name. Smith and Wace's Dictionary of Christian Biography mentions 137
Eusebius Pamphilius—Church History

How to Make Use of Christ as the Truth, for Growth in Knowledge.
It is a commanded duty, that we grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, 2 Pet. iii. 18; and the knowledge of him being life eternal, John xvii. 3, and our measure of knowledge of him here being but imperfect, for we know but in part, it cannot but be an useful duty, and a desirable thing, to be growing in this knowledge. This is to walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, to be increasing in the knowledge of God, Col. i. 10. Knowledge must be added to virtue; and it layeth a ground for other Christian
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

Joy
'The fruit of the Spirit is joy.' Gal 5:52. The third fruit of justification, adoption, and sanctification, is joy in the Holy Ghost. Joy is setting the soul upon the top of a pinnacle - it is the cream of the sincere milk of the word. Spiritual joy is a sweet and delightful passion, arising from the apprehension and feeling of some good, whereby the soul is supported under present troubles, and fenced against future fear. I. It is a delightful passion. It is contrary to sorrow, which is a perturbation
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Cross References
Job 28:3
Mortals put an end to the darkness; they search out the farthest recesses for ore in the blackest darkness.

Ecclesiastes 1:17
Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.

Ecclesiastes 2:23
All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.

Ecclesiastes 2:26
To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Ecclesiastes 3:10
I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.

Ecclesiastes 3:11
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes 4:8
There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. "For whom am I toiling," he asked, "and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?" This too is meaningless-- a miserable business!

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