New International Version
I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed the youth, the king's successor.
King James Bible
I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead.
Darby Bible Translation
I saw all the living that walk under the sun, with the child, the second, that should stand up in his stead.
World English Bible
I saw all the living who walk under the sun, that they were with the youth, the other, who succeeded him.
Young's Literal Translation
I have seen all the living, who are walking under the sun, with the second youth who doth stand in his place;
Ecclesiastes 4:15 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
With the second child that shall stand up - The Targum applies this to the case of Jeroboam and Rehoboam. History affords many instances of mean persons raised to sovereign authority, and of kings being reduced to the meanest offices, and to a morsel of bread. Agrippa himself ascended the throne of Israel after having been long in prison. See Josephus, Ant. lib. 18: c. 8. This the heathens attributed to fortune.
Si fortuna volet, fies de rhetore consul;
Si volet haec eadem, fies de consule rhetor.
Juv. Sat. vii., ver. 197.
Though I have given what the Jews suppose to be the allusion in these verses, yet the reader may doubt whether the reference be correct. There is a case implied, whether from fact or assumption I cannot say; but it seems to be this:
A king who had abused the authority vested in him by oppressing the people, had a son whose prudent conduct promised much comfort to the nation, when he should come to the throne. The father, seeing the popular wish, and becoming jealous of his son, shut him up in prison. In the interim the old king either dies or is deposed, and the son is brought out of prison, and placed on the throne. Then (Ecclesiastes 4:15, Ecclesiastes 4:16) multitudes of the people flock to him, and begin to walk under the sun; i.e., the prosperous state to which the nation is raised by its redemption from the former tyranny. However, the wise man insinuates that this sunshine will not last long. The young king, feeling the reins in his own hands, and being surrounded by those whose interest it was to flatter in order to obtain and continue in court favor, he also becomes corrupted so that those who come after shall have no cause of rejoicing in him. This appears to be the case; and similar cases have frequently occurred, not only in Asiatic, but also in European history, I have, in another place, referred to the case of Rushn Achter, who was brought out of prison and set upon the throne of Hindoostan. This is expressed in the following elegant Persian couplet, where his fortune is represented as similar to that of the patriarch Joseph: -
"The bright star is now become a moon:
Joseph is taken out of prison, and become a king."
Rushn Achter signifies a bright or splendid star.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
LibraryThe Order of Thought which Surrounded the Development of Jesus.
As the cooled earth no longer permits us to understand the phenomena of primitive creation, because the fire which penetrated it is extinct, so deliberate explanations have always appeared somewhat insufficient when applying our timid methods of induction to the revolutions of the creative epochs which have decided the fate of humanity. Jesus lived at one of those times when the game of public life is freely played, and when the stake of human activity is increased a hundredfold. Every great part, …
Ernest Renan—The Life of Jesus
The Upbringing of Jewish Children
The youth may have come from prison to the kingship, or he may have been born in poverty within his kingdom.
There was no end to all the people who were before them. But those who came later were not pleased with the successor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
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