New International Version
Since a king's word is supreme, who can say to him, "What are you doing?"
King James Bible
Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?
Darby Bible Translation
because the word of a king is power; and who may say unto him, What doest thou?
World English Bible
for the king's word is supreme. Who can say to him, "What are you doing?"
Young's Literal Translation
Where the word of a king is power is, and who saith to him, 'What dost thou?'
Ecclesiastes 8:4 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
Be not hasty - I consider the first five verses here as directions to courtiers, and the more immediate servants of kings.
Be steadily faithful to your sovereign. Do not stand in an evil thing. If you have done wrong, do not endeavor to vindicate yourself before him; it is of no use; his power is absolute, and he will do what he pleases. He will take his own view of the subject, and he will retain it. The language of a despotic sovereign was ever this, Sic volo sic jubeo, stat pro ratione voluntas; "I will this. I command that. No hesitation! My will is law!" Therefore it is added here, Where the word of a king is, there is power - influence, authority, and the sword. And who may say unto him, whether he acts right or wrong, What doest thou? Ecclesiastes 8:4. No wonder in such governments there are so many revolutions; but they are revolutions without amendment, as it is one tyrant rising up to destroy another, who, when seated in authority, acts in the way of his predecessor; till another, like himself, do to him as he has done to the former. In our country, after a long trial, we find that a mixed monarchy is the safest, best, and most useful form of government: we have had, it is true, unprincipled ministers, who wished to turn our limited into an absolute monarchy; and they were always ready to state that an absolute monarchy was best. Granted; provided the monarch be as wise, as holy, and as powerful as God!
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
'Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil'--ECCLES. viii. 11. When the Pharaoh of the Exodus saw there was respite, he hardened his heart. Abject in his fear before Moses, he was ready to promise anything; insolent in his pride, he swallows down his promises as soon as fear is eased, his repentance and his retractation of it combined to add new weights about his neck. He was but a conspicuous example of …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Whether Christ Should have Been Circumcised?
If he snatches away, who can stop him? Who can say to him, 'What are you doing?'
All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: "What have you done?"
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