Ecclesiastes 8:4
Parallel Verses
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
Commentary
Clarke'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

the word

1 Kings 2:25,29-34,46 And king Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he fell on him that he died...

Proverbs 19:12 The king's wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favor is as dew on the grass.

Proverbs 20:2 The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoever provokes him to anger sins against his own soul.

Proverbs 30:31 A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.

Daniel 3:15 Now if you be ready that at what time you hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer...

Luke 12:4,5 And I say to you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do...

Romans 13:1-4 Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God...

what

Job 33:12,13 Behold, in this you are not just: I will answer you, that God is greater than man...

Job 34:18,19 Is it fit to say to a king, You are wicked? and to princes, You are ungodly...

Romans 9:20 No but, O man, who are you that reply against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why have you made me thus?

Library
Misused Respite
'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?
Objection 1: It would seem that Christ should not have been circumcised. For on the advent of the reality, the figure ceases. But circumcision was prescribed to Abraham as a sign of the covenant concerning his posterity, as may be seen from Gn. 17. Now this covenant was fulfilled in Christ's birth. Therefore circumcision should have ceased at once. Objection 2: Further, "every action of Christ is a lesson to us" [*Innoc. III, Serm. xxii de Temp.]; wherefore it is written (Jn. 3:15): "I have given
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Ecclesiastes
It is not surprising that the book of Ecclesiastes had a struggle to maintain its place in the canon, and it was probably only its reputed Solomonic authorship and the last two verses of the book that permanently secured its position at the synod of Jamnia in 90 A.D. The Jewish scholars of the first century A.D. were struck by the manner in which it contradicted itself: e.g., "I praised the dead more than the living," iv. 2, "A living dog is better than a dead lion," ix. 4; but they were still more
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

Cross References
Job 9:12
If he snatches away, who can stop him? Who can say to him, 'What are you doing?'

Daniel 4:35
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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