Ecclesiastes 2:19
New International Version
And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless.

New Living Translation
And who can tell whether my successors will be wise or foolish? Yet they will control everything I have gained by my skill and hard work under the sun. How meaningless!

English Standard Version
and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity.

Berean Study Bible
And who knows whether that man will be wise or foolish? Yet he will take over all the labor at which I have worked skillfully under the sun. This too is futile.

King James Bible
And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.

New King James Version
And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity.

New American Standard Bible
And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is futility.

NASB 1995
And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity.

NASB 1977
And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity.

Amplified Bible
And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity (futility, self-conceit).

Christian Standard Bible
And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will take over all my work that I labored at skillfully under the sun. This too is futile.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will take over all my work that I labored at skillfully under the sun. This too is futile.

American Standard Version
And who knoweth whether he will be a wise man or a fool? yet will he have rule over all my labor wherein I have labored, and wherein I have showed myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And who will know if he shall be wise or a fool, and he will be authorized over all my labors that I wrought and when I was made wise under the sun, and this also is futility

Brenton Septuagint Translation
And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? and whether he will have power over all my labour in which I laboured, and wherein I grew wise under the sun? this is also vanity.

Contemporary English Version
Who knows if those people will be sensible or stupid? Either way, they will own everything I have earned by hard work and wisdom. It doesn't make sense.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Whom I know not whether he will be a wise man or a fool, and he shall have rule over all my labours with which I have laboured and been solicitous: and is there any thing so vain?

English Revised Version
And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity.

Good News Translation
and he might be wise, or he might be foolish--who knows? Yet he will own everything I have worked for, everything my wisdom has earned for me in this world. It is all useless.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? He will still have control over everything under the sun for which I worked so hard and used my wisdom. Even this is pointless.

International Standard Version
And who knows whether he will be wise or foolish? Either way, he will take possession of everything that I have done on earth, especially where I have excelled. This also is pointless.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And who knoweth whether he will be a wise man or a fool? yet will he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity.

Literal Standard Version
And who knows whether he is wise or foolish? Yet he rules over all my labor that I have labored at, and that I have done wisely under the sun! This [is] also vanity.

NET Bible
Who knows if he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will be master over all the fruit of my labor for which I worked so wisely on earth! This also is futile!

New Heart English Bible
Who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have rule over all of my labor in which I have labored, and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity.

World English Bible
Who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have rule over all of my labor in which I have labored, and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity.

Young's Literal Translation
And who knoweth whether he is wise or foolish? yet he doth rule over all my labour that I have laboured at, and that I have done wisely under the sun! this also is vanity.

Additional Translations ...
Context
The Futility of Work
18I hated all for which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who comes after me. 19And who knows whether that man will be wise or foolish? Yet he will take over all the labor at which I have worked skillfully under the sun. This too is futile. 20So my heart began to despair over all the labor that I had done under the sun.…

Cross References
1 Timothy 6:10
For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. By craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

1 Kings 12:13
And the king answered the people harshly. He rejected the advice of the elders

Ecclesiastes 2:20
So my heart began to despair over all the labor that I had done under the sun.


Treasury of Scripture

And who knows whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labor wherein I have labored, and wherein I have showed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.

who knoweth

Ecclesiastes 3:22
Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?

1 Kings 12:14
And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

1 Kings 14:25-28
And it came to pass in the fifth year of king Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem: …

wise under

Ecclesiastes 9:13
This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me:

Luke 16:8
And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.

James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.









(19) Have rule.--The word occurs again in Ecclesiastes 6:2; Ecclesiastes 8:9; elsewhere only in Nehemiah and Esther. and in Psalm 119:133.

Verse 19. - Who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? The bitter feeling that he has to leave the fruits of his lifelong labor to another is aggravated by the thought that he knows not the character of this successor, whether he will be worthy or not. As the psalmist says, "He heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them" (Psalm 39:6). Again in the parable, "The things which thou hast prepared, whose shall they be?" (Luke 12:20; comp. Ecclus. 11:18, 19). Yet shall he have rule, etc. Whatever may be his character, he will have free use and control of all that I have gathered by my labor directed by prudence and wisdom. Vulgate, Domina-bitur in laboribus meis quibus desudavi et sollicitus fui.

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
And who
וּמִ֣י (ū·mî)
Conjunctive waw | Interrogative
Strong's 4310: Who?, whoever, in oblique construction with prefix, suffix

knows
יוֹדֵ֗עַ (yō·w·ḏê·a‘)
Verb - Qal - Participle - masculine singular
Strong's 3045: To know

whether he will be
יִהְיֶה֙ (yih·yeh)
Verb - Qal - Imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 1961: To fall out, come to pass, become, be

a wise
הֶֽחָכָ֤ם (he·ḥā·ḵām)
Article | Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's 2450: Wise

man or
א֣וֹ (’ōw)
Conjunction
Strong's 176: Desire, if

a fool?
סָכָ֔ל (sā·ḵāl)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 5530: A fool

Yet he will take
וְיִשְׁלַט֙ (wə·yiš·laṭ)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Conjunctive imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 7980: To dominate, govern, to permit

over all
בְּכָל־ (bə·ḵāl)
Preposition-b | Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's 3605: The whole, all, any, every

the labor
עֲמָלִ֔י (‘ă·mā·lî)
Noun - masculine singular construct | first person common singular
Strong's 5999: Toil, wearing effort, worry, wheth, of body, mind

at which I have worked
שֶֽׁעָמַ֥לְתִּי (še·‘ā·mal·tî)
Pronoun - relative | Verb - Qal - Perfect - first person common singular
Strong's 5998: To toil, work severely and with irksomeness

skillfully
וְשֶׁחָכַ֖מְתִּי (wə·še·ḥā·ḵam·tî)
Conjunctive waw, Pr | Verb - Qal - Conjunctive perfect - first person common singular
Strong's 2449: To be wise

under
תַּ֣חַת (ta·ḥaṯ)
Preposition
Strong's 8478: The bottom, below, in lieu of

the sun.
הַשָּׁ֑מֶשׁ (haš·šā·meš)
Article | Noun - common singular
Strong's 8121: The sun, the east, a ray, a notched battlement

This
זֶ֖ה (zeh)
Pronoun - masculine singular
Strong's 2088: This, that

too
גַּם־ (gam-)
Conjunction
Strong's 1571: Assemblage, also, even, yea, though, both, and

is futile.
הָֽבֶל׃ (hā·ḇel)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 1892: Emptiness, vanity, transitory, unsatisfactory


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OT Poetry: Ecclesiastes 2:19 Who knows whether he will be (Ecclesiast. Ec Ecc Eccles.)
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