Ecclesiastes 5:16
New International Version
This too is a grievous evil: As everyone comes, so they depart, and what do they gain, since they toil for the wind?

New Living Translation
And this, too, is a very serious problem. People leave this world no better off than when they came. All their hard work is for nothing—like working for the wind.

English Standard Version
This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind?

Berean Study Bible
This too is a grievous evil: Exactly as a man is born, so he will depart. What does he gain as he toils for the wind?

King James Bible
And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?

New King James Version
And this also is a severe evil— Just exactly as he came, so shall he go. And what profit has he who has labored for the wind?

New American Standard Bible
This also is a sickening evil: exactly as a person is born, so will he die. What then is the advantage for him who labors for the wind?

NASB 1995
This also is a grievous evil— exactly as a man is born, thus will he die. So what is the advantage to him who toils for the wind?

NASB 1977
And this also is a grievous evil—exactly as a man is born, thus will he die. So, what is the advantage to him who toils for the wind?

Amplified Bible
This also is a grievous evil—exactly as he was born, so he shall die. So what advantage has he who labors for the wind?

Christian Standard Bible
This too is a sickening tragedy: exactly as he comes, so he will go. What does the one gain who struggles for the wind?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
This too is a sickening tragedy: exactly as he comes, so he will go. What does the one gain who struggles for the wind?

American Standard Version
And this also is a grievous evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that he laboreth for the wind?

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And this also is an evil disease, for as he comes, so he goes, and what is the profit in all that he labored for the wind?

Brenton Septuagint Translation
And this is also an evil infirmity: for as he came, so also shall he return: and what is his gain, for which he vainly labours?

Contemporary English Version
That's terribly unfair. They leave the world just as they came. They gained nothing from running after the wind.

Douay-Rheims Bible
A most deplorable evil: as he came, so shall he return. What then doth it profit him that he hath laboured for the wind?

English Revised Version
And this also is a grievous evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that he laboureth for the wind?

Good News Translation
It isn't right! We go just as we came. We labor, trying to catch the wind, and what do we get?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
This also is a painful tragedy: They leave exactly as they came. What advantage do they gain from working so hard for the wind?

International Standard Version
This is also a painful tragedy: However a person comes, he also departs; so what does he gain as he labors after the wind?

JPS Tanakh 1917
And this also is a grievous evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go; and what profit hath he that he laboureth for the wind?

Literal Standard Version
And this also [is] a painful evil, just as he came, so he goes, and what advantage [is] to him who labors for wind?

NET Bible
This is another misfortune: Just as he came, so will he go. What did he gain from toiling for the wind?

New Heart English Bible
This also is a grievous evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go. And what profit does he have who labors for the wind?

World English Bible
This also is a grievous evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go. And what profit does he have who labors for the wind?

Young's Literal Translation
And this also is a painful evil, just as he came, so he goeth, and what advantage is to him who laboureth for wind?

Additional Translations ...
Context
The Futility of Wealth
15As a man came from his mother’s womb, so he will depart again, naked as he arrived. He takes nothing for his labor to carry in his hands. 16This too is a grievous evil: Exactly as a man is born, so he will depart. What does he gain as he toils for the wind? 17Moreover, all his days he eats in darkness, with much sorrow, sickness, and anger.…

Cross References
1 Corinthians 16:16
to submit to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer.

Proverbs 11:29
He who brings trouble on his house will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.

Ecclesiastes 1:3
What does a man gain from all his labor, at which he toils under the sun?

Ecclesiastes 2:11
Yet when I considered all the works that my hands had accomplished and what I had toiled to achieve, I found everything to be futile, a pursuit of the wind; there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 3:9
What does the worker gain from his toil?


Treasury of Scripture

And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit has he that has labored for the wind?

a sore

Ecclesiastes 5:13
There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.

Ecclesiastes 2:22,23
For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? …

what

1 Samuel 12:21
And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain.

Jeremiah 2:8
The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.

Mark 8:36
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

for

Ecclesiastes 1:3
What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?

Proverbs 11:29
He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.

Isaiah 26:18
We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.









Verse 16. - This also is a sore evil. The thought of ver. 15 is emphatically repeated. In all points as he came; i.e. naked, helpless. And what profit hath he that laboreth for the wind? The answer is emphatically "nothing." We have had similar questions in Ecclesiastes 1:3; Ecclesiastes 2:22; Ecclesiastes 3:9. To labor for the wind is to toil with no result, like the "feeding on wind, pursuing of vanity," which is the key-note of the book. The wind is the type of all that is empty, delusive, unsubstantial. In Proverbs 11:29 we have the phrase, "to inherit the wind." Job calls futile arguments "words of wind" (Job 16:3; Job 15:2). Thus the Greek proverb Ἀνέμους θ᾿ρᾶν ἐν δικτύος to try to catch the wind:" and the Latin, "Ventos pascere," and "Ventos colere "(see Erasmus, 'Adag.,' s.v. "Inanis opera"). Septuagint, Καὶ τίς ἡ περίσσεια αὐτοῦ η΅ι μοχθεῖ εἰς ἄνεμον; "And what is his gain for which he labors for the wind?"

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
This
זֹה֙ (zōh)
Pronoun - feminine singular
Strong's 2090: This, that

too
וְגַם־ (wə·ḡam-)
Conjunctive waw | Conjunction
Strong's 1571: Assemblage, also, even, yea, though, both, and

is a grievous
חוֹלָ֔ה (ḥō·w·lāh)
Verb - Qal - Participle - feminine singular
Strong's 2470: To be weak or sick

evil:
רָעָ֣ה (rā·‘āh)
Adjective - feminine singular
Strong's 7451: Bad, evil

Exactly as
כָּל־ (kāl-)
Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's 3605: The whole, all, any, every

a man is born,
שֶׁבָּ֖א (šeb·bā)
Pronoun - relative | Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 935: To come in, come, go in, go

so
כֵּ֣ן (kên)
Adverb
Strong's 3651: So -- thus

he will depart.
יֵלֵ֑ךְ (yê·lêḵ)
Verb - Qal - Imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 1980: To go, come, walk

What
וּמַה־ (ū·mah-)
Conjunctive waw | Interrogative
Strong's 4100: What?, what!, indefinitely what

does he gain
יִּתְר֣וֹן (yiṯ·rō·wn)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 3504: Preeminence, gain

as he toils
שֶֽׁיַּעֲמֹ֖ל (še·ya·‘ă·mōl)
Pronoun - relative | Verb - Qal - Imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 5998: To toil, work severely and with irksomeness

for the wind?
לָרֽוּחַ׃ (lā·rū·aḥ)
Preposition-l, Article | Noun - common singular
Strong's 7307: Wind, breath, exhalation, life, anger, unsubstantiality, a region of the sky, spirit


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OT Poetry: Ecclesiastes 5:16 This also is a grievous evil that (Ecclesiast. Ec Ecc Eccles.)
Ecclesiastes 5:15
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