Ecclesiastes 6:9
New International Version
Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

New Living Translation
Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless—like chasing the wind.

English Standard Version
Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the appetite: this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Berean Study Bible
Better what the eye can see than the wandering of desire. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.

King James Bible
Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.

New King James Version
Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

New American Standard Bible
What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires. This too is futility and striving after wind.

NASB 1995
What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires. This too is futility and a striving after wind.

NASB 1977
What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires. This too is futility and a striving after wind.

Amplified Bible
What the eyes see [enjoying what is available] is better than [craving] what the soul desires. This too is futility and chasing after the wind.

Christian Standard Bible
Better what the eyes see than wandering desire. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Better what the eyes see than wandering desire. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.

American Standard Version
Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Better the sight of the eyes than the going of the soul, and this also is futility and agitation of the soul

Brenton Septuagint Translation
The sight of the eyes is better than that which wanders in soul: this is also vanity, and waywardness of spirit.

Contemporary English Version
It's better to enjoy what we have than to always want something else, because that makes no more sense than chasing the wind.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Better it is to see what thou mayst desire, than to desire that which thou canst not know. But this also is vanity, and presumption of spirit.

English Revised Version
Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Good News Translation
It is useless; it is like chasing the wind. It is better to be satisfied with what you have than to be always wanting something else.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
It is better to look at what is in front of you than to go looking for what you want. Even this is pointless. [It's like] trying to catch the wind.

International Standard Version
It is better to focus on what you can see than to meander after your self-interest; this also is pointless and a chasing after wind.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Better is the seeing of the eyes than the wandering of the desire; this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Literal Standard Version
Better [is] the sight of the eyes than the going of the soul. This [is] also vanity and distress of spirit.

NET Bible
It is better to be content with what the eyes can see than for one's heart always to crave more. This continual longing is futile--like chasing the wind.

New Heart English Bible
Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire. This also is vanity and a chasing after wind.

World English Bible
Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire. This also is vanity and a chasing after wind.

Young's Literal Translation
Better is the sight of the eyes than the going of the soul. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

Additional Translations ...
Context
The Futility of Life
8What advantage, then, has the wise man over the fool? What gain comes to the poor man who knows how to conduct himself before others? 9Better what the eye can see than the wandering of desire. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind. 10Whatever exists was named long ago, and what happens to a man is foreknown; but he cannot contend with one stronger than he.…

Cross References
Ecclesiastes 1:14
I have seen all the things that are done under the sun, and have found them all to be futile, a pursuit of the wind.

Ecclesiastes 1:17
So I set my mind to know wisdom and madness and folly; I learned that this, too, is a pursuit of the wind.

Ecclesiastes 11:9
Rejoice, O young man, while you are young, and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and in the sight of your eyes, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment.


Treasury of Scripture

Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.

better

Ecclesiastes 2:24
There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.

Ecclesiastes 3:12,13
I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life…

Ecclesiastes 5:18
Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.

wandering of the desire

Job 31:7
If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands;

Proverbs 30:15,16
The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough: …

Jeremiah 2:20
For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot.

this

Ecclesiastes 6:2
A man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it: this is vanity, and it is an evil disease.

Ecclesiastes 1:2,14
Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity…

Ecclesiastes 2:11,22,23
Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun…









Verse 9. - Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire (nephesh, "the soul," ver. 7). This is a further confirmation of the misery and unrest that accompany immoderate desires. "The sight of the eyes" means the enjoyment of the present, that which lies before one, in contrast to the restless craving for what is distant, uncertain, and out of reach. The lesson taught is to make the best of existing circumstances, to enjoy the present, to control the roaming of fancy, and to narrow the vast field of appetency. We have a striking expression in Wisd. 4:12, ῤεμβασμὸς ἐπιθυμίας by which is denoted the giddiness, the reeling intoxication, caused by unrestrained passion. The Roman satirist lashed the sin of unscrupulous greed-

"Seal quae reverentia legum,
Quis rectus aut pudor eat unquam properantis avari?"


(Juven., 'Sat.,' 14:177.)

"Nor law, nor checks of conscience will he hear,
When in hot scent of gain and full career."


(Dryden.) Zockler quotes Horace, 'Epist.,' 1:18. 96, sqq -

"Inter cuncta leges et percontabere doctos,
Qua ratione queas traducere leniter aevum;
Num te semper inops agitet vexetque cupido,
Num paver et return mediocriter utilium spes."


"To sum up all -
Consult and con the wise
In what the art of true contentment lies:
How fear and hope, that rack the human will,
Are but vain dreams of things nor good nor ill."


(Howes.) Marc. Aurel., 'Meditat.,' 4:26, Has any advantage happened to you? It is the bounty of fate. It was all preordained you by the universal cause. Upon the whole, life is but short, therefore be just and prudent, and make your most of it; and when you divert yourself, be always on your guard' (J. Collier). Well is it added that this insatiability of the soul, which never leads to contentment, is vanity and vexation of spirit, a feeding on wind, empty, unsatisfying. Commentators refer in illustration to the fable of the dog and the shadow, and the proverb, A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
Better
ט֛וֹב (ṭō·wḇ)
Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's 2896: Pleasant, agreeable, good

what the eye
עֵינַ֖יִם (‘ê·na·yim)
Noun - cd
Strong's 5869: An eye, a fountain

can see
מַרְאֵ֥ה (mar·’êh)
Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's 4758: Sight, appearance, vision

than the wandering
מֵֽהֲלָךְ־ (mê·hă·lāḵ-)
Preposition-m | Verb - Qal - Infinitive construct
Strong's 1980: To go, come, walk

of desire.
נָ֑פֶשׁ (nā·p̄eš)
Noun - feminine singular
Strong's 5315: A soul, living being, life, self, person, desire, passion, appetite, emotion

This
זֶ֥ה (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
הֶ֖בֶל (he·ḇel)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 1892: Emptiness, vanity, transitory, unsatisfactory

and a pursuit
וּרְע֥וּת (ū·rə·‘ūṯ)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - feminine singular construct
Strong's 7469: A feeding upon, grasping after

of the wind.
רֽוּחַ׃ (rū·aḥ)
Noun - common singular
Strong's 7307: Wind, breath, exhalation, life, anger, unsubstantiality, a region of the sky, spirit


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