Ecclesiastes 9:11
New International Version
I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.

New Living Translation
I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.

English Standard Version
Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.

Berean Study Bible
I saw something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; neither is the bread to the wise, nor the wealth to the intelligent, nor the favor to the skillful. For time and chance happen to all.

New American Standard Bible
I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all.

New King James Version
I returned and saw under the sun that— The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all.

King James Bible
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Christian Standard Bible
Again I saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, or the battle to the strong, or bread to the wise, or riches to the discerning, or favor to the skillful; rather, time and chance happen to all of them.

Contemporary English Version
Here is something else I have learned: The fastest runners and the greatest heroes don't always win races and battles. Wisdom, intelligence, and skill don't always make you healthy, rich, or popular. We each have our own share of misfortune.

Good News Translation
I realized another thing, that in this world fast runners do not always win the races, and the brave do not always win the battles. The wise do not always earn a living, intelligent people do not always get rich, and capable people do not always rise to high positions. Bad luck happens to everyone.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Again I saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, or the battle to the strong, or bread to the wise, or riches to the discerning, or favor to the skillful; rather, time and chance happen to all of them.

International Standard Version
I considered and observed on earth the following: The race doesn't go to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor food to the wise, nor wealth to the smart, nor recognition to the skilled. Instead, timing and circumstances meet them all.

NET Bible
Again, I observed this on the earth: the race is not always won by the swiftest, the battle is not always won by the strongest; prosperity does not always belong to those who are the wisest, wealth does not always belong to those who are the most discerning, nor does success always come to those with the most knowledge--for time and chance may overcome them all.

New Heart English Bible
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I saw something else under the sun. The race isn't [won] by fast runners, or the battle by heroes. Wise people don't necessarily have food. Intelligent people don't necessarily have riches, and skilled people don't necessarily receive special treatment. But time and unpredictable events overtake all of them.

JPS Tanakh 1917
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

New American Standard 1977
I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise, nor wealth to the discerning, nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all.

Jubilee Bible 2000
I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of prudence, nor yet grace to men of eloquence; but time and chance happens to them all.

King James 2000 Bible
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all.

American King James Version
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all.

American Standard Version
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Brenton Septuagint Translation
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor yet bread to the wise, nor yet wealth to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of knowledge; for time and chance will happen to them all.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I turned me to another thing, and I saw that under the sun, the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the learned, nor favour to the skilful: but time and chance in all.

Darby Bible Translation
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to the intelligent, nor yet favour to men of knowledge; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

English Revised Version
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but fame and chance happeneth to them all.

Webster's Bible Translation
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

World English Bible
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.

Young's Literal Translation
I have turned so as to see under the sun, that not to the swift is the race, nor to the mighty the battle, nor even to the wise bread, nor even to the intelligent wealth, nor even to the skilful grace, for time and chance happen with them all.
Study Bible
Enjoy Your Portion in This Life
10Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might, for in Sheol, where you are going, there is no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom. 11I saw something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; neither is the bread to the wise, nor the wealth to the intelligent, nor the favor to the skillful; rather, time and chance happen to all. 12For surely no man knows his time: Like fish caught in a cruel net or birds trapped in a snare, so men are ensnared in an evil time that suddenly falls upon them.…
Cross References
Deuteronomy 8:17
You may say in your heart, "The power and the strength of my hand has made this wealth for me."

Deuteronomy 8:18
But remember that it is the LORD your God who gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm His covenant that He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

1 Samuel 6:9
but keep watching it. If it goes up the road to its homeland, toward Beth-shemesh, it is the LORD who has brought on us this great disaster. But if it does not, then we will know that it was not His hand that punished us and that it happened by chance."

2 Chronicles 20:15
And he said, "Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the LORD says: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army, for the battle does not belong to you, but to God.

Psalm 76:5
The valiant lie plundered; they sleep their last sleep. No men of might could lift a hand.

Proverbs 1:5
let the wise listen and gain instruction, and the discerning acquire wise counsel--

Ecclesiastes 9:2
It is the same for all: There is a common fate for the righteous and the wicked, for the good and the bad, for the clean and the unclean, for the one who sacrifices and the one who does not. As it is for the good, so it is for the sinner; as it is for the one who makes a vow, so it is for the one who refuses to take a vow.

Jeremiah 9:23
This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, nor the strong man in his strength, nor the wealthy man in his riches.

Amos 2:14
Escape will fail the swift, the strong will not prevail by his strength, and the mighty will not save his life.

Amos 2:15
The archer will not stand his ground, the fleet of foot will not escape, and the horseman will not save his life.

Zechariah 4:6
So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of Hosts.

Treasury of Scripture

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all.

returned

Ecclesiastes 2:12
And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done.

Ecclesiastes 4:1,4
So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter…

Malachi 3:18
Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

that the race

1 Samuel 17:50
So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.

2 Samuel 2:18-23
And there were three sons of Zeruiah there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel: and Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe…

2 Samuel 17:14,23
And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the LORD had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring evil upon Absalom…

but

Ecclesiastes 2:14,15
The wise man's eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all…

Ecclesiastes 3:14-17
I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him…

Ecclesiastes 7:13
Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?







Lexicon
I saw
וְרָאֹ֣ה (wə·rā·’ōh)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Infinitive absolute
Strong's Hebrew 7200: To see

something else
שַׁ֜בְתִּי (šaḇ·tî)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - first person common singular
Strong's Hebrew 7725: To turn back, in, to retreat, again

under
תַֽחַת־ (ṯa·ḥaṯ-)
Preposition
Strong's Hebrew 8478: The bottom, below, in lieu of

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

The race
הַמֵּר֜וֹץ (ham·mê·rō·wṣ)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 4793: A running, a race

is not
לֹא֩ (lō)
Adverb - Negative particle
Strong's Hebrew 3808: Not, no

to the swift,
לַקַּלִּ֨ים (laq·qal·lîm)
Preposition-l, Article | Adjective - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 7031: Light, swift, fleet

nor the battle
הַמִּלְחָמָ֗ה (ham·mil·ḥā·māh)
Article | Noun - feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 4421: A battle, war

to the strong;
לַגִּבּוֹרִ֣ים (lag·gib·bō·w·rîm)
Preposition-l, Article | Adjective - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 1368: Powerful, warrior, tyrant

neither [is]
לֹ֣א (lō)
Adverb - Negative particle
Strong's Hebrew 3808: Not, no

the bread
לֶ֙חֶם֙ (le·ḥem)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3899: Food, bread, grain

to the wise,
לַחֲכָמִ֥ים (la·ḥă·ḵā·mîm)
Preposition-l, Article | Adjective - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 2450: Wise

nor
וְגַ֨ם (wə·ḡam)
Conjunctive waw | Conjunction
Strong's Hebrew 1571: Assemblage, also, even, yea, though, both, and

the wealth
עֹ֔שֶׁר (‘ō·šer)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 6239: Wealth

to the intelligent,
לַנְּבֹנִים֙ (lan·nə·ḇō·nîm)
Preposition-l, Article | Verb - Nifal - Participle - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 995: To separate mentally, understand

nor
וְגַ֛ם (wə·ḡam)
Conjunctive waw | Conjunction
Strong's Hebrew 1571: Assemblage, also, even, yea, though, both, and

the favor
חֵ֑ן (ḥên)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2580: Graciousness, subjective, objective

to the skillful;
לַיֹּדְעִ֖ים (lay·yō·ḏə·‘îm)
Preposition-l, Article | Verb - Qal - Participle - masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 3045: To know

rather,
כִּי־ (kî-)
Conjunction
Strong's Hebrew 3588: A relative conjunction

time
עֵ֥ת (‘êṯ)
Noun - common singular
Strong's Hebrew 6256: Time, now, when

and chance
וָפֶ֖גַע (wā·p̄e·ḡa‘)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 6294: Occurrence, chance

happen
יִקְרֶ֥ה (yiq·reh)
Verb - Qal - Imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 7136: To light upon, to bring about, to impose timbers

to all.
כֻּלָּֽם׃ (kul·lām)
Noun - masculine singular construct | third person masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 3605: The whole, all, any, every
-11Romans 9:16.

Chance.--Elsewhere only in 1Kings 5:4.

Verses 11, 12. - Section 8. It is impossible to calculate upon the issues and duration of life. Verse 11. - He reverts to the sentiment of ver. 1, that we cannot calculate on the issues of life. Work as we may and must and ought, the results are uncertain and beyond our control. This he shows by his own personal experience. I returned, and saw under the sun. The expression here does not indicate a new departure, but merely a repetition and confirmation of a previous thought - the dependence and conditionality of man. It implies, too, a correction of a possible misunderstanding of the injunction to labor, as if one's own efforts were sure to secure success. The race is not to the swift. One is reminded of the fable of the hare and tortoise; but Koheleth's meaning is different. In the instances given he intimates that, though a man is well equipped for his work and uses all possible exertions, he may incur failure. So one may be a fleet runner, and yet, owing to some untoward accident or disturbing circumstance, not come in first. Thus Ahimaaz brought to David tidings of Absalom's defeat before Cushi, who had had the start of him (2 Samuel 18:27, 31). There is no occasion to invent an allusion to the foot-race in the formal Greek games. The battle to the strong. Victory does not always accrue to mighty men, heroes. As David, himself an instance of the truth of the maxim, says (1 Samuel 17:47), "The Lord saveth not with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's" (comp. 2 Chronicles 20:15; Psalm 33:16). Neither yet bread to the wise. Wisdom will not ensure competency. To do this requires other endowments. Many a man of cultivated intellect and of high mental power is left to starve. Riches to men of understanding. Aristophanes accounts for the unequal distribution of wealth thus ('Plutus,' 88), the god himself speaking-

"I threatened, when a boy,
On none but just and wise and orderly
My favors to bestow; so Zeus in jealousy
Hath made me blind, that I may none of these Distinguish."
Nor yet favor to men of skill. "Skill" here does not mean dexterity in handicrafts or arts, but knowledge generally; and the gnome says that reputation and influence do not necessarily accompany the possession of knowledge and learning; knowledge is not a certain or indispensable means to favor. Says the Greek gnomist -

Τύχης τὰ θνητῶν πράγματ οὐκ εὐβουλίας.

"Not prudence rules, but fortune, men's affairs." That time and chance happeneth to them all. We have had the word eth, "time," all through Ecclesiastes 3. and elsewhere; but פֶגַע, rendered "chance," is uncommon, being found only in 1 Kings 5:4 (18, Hebrew). Everything has its proper season appointed by God, and man is powerless to control these arrangements. Our English word "chance" conveys an erroneous impression. What is meant is rather "incident," such as a calamity, disappointment, unforeseen occurrence. All human purposes are liable to be changed or controlled by circumstances beyond man's power, and incapable of explanation. A hand higher than man's disposes events, and success is conditioned by superior laws which work unexpected results. 9:11,12 Men's success seldom equals their expectations. We must use means, but not trust to them: if we succeed, we must give God the praise; if crossed, we must submit to his will. Those who put off the great concerns of their souls, are caught in Satan's net, which he baits with some worldly object, for which they reject or neglect the gospel, and go on in sin till they suddenly fall into destruction.
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Alphabetical: ability again all and battle bread brilliant but chance come discerning does else favor food for happen have I is learned men neither nor not of or overtake race saw seen something strong sun swift that the them time to under warriors wealth wise

OT Poetry: Ecclesiastes 9:11 I returned and saw under the sun (Ecclesiast. Ec Ecc Eccles.) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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