Ecclesiastes 1:14
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.

King James Bible
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

American Standard Version
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold all is vanity, and vexation of spirit.

English Revised Version
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.

Webster's Bible Translation
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

Ecclesiastes 1:14 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

"All things are in activity; no man can utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, and the ear is not full with hearing." All translators and interpreters who understand devarim here of words (lxx, Syr., and Targ.) go astray; for if the author meant to say that no words can describe this everlasting sameness with perpetual change, then he would have expressed himself otherwise than by "all words weary" (Ew., Elst., Hengst., and others); he ought at least to have said לריק יג. But also "all things are wearisome" (Knob., Hitz.), or "full of labour" (Zck.), i.e., it is wearisome to relate them all, cannot be the meaning of the sentence; for יגע does not denote that which causes weariness, but that which suffers weariness (Deuteronomy 25:18; 2 Samuel 7:2); and to refer the affection, instead of to the narrator, to that which is to be narrated, would be even for a poet too affected a quid pro quo. Rosenmller essentially correctly: omnes res fatigantur h. e. in perpetua versantur vicissitudine, qua fatigantur quasi. But יגעים is not appropriately rendered by fatigantur; the word means, becoming wearied, or perfectly feeble, or also: wearying oneself (cf. Ecclesiastes 10:15; Ecclesiastes 12:12), working with a strain on one's strength, fatiguing oneself (cf.יגיע, that which is gained by labour, work). This is just what these four examples are meant to show, viz., that a restless activity reaching no visible conclusion and end, always beginning again anew, pervades the whole world-all things, he says, summarizing, are in labour, i.e., are restless, hastening on, giving the impression of fatigue.

Thus also in strict sequence of thought that which follows: this unrest in the outer world reflects itself in man, when he contemplates that which is done around him; human language cannot exhaust this coming and going, this growth and decay in constant circle, and the quodlibet is so great, that the eye cannot be satisfied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing; to the unrest of things without corresponds the unrest of the mind, which through this course, in these ever repeated variations, always bringing back the old again to view, is kept in ceaseless activity. The object to dǎbbēr is the totality of things. No words can comprehend this, no sensible perception exhaust it. That which is properly aimed at here is not the unsatisfiedness of the eyes (Proverbs 27:20), and generally of the mind, thus not the ever-new attractive power which appertains to the eye and the ear of him who observes, but the force with which the restless activity which surrounds us lays hold of and communicates itself to us, so that we also find no rest and contentment. With שׂבע, to be satisfied, of the eye, there is appropriately interchanged נמלא, used of the funnel-shaped ear, to be filled, i.e., to be satisfied (as at Ecclesiastes 6:7). The min connected with this latter word is explained by Zck. after Hitz., "away from hearing," i.e., so that it may hear no more. This is not necessary. As saava' with its min may signify to be satisfied with anything, e.g., Ecclesiastes 6:3, Job 19:22; Psalm 104:13; cf. Kal, Isaiah 2:6, Pih. Jeremiah 51:34; Psalm 127:5. Thus mishshemoa' is understood by all the old translators (e.g., Targ. מלּמשׁמע), and thus also, perhaps, the author meant it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, and the ear is not filled (satisfied) with hearing; or yet more in accordance with the Heb. expression: there is not an eye, i.e., no eye is satisfied, etc., restlessly hastening, giving him who looks no rest, the world goes on in its circling course without revealing anything that is in reality new.

Ecclesiastes 1:14 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Ecclesiastes 1:17,18 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit...

Ecclesiastes 2:11,17,26 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had worked, and on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold...

1 Kings 4:30-32 And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt...

Psalm 39:5,6 Behold, you have made my days as an handbreadth; and my age is as nothing before you...

Cross References
Ecclesiastes 1:17
And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind.

Ecclesiastes 2:11
Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 2:17
So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind.

Ecclesiastes 2:26
For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Ecclesiastes 4:4
Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man's envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Ecclesiastes 4:16
There was no end of all the people, all of whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Ecclesiastes 6:9
Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the appetite: this also is vanity and a striving after wind.

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ESV Text Edition: 2016. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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