Ecclesiastes 11:2
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.

King James Bible
Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.

American Standard Version
Give a portion to seven, yea, even unto eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Give a portion to seven, and also to eight: for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.

English Revised Version
Give a portion to seven, yea, even unto eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.

Webster's Bible Translation
Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.

Ecclesiastes 11:2 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

"Woe to thee, O land, whose king is a child, and whose princes sit at table in the early morning! Happy art thou, O land, whose king is a noble, and whose princes sit at table at the right time, in manly strength, and not in drunkenness!" Regarding אי. Instead of שׁם ן, the older language would rather use the phrase מלכּו נער אשׁר; and instead of na'ar, we might correctly use, after Proverbs 30:22, 'ěvěd; but not as Grtz thinks, who from this verse deduces the reference of the book of Herod (the "slave of the Hasmonean house," as the Talm. names him), in the same meaning. For na'ar, it is true, sometimes means - e.g., as Ziba's by-name (2 Samuel 19:18 [17]) - a servant, but never a slave as such, so that here, in the latter sense, it might be the contrast of בּן־חורים; it is to be understood after Isaiah 3:12; and Solomon, Bishop of Constance, understood this woe rightly, for he found it fulfilled at the time of the last German Karolingian Ludwig III.

(Note: Cf. Bchmann's Feglgelte Worte, p. 178, 5th ed. (1868).)

Na'ar is a very extensively applicable word in regard to the age of a person. King Solomon and the prophets Jeremiah and Zechariah show that na'ar may be used with reference to one in a high office; but here it is one of few years of age who is meant, who is incapable of ruling, and shows himself as childish in this, that he lets himself be led by bad guides in accordance with their pleasure. In 16b, the author perhaps thinks of the heads of the aristocracy who have the phantom-king in their power: intending to fatten themselves, they begin their feasting with the break of day. If we translate yochēēlu by "they eat," 16b sounds as if to breakfast were a sin, - with us such an abbreviation of the thought so open to misconception would be a fault in style, but not so with a Hebrew.

(Note: Vid., Gesch. d. jd. Poesie, p. 188.f.)

אכל (for לחם אכל, Psalm 14:4) is here eating for eating's sake, eating as its own object, eating which, in the morning, comes in the place of fresh activity in one's calling, consecrated by prayer. Instead of אשׁ, Ecclesiastes 10:17, there ought properly to have been אשׁריך; but (1) אשׁרי has this peculiarity, to be explained from its interjectional usage, that with the suff. added it remains in the form of the st. constr., for we say e.g., אשׁריך for אשׁריך; (2) the sing. form אשׁר, inflected אשׁרי, so substitutes itself that אשׁריך, or, more correctly, אשׁרך, and אשׁרהוּ, Proverbs 29:19, the latter for אשׁריו, are used (vid., under Sol 2:14).

Regarding běn-hhorim, the root-word signifies to be white (vid., under Genesis 40:16). A noble is called hhor, Isaiah 34:12; and one noble by birth, more closely, or also merely descriptively (Gesen. Lehrgeb. p. 649), běn-hhorim, from his purer complexion, by which persons of rank were distinguished from the common people (Lamentations 4:7). In the passage before us, běn-hhorim is an ethical conception, as e.g., also generosus becomes such, for it connects with the idea of noble by birth that of noble in disposition, and the latter predominates (cf. Sol 7:2, nadiv): it is well with a land whose king is of noble mind, is a man of noble character, or, if we give to běn-hhorim the Mishnic meaning, is truly a free man (cf. John 8:36). Of princes after the pattern of such a king, the contrary of what is said 16b is true: they do not eat early in the morning, but ba'et, "at the right time;" everywhere else this is expressed by be'itto (Ecclesiastes 3:11); here the expression - corresponding to the Greek ἐν καιρῷ, the Lat. in tempore - is perhaps occasioned by the contrast baboqěr, "in the morning." Eating at the right time is more closely characterized by bighvurah velo vashshethi. Jerome, whom Luther follows, translates: ad reficiendum et non ad luxuriam. Hitz., Ginsb., and Zckl., "for strengthening" (obtaining strength), not: "for feasting;" but that beth might introduce the object aimed at (after Hitz., proceeding from the beth of exchange), we have already considered under Ecclesiastes 2:4. The author, wishing to say this, ought to have written lshty wl' lgbwrh. Better, Hahn: "in strength, but not in drunkenness," - as heroes, but not as drunkards (Isaiah 5:22). Ewald's "in virtue, and not in debauchery," is also thus meant. But what is that: to eat in virtue, i.e., the dignity of a man? The author much rather represents them as eating in manly strength, i.e., as this requires it (cf. the plur. Psalm 71:16 and Psalm 90:10), only not bashti ("in drunkenness - excess"), so that eating and drinking become objects in themselves. Kleinert, well: as men, and not as gluttons. The Masora makes, under bashti,' the note לית, i.e., שׁתי has here a meaning which it has not elsewhere, it signifies drunkenness; elsewhere it means the weft of a web. The Targ. gives the word the meaning of weakness (חלּשׁוּת), after the Midrash, which explains it by בּתשׁישׁוּ (in weakness); Menahem b. Saruk takes along with it in this sense נשׁתה, Jeremiah 51:30. The Talm. Shabbath 10a, however, explains it rightly by בּשׁתיּה שׁל־יין.

Ecclesiastes 11:2 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

a portion

Nehemiah 8:10 Then he said to them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions to them for whom nothing is prepared...

Esther 9:19,22 Therefore the Jews of the villages, that dwelled in the unwalled towns...

Psalm 112:9 He has dispersed, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honor.

Luke 6:30-35 Give to every man that asks of you; and of him that takes away your goods ask them not again...

1 Timothy 6:18,19 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate...


Job 5:19 He shall deliver you in six troubles: yes, in seven there shall no evil touch you.

Proverbs 6:16 These six things does the LORD hate: yes, seven are an abomination to him:

Micah 5:5 And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces...

Matthew 18:22 Jesus said to him, I say not to you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

Luke 17:4 And if he trespass against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to you, saying, I repent...


Daniel 4:27 Why, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you, and break off your sins by righteousness...

Acts 11:28-30 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world...

Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if a man be overtaken in a fault, you which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness...

Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Hebrews 13:3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

Cross References
Matthew 5:42
Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

Luke 6:30
Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.

1 Timothy 6:18
They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,

1 Timothy 6:19
thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

Psalm 112:9
He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor.

Proverbs 19:17
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.

Ecclesiastes 11:3
If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves on the earth, and if a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.

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