Ecclesiastes 11:3
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
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.

King James Bible
If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.

American Standard Version
If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth; and if a tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there shall it be.

Douay-Rheims Bible
If the clouds be full, they will pour out rain upon the earth. If the tree fall to the south, or to the north, in what place soever it shall fall, there shall it be.

English Revised Version
If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if a tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there shall it be.

Webster's Bible Translation
If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree falleth towards the south, or towards the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.

Ecclesiastes 11:3 Parallel
Commentary
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 11:3 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

the clouds

1 Kings 18:45 And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode...

Psalm 65:9-13 You visit the earth, and water it: you greatly enrich it with the river of God, which is full of water: you prepare them corn...

Isaiah 55:10,11 For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not thither, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud...

1 John 3:17 But whoever has this world's good, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him...

if the tree

Matthew 3:10 And now also the ax is laid to the root of the trees: therefore every tree which brings not forth good fruit is hewn down...

Luke 13:7 Then said he to the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none...

Luke 16:22-26 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried...

Cross References
Ecclesiastes 11:2
Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.

Ecclesiastes 11:4
He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

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