Ecclesiastes 11:7
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun.

King James Bible
Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:

American Standard Version
Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.

Douay-Rheims Bible
The light is sweet, and it is delightful for the eyes to see the sun.

English Revised Version
Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.

Webster's Bible Translation
Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:

Ecclesiastes 11:7 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

"Let thy bread go forth over the watery mirror: for in the course of many days shalt thou find it." Most interpreters, chiefly the Talm., Midrash, and Targ.,

(Note: The Midrash tells the following story: Rabbi Akiba sees a ship wrecked which carried in it one learned in the law. He finds him again actively engaged in Cappadocia. What whale, he asked him, has vomited thee out upon dry land? How hast thou merited this? The scribe learned in the law thereupon related that when he went on board the ship, he gave a loaf of bread to a poor man, who thanked him for it, saying: As thou hast saved my life, may thy life be saved. Thereupon Akiba thought of the proverb in Ecclesiastes 11:1. Similarly the Targ.: Extend to the poor the bread for thy support; they sail in ships over the water.)

regard this as an exhortation to charity, which although practised without expectation of reward, does not yet remain unrewarded at last. An Aram. proverb of Ben Sira's (vid., Buxtorf's Florilegium, p. 171) proceeds on this interpretation: "Scatter thy bread on the water and on the dry land; in the end of the days thou findest it again." Knobel quotes a similar Arab. proverb from Diez' Denkwrdigkeiten von Asien (Souvenirs of Asia), II:106: "Do good; cast thy bread into the water: thou shalt be repaid some day." See also the proverb in Goethe's Westst. Divan, compared by Herzfeld. Voltaire, in his Prcis de l'Ecclsiaste en vers, also adopts this rendering:

Repandez vos bien faits avec magnificence,

Mme aux moins vertueux ne les refusez pas.

Ne vous informez pas de leur reconnaissance -

Il est grand, il est beau de faire des ingrats.

That instead of "into the water (the sea)" of these or similar proverbs, Koheleth uses here the expression, "on the face of (על־פּני) the waters," makes no difference: Eastern bread has for the most part the form of cakes, and is thin (especially such as is prepared hastily for guests, 'ughoth or matstsoth, Genesis 18:6; Genesis 19:3); so that when thrown into the water, it remains on the surface (like a chip of wood, Hosea 10:7), and is carried away by the stream. But שׁלּח, with this reference of the proverb to beneficence, is strange; instead of it, the word השׁלך was rather to be expected; the lxx renders by ἀπόστειλον; the Syr., shadar; Jerome, mitte; Venet. πέμπε; thus by none is the pure idea of casting forth connected with שׁלּח. And the reason given does not harmonize with this reference: "for in the course of many days (berov yamin, cf. mērov yamim, Isaiah 24:22) wilt thou find it" (not "find it again," which would be expressed by תּשׁוּב תּם). This indefinite designation of time, which yet definitely points to the remote future, does not thus indicate that the subject is the recompense of noble self-renunciation which is sooner or later rewarded, and often immediately, but exactly accords with the idea of commerce carried on with foreign countries, which expects to attain its object only after a long period of waiting. In the proper sense, they send their bread over the surface of the water who, as Psalm 107:33 expresses, "do business in great waters." It is a figure taken from the corn trade of a seaport, an illustration of the thought: seek thy support in the way of bold, confident adventure.

(Note: The Greek phrase σπείρειν πόντον, "to sow the sea" equals to undertake a fruitless work, is of an altogether different character; cf. Amos 6:12.)

Bread in לח is the designation of the means of making a living or gain, and bread in תּמצאנּוּ the designation of the gain (cf. Ecclesiastes 9:11). Hitzig's explanation: Throw thy bread into the water equals venture thy hope, is forced; and of the same character are all the attempts to understand the word of agricultural pursuits; e.g., by van der Palm: sementem fac muxta aquas (or: in loca irrigua); Grtz even translates: "Throw thy corn on the surface of the water," and understands this, with the fancy of a Martial, of begetting children. Mendelssohn is right in remarking that the exhortation shows itself to be that of Koheleth-Solomon, whose ships traded to Tarshish and Ophir. Only the reference to self-sacrificing beneficence stands on a level with it as worthy of consideration. With Ginsburg, we may in this way say that a proverb as to our dealings with those who are above us, is followed by a proverb regarding those who are below us; with those others a proverb regarding judicious courageous venturing, ranks itself with a proverb regarding a rashness which is to be discountenanced; and the following proverb does not say: Give a portion, distribute of that which is thine, to seven and also to eight: for it is well done that thou gainest for thee friends with the unrighteous mammon for a time when thou thyself mayest unexpectedly be in want; but it is a prudent rule which is here placed by the side of counsel to bold adventure:

Ecclesiastes 11:7 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

the light

Job 33:28,30 He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light...

Psalm 56:13 For you have delivered my soul from death: will not you deliver my feet from falling...

Proverbs 15:30 The light of the eyes rejoices the heart: and a good report makes the bones fat.

Proverbs 29:13 The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the LORD lightens both their eyes.

a pleasant

Ecclesiastes 7:11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.

Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

Matthew 5:45 That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good...

Cross References
Ecclesiastes 6:5
Moreover, it has not seen the sun or known anything, yet it finds rest rather than he.

Ecclesiastes 7:11
Wisdom is good with an inheritance, an advantage to those who see the sun.

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