Ecclesiastes 12:3
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed,

King James Bible
In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,

American Standard Version
in the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows shall be darkened,

Douay-Rheims Bible
When the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall stagger, and the grinders shall be idle in a small number, and they that look through the holes shall be darkened:

English Revised Version
in the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,

Webster's Bible Translation
In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows shall be darkened,

Ecclesiastes 12:3 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

"And sweet is the light, and pleasant it is for the eyes to see the sun; for if a man live through many years, he ought to rejoice in them all, and remember the days of darkness; that there will be many of them. All that cometh is vain." Dale translates the copula vav introducing Ecclesiastes 11:7 by "yes," and Bullock by "truly," both thus giving to it a false colouring. "Light," Zckler remarks, stands here for "life." But it means only what the word denotes, viz., the light of life in this world (Psalm 56:14; Job 33:30), to which the sun, as the source of it, is related, as מאור is to אור. Cf. Eurip. Hippol., ὧ λαμπρὸς αἰθὴρ κ.τ.λ, and Iphigen. in Aulis, 1218-19, μὴ μ ̓ ἀπολέσης κ.τ.λ: "Destroy not my youth; to see the light is sweet," etc. The ל in לע has the short vowel Pattach, here and at 1 Samuel 16:7, after the Masora.

(Note: Cf. on the contrary, at Genesis 3:6 and Proverbs 10:26, where it has the Kametz; cf. also Michlol 53b.)

The ki beginning Ecclesiastes 11:8 is translated by Knobel, Hitz., Ewald, and others by "ja" (yes); by Heiligstedt, as if a negative preceded by immo; but as the vav of Ecclesiastes 11:7 is copulative "and," so here the ki is causal "for." If it had been said: man must enjoy himself as long as he lives, for the light is sweet, etc., then the joy would have its reason in the opportunity given for it. Instead of this, the occasion given for joy has its reason in this, that a man ought to rejoice, viz., according to God's arrangement and ordinance: the light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun; for it ought thus to be, that a man, however long he may live, should continue to enjoy his fair life, especially in view of the night which awaits him. Ki im are not here, as at Ecclesiastes 3:12; Ecclesiastes 8:15, where a negative precedes, to be taken together; but ki assigns the reason, and im begins a hypothetical protasis, as at Exodus 8:17, and frequently. Im, with the conclusion following, presents something impossible, as e.g., Psalm 50:12, si esurirem, or also the extreme of that which is possible as actual, e.g., Isaiah 7:18, si peccata vestra sint instar coccini. In the latter case, the clause with the concessive particle may be changed into a sentence with a concessive conjunctive, as at Isaiah 10:22 : "for though thy people, O Israel, be as numerous as the sand of the sea;" and here: "though a man may live ever so many years." The second ki after ויז is the explicat. quod, as at Ecclesiastes 2:24; Ecclesiastes 4:4; Ecclesiastes 8:17, etc.: he must remember the days of darkness, that there shall be many of them, and, at all events, not fewer than the many years available for the happy enjoyment of life. In this connection kol-shebba' denotes all that will come after this life. If Hitz. remarks that the sentence: "All that is future is vanity," is a false thought, this may now also be said of his own sentence extracted from the words: "All that is, is transitory." For all that is done, in time may pass away; but it is not actually transitory (הבל). But the sentence also respects not all that is future, but all that comes after this life, which must appear as vain (hěvel) to him for whom, as for Koheleth, the future is not less veiled in the dark night of Hades, as it was for Horace, i. 4. 16 s.:

"Jam te premet nox fabulaeque

Manes Et domus exilis Plutonia."

Also, for Koheleth as for Horace, iv. 7. 16, man at last becomes pulvis et umbra, and that which thus awaits him is hevel. Tyler is right, that "the shadowy and unsubstantial condition of the dead and the darkness of Sheol" is thus referred to. הבּא signifies not that which is nascens, but futurum, e.g., Sanhedrin 27a, "from the present ולהבא and for the future" (for which, elsewhere, the expression לעתיד לבא is used). The Venet. construes falsely: All (the days) in which vanity will overtake (him); and Luther, referring בא as the 3rd pers. to the past, follows the misleading of Jerome. Rightly the lxx and Theod.: πᾶν τὸ ἐρξηόμενον.

Ecclesiastes 12:3 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

strong

2 Samuel 21:15-17 Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him...

Psalm 90:9,10 For all our days are passed away in your wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told...

Psalm 102:23 He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days.

Zechariah 8:4 Thus said the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem...

and those

Ecclesiastes 12:2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:

Cross References
Genesis 27:1
When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called Esau his older son and said to him, "My son"; and he answered, "Here I am."

Genesis 48:10
Now the eyes of Israel were dim with age, so that he could not see. So Joseph brought them near him, and he kissed them and embraced them.

1 Samuel 3:2
At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place.

Psalm 35:14
I went about as though I grieved for my friend or my brother; as one who laments his mother, I bowed down in mourning.

Psalm 38:6
I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all the day I go about mourning.

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