Ecclesiastes 12:4
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low—

King James Bible
And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;

American Standard Version
and the doors shall be shut in the street; when the sound of the grinding is low, and one shall rise up at the voice of a bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low;

Douay-Rheims Bible
And they shall shut the doors in the street, when the grinder's voice shall be low, and they shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of music shall grow deaf.

English Revised Version
and the door shall be shut in the street; when the sound of the grinding is low, and one shall rise up at the voice of a bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low;

Webster's Bible Translation
And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding shall be low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low.

Ecclesiastes 12:4 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 12:4 Parallel Commentaries

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2 Samuel 19:35 I am this day fourscore years old: and can I discern between good and evil? can your servant taste what I eat or what I drink?...

Cross References
Revelation 18:22
and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters, will be heard in you no more, and a craftsman of any craft will be found in you no more, and the sound of the mill will be heard in you no more,

2 Samuel 19:35
I am this day eighty years old. Can I discern what is pleasant and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats or what he drinks? Can I still listen to the voice of singing men and singing women? Why then should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king?

Isaiah 47:2
Take the millstones and grind flour, put off your veil, strip off your robe, uncover your legs, pass through the rivers.

Jeremiah 25:10
Moreover, I will banish from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the grinding of the millstones and the light of the lamp.

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