Ecclesiastes 2:20
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun,

King James Bible
Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.

American Standard Version
Therefore I turned about to cause my heart to despair concerning all the labor wherein I had labored under the sun.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Wherefore I left off and my heart renounced labouring any more under the sun.

English Revised Version
Therefore I turned about to cause my heart to despair concerning all the labour wherein I had laboured under the sun.

Webster's Bible Translation
Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labor which I took under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 2:20 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

"And I saw that wisdom has the advantage over folly, as light has the advantage over darkness. The wise man has eyes in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness." In the sacred Scriptures, "light" is generally the symbol of grace, Psalm 43:3, but also the contrast of an intellectually and morally darkened state, Isaiah 51:4. To know a thing is equivalent to having light on it, and seeing it in its true light (Psalm 36:10); wisdom is thus compared to light; folly is once, Job 38:19, directly called "darkness." Thus wisdom stands so much higher than folly, as light stands above darkness.יתרון, which hitherto denoted actual result, enduring gain, signifies here preference; along with כּיתרון

(Note: Thus written, according to J and other authorities.)

there is also found the form כּיתרון

(Note: Thus Ven. 1515, 1521; vid., Comm. under Genesis 27:28-29; Psalm 45:10.)

(vid., Proverbs 30:17). The fool walks in darkness: he is blind although he has eyes (Isaiah 43:8), and thus has as good as none, - he wants the spiritual eye of understanding (Job 10:3); the wise man, on the other hand, his eyes are in his head, or, as we also say: he has eyes in his head, - eyes truly seeing, looking at and examining persons and things. That is the one side of the relation of wisdom to folly as put to the test.

The other side of the relation is the sameness of the result in which the elevation of wisdom above folly terminates.

"And I myself perceived that one experience happeneth to them all. And I said in my heart, As it will happen to the fool, it will happen also to me; and why have I then been specially wise? Thus I spake then in my heart, that this also is vain." Zckler gives to גּם an adversative sense; but this gam ( equals ὃμως, similiter) stands always at the beginning of the clause, Ewald, 354a. Gam-ani corresponds to the Lat. ego idem, which gives two predicates to one subject; while et ipse predicates the same of the one of two subjects as it does of the other (Zumpt, 697). The second gam-ani serves for the giving of prominence to the object, and here precedes, after the manner of a substantival clause (cf. Isaiah 45:12; Ezekiel 33:17; 2 Chronicles 28:10), as at Genesis 24:27; cf. Gesen. 121. 3. Miqrěh (from קרה, to happen, to befall) is quiquid alicui accidit (in the later philosoph. terminol. accidens; Venet. συμβεβεεκός); but here, as the connection shows, that which finally puts an end to life, the final event of death. By the word יד the author expresses what he had observed on reflection; by בּל...אם, what he said inwardly to himself regarding it; and by דּבּ דל, what sentence he passed thereon with himself. Lammah asks for the design, as maddu'a for the reason. אז is either understood temporally: then when it is finally not better with me than with the fool (Hitz. from the standpoint of the dying hour), or logically: if yet one and the same event happeneth to the wise man and to the fool (Eslt.); in the consciousness of the author both are taken together.The זה of the conclusion refers, not, as at Ecclesiastes 1:17, to the endeavouring after and the possession of wisdom, but to this final result making no difference between wise men and fools. This fate, happening to all alike, is הבל, a vanity rendering all vain, a nullity levelling down all to nothing, something full of contradictions, irrational. Paul also (Romans 8:20) speaks of this destruction, which at last comes upon all, as a ματαιότης.

The author now assigns the reason for this discouraging result.

Ecclesiastes 2:20 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Genesis 43:14 And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children...

Job 17:11-15 My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart...

Psalm 39:6,7 Surely every man walks in a vain show: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heaps up riches, and knows not who shall gather them...

1 Corinthians 15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

2 Corinthians 1:8-10 For we would not, brothers, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure...

1 Thessalonians 3:3,4 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto...

Cross References
Ecclesiastes 2:19
and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 2:21
because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.

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