Ecclesiastes 6:12
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun?

King James Bible
For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?

American Standard Version
For who knoweth what is good for man in his life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?

Douay-Rheims Bible
What needeth a man to seek things that are above him, whereas he knoweth not what is profitable for him in his life, in all the days of his pilgrimage, and the time that passeth like a shadow? Or who can tell him what shall be after him under the sun?

English Revised Version
For who knoweth what is good for man in his life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?

Webster's Bible Translation
For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?

Ecclesiastes 6:12 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

A life extending to more than even a thousand years without enjoyment appears to him worthless: "And if he has lived twice a thousand years long, and not seen good - Do not all go hence to one place?" This long period of life, as well as the shortest, sinks into the night of Sheol, and has advantage over the shortest if it wants the ראות ט, i.e., the enjoyment of that which can make man happy. That would be correct if "good" were understood inwardly, ethically, spiritually; but although, according to Koheleth's view, the fear of God presides over the enjoyment of life, regulating and hallowing it, yet it remains unknown to him that life deepened into fellowship with God is in itself a most real and blessed, and thus the highest good. Regarding אלּוּ (here, as at Esther 7:4, with perf. foll.: etsi vixisset, tamen interrogarem: nonne, etc.); it occurs also in the oldest liturgical Tefilla, as well as in the prayer Nishmath (vid., Baer's Siddur, Abodath Jisrael, p. 207). פּ ... אלף, a thousand years twice, and thus an Adam's life once and yet again. Otherwise Aben Ezra: 1000 years multiplied by itself, thus a million, like פּעמים עשׂרים, 20 x 20 equals 400; cf. Targ. Isaiah 30:26, which translates שׁבעתים by 343 equals 7 x 7 x 7. Perhaps that is right; for why was not the expression שׁנה אלפּים directly used? The "one place" is, as at Ecclesiastes 3:20, the grave and Hades, into which all the living fall. A life extending even to a million of years is worthless, for it terminates at last in nothing. Life has only as much value as it yields of enjoyment.

Ecclesiastes 6:12 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

who knoweth

Ecclesiastes 2:3 I sought in my heart to give myself to wine, yet acquainting my heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly...

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Psalm 4:6 There be many that say, Who will show us any good? LORD, lift you up the light of your countenance on us.

Psalm 16:5 The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup: you maintain my lot.

Psalm 17:15 As for me, I will behold your face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with your likeness.

Psalm 47:4 He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.

Lamentations 3:24-27 The LORD is my portion, said my soul; therefore will I hope in him...

Micah 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy...

the days of his vain life

Ecclesiastes 8:13 But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he fears not before God.

Ecclesiastes 9:6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished...

1 Chronicles 29:15 For we are strangers before you, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow...

Job 8:9 (For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days on earth are a shadow:)

Job 14:2 He comes forth like a flower, and is cut down: he flees also as a shadow, and continues not.

Psalm 39:5,6 Behold, you have made my days as an handbreadth; and my age is as nothing before you...

Psalm 89:47 Remember how short my time is: why have you made all men in vain?

Psalm 90:10-12 The days of our years are three score years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years...

Psalm 102:11 My days are like a shadow that declines; and I am withered like grass.

Psalm 109:23 I am gone like the shadow when it declines: I am tossed up and down as the locust.

Psalm 144:4 Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passes away.

James 4:14 Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time...

for who can

Ecclesiastes 3:22 Why I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion...

Ecclesiastes 8:7 For he knows not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?

Job 14:21 His sons come to honor, and he knows it not; and they are brought low, but he perceives it not of them.

Cross References
Psalm 39:5
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah

Ecclesiastes 2:3
I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine--my heart still guiding me with wisdom--and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life.

Ecclesiastes 2:24
There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God,

Ecclesiastes 3:22
So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?

Ecclesiastes 6:11
The more words, the more vanity, and what is the advantage to man?

Ecclesiastes 7:15
In my vain life I have seen everything. There is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his evildoing.

Ecclesiastes 8:7
For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be?

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