Ecclesiastes 9:10
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

King James Bible
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

American Standard Version
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol, whither thou goest.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Whatsoever thy hand is able to do, do it earnestly: for neither work, nor reason, nor wisdom, nor knowledge shall be in hell, whither thou art hastening.

English Revised Version
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Webster's Bible Translation
Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

"For (to him) who shall be always joined to all the living, there is hope: for even a living dog is better than a dead lion." The interrog. אשׁר מי, quis est qui, acquires the force of a relative, quisquis (quicunque), and may be interpreted, Exodus 32:33; 2 Samuel 20:12, just as here (cf. the simple mi, Ecclesiastes 5:9), in both ways; particularly the latter passage (2 Samuel 20:11) is also analogous to the one before us in the formation of the apodosis. The Chethı̂b יבחר does not admit of any tenable meaning. In conformity with the usus loq., Elster reads מי אשר יבחר, "who has a choice?" But this rendering has no connection with what follows; the sequence of thoughts fails. Most interpreters, in opposition to the usus loq., by pointing יבחר or יבּחר, render: Who is (more correctly: will be) excepted? or also: Who is it that is to be preferred (the living or the dead)? The verb בּחר signifies to choose, to select; and the choice may be connected with an exception, a preference; but in itself the verb means neither excipere nor praeferre.

(Note: Luther translates, "for to all the living there is that which is desired, namely, hope," as if the text were יבחר מה אשׁר.)

All the old translators, with right, follow the Kerı̂, and the Syr. renders it correctly, word for word: to every one who is joined (שותף, Aram. equals Heb. חבר) to all the living there is hope; and this translation is more probable than that on which Symm. ("who shall always continue to live?") and Jerome (nemo est qui semper vivat et qui hujus rei habeat fiduciam) proceed: Who is he that is joined to the whole? i.e., to the absolute life; or as Hitzig: Who is he who would join himself to all the living (like the saying, "The everlasting Jew")? The expression ישׁ בּטּ does not connect itself so easily and directly with these two latter renderings as with that we have adopted, in which, as also in the other two, a different accentuation of the half-verse is to be adopted as follows:

כּי מי אשׁר יחבּר אל־כּל־החיּים ישׁ בּטּחון

The accentuation lying before us in the text, which gives a great disjunctive to יבחר as well as to הח, appears to warrant the Chethı̂b (cf. Hitzig under Ezekiel 22:24), by which it is possible to interpret יב ... מי as in itself an interrog. clause. The Kerı̂ יח does not admit of this, for Dachselt's quis associabit se (sc.,, mortius? equals nemo socius mortuorum fieri vult) is a linguistic impossibility; the reflex may be used for the pass., but not the pass. for the reflex., which is also an argument against Ewald's translation: Who is joined to the living has hope. Also the Targ. and Rashi, although explaining according to the Midrash, cannot forbear connecting אל כל־חה with יח, and thus dividing the verse at חה instead of at יח. It is not, however, to be supposed that the accentuation refers to the Chethı̂b; it proceeds on some interpretation, contrary to the connection, such as this: he who is received into God's fellowship has to hope for the full life (in eternity). The true meaning, according to the connection, is this: that whoever (quicunque) is only always joined (whether by birth or the preservation of life) to all the living, i.e., to living beings, be they who they may, has full confidence, hope, and joy; for in respect to a living dog, this is even better than a dead lion. Symmachus translates: κυνὶ ζῶντι βέλτιόν ἐστιν ἤ λέοντι τεθνηκότι, which Rosenm., Herzf., and Grtz approve of. But apart from the obliquity of the comparison, that with a living dog it is better than with a dead lion, since with the latter is neither good nor evil (vid., however, Ecclesiastes 6:5), for such a meaning the words ought to have been: chělěv hai tov lo min ha'aryēh hammeth.

As the verifying clause stands before us, it is connected not with ישׁ בּטּ, but with אל כּל־ה, of that which is to be verified; the ל gives emphatic prominence (Ewald, 310b) to the subject, to which the expression refers as at Psalm 89:19; 2 Chronicles 7:21 (cf. Jeremiah 18:16), Isaiah 32:1 : A living dog is better than a dead lion, i.e., it is better to be a dog which lives, than that lion which is dead. The dog, which occurs in the Holy Scriptures only in relation to a shepherd's dog (Job 30:1), and as for the rest, appears as a voracious filthy beast, roaming about without a master, is the proverbial emblem of that which is common, or low, or contemptible, 1 Samuel 17:43; cf. "dog's head," 2 Samuel 3:8; "dead dog," 1 Samuel 24:15; 2 Samuel 9:8; 2 Samuel 16:9. The lion, on the other hand, is the king, or, as Agur (Proverbs 30:30) calls it, the hero among beasts. But if it be dead, then all is over with its dignity and its strength; the existence of a living dog is to be preferred to that of the dead lion. The art. in 'הא הם is not that denoting species (Dale), which is excluded by hammēth, but it points to the carcase of a lion which is present. The author, who elsewhere prefers death and nonentity to life, Ecclesiastes 4:2., Ecclesiastes 7:1, appears to have fallen into contradiction with himself; but there he views life pessimistically in its, for the most part, unhappy experiences, while here he regards it in itself as a good affording the possibility of enjoyment. It lies, however, in the nature of his standpoint that he should not be able to find the right medium between the sorrow of the world and the pleasure of life. Although postulating a retribution in eternity, yet in his thoughts about the future he does not rise above the comfortless idea of Hades.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

thy hand

Numbers 13:30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.

1 Chronicles 22:19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God; arise therefore, and build you the sanctuary of the LORD God...

1 Chronicles 28:20 And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God...

1 Chronicles 29:2,3 Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver...

2 Chronicles 31:20,21 And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and worked that which was good and right and truth before the LORD his God...

Ezra 6:14,15 And the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo...

Nehemiah 2:12-20 And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem...

Nehemiah 3:1 Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brothers the priests, and they built the sheep gate; they sanctified it...

Nehemiah 4:2,6,9-13,17-23 And he spoke before his brothers and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves...

Nehemiah 13:8-31 And it grieved me sore: therefore I cast forth all the household stuff to Tobiah out of the chamber...

Psalm 71:15-18 My mouth shall show forth your righteousness and your salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof...

Jeremiah 29:13 And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.

Matthew 6:33 But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

John 4:34 Jesus said to them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

Romans 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

Romans 15:18-20 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not worked by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed...

1 Corinthians 9:24,26 Know you not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain...

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed on me was not in vain...

1 Corinthians 16:10 Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he works the work of the Lord, as I also do.

Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Colossians 3:23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men;

2 Peter 1:12-15 Why I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though you know them...


Ecclesiastes 9:5,6 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward...

Ecclesiastes 11:3 If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves on the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north...

Job 14:7-12 For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease...

Psalm 6:5 For in death there is no remembrance of you: in the grave who shall give you thanks?

Psalm 88:10-12 Will you show wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise you? Selah...

Isaiah 38:18,19 For the grave cannot praise you, death can not celebrate you: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for your truth...

John 9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work.

Acts 20:25-31 And now, behold, I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more...

Cross References
Romans 12:11
Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

Genesis 37:35
All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, "No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning." Thus his father wept for him.

1 Samuel 10:7
Now when these signs meet you, do what your hand finds to do, for God is with you.

Job 21:13
They spend their days in prosperity, and in peace they go down to Sheol.

Psalm 6:5
For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise?

Ecclesiastes 9:5
For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten.

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