Ecclesiastes 9:5
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
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.

King James Bible
For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

American Standard Version
For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For the living know that they shall die, but the dead know nothing more, neither have they a reward any more: for the memory of them is forgotten.

English Revised Version
For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

Webster's Bible Translation
For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

"When I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to view the business which is done on the earth (for neither day nor night doth he see sleep with his eyes): then have I seen all the work of God, that a man is unable to find out the work which is done under the sun: therefore that a man wearieth himself to seek out, and yet findeth not; and although a wise man taketh in hand to know, - he is unable to find." A long period without a premeditated plan has here formed itself under the hand of the author. As it lies before us, it is halved by the vav in veraithi ("then I have seen"); the principal clause, introduced by "when I gave," can nowhere otherwise begin than here; but it is not indicated by the syntactical structure. Yet in Chr. and Neh. apodoses of כאשׁר begin with the second consec. modus, e.g., 1 Chronicles 17:1; Nehemiah 4:1, and frequently; but the author here uses this modus only rarely, and not (vid., Ecclesiastes 4:1, Ecclesiastes 4:7) as a sign of an apodosis.

We consider, first, the protasis, with the parenthesis in which it terminates. The phrase נתן את־הלב ל, to direct the heart, to give attention and effort toward something, we have now frequently met with from Ecclesiastes 1:13 down. The aim is here twofold: (1) "to know wisdom" (cf. Ecclesiastes 1:17), i.e., to gain the knowledge of that which is wisdom, and which is to be regarded as wisdom, viz., solid knowledge regarding the essence, causes, and objects of things; (2) by such knowledge about that which wisdom is in itself "to see earthly labour," and - this arises from the combination of the two resolutions - to comprehend this labour in accordance with the claims of true wisdom from the point of view of its last ground and aim. Regarding 'inyan, vid., under Ecclesiastes 3:10. "On the earth" and "under the sun" are parallel designations of this world.

With גּם כּי begins a parenthetical clause. Ki may also, it is true, be rendered as at Ecclesiastes 8:17: the labour on the earth, that he, etc. (Zckl.); but this restlessness, almost renouncing sleep, is thereby pressed too much into the foreground as the special obj. of the reuth (therefore Ginsburg introduces "how that"); thus better to render this clause with ki gam, as establishing the fact that there is 'inyan, self-tormenting, restless labour on the earth. Thus also איננּוּ is easier explained, which scarcely goes back to laadam, Ecclesiastes 8:15 (Hitz.), but shows that the author, by )inyan, has specially men in view. וּבלּ ... גּם is equals גם בי גם בל: as well by day as by night, with the negat. following (cf. Numbers 23:25; Isaiah 48:8): neither by day nor by night; not only by day, but also in the night, not. "To see sleep" is a phrase occurring only here; cf. Terence, Heautontim. iii. 1. 82, Somnum hercle ego hac nocte oculis non vidi meis, for which we use the expression: "In this whole night my eyes have seen no sleep." The not wishing to sleep, and not being able to sleep, is such an hyperbole, carrying its limitation in itself, as is found in Cicero (ad Famil. vii. 30): Fuit mirifica vigilantia, qui toto suo consulatu somnum non vidit.

With ור, "Then I have seen," begins the apodosis: vidi totum Dei opus non posse hominem assequi. As at Ecclesiastes 2:24, the author places the obj. in the foreground, and lets the pred. with ki follow (for other examples of this so-called antiposis, vid., under Genesis 1:4). He sees in the labour here below one side of God's work carrying itself forward amid this restless confusion, and sets forth this work of God, as at Ecclesiastes 3:11 (but where the connection of the thoughts is different), as an object of knowledge remaining beyond the reach of man. He cannot come to it, or, as מצא properly means, he reaches not to it, therefore "that a man wearies himself to seek, and yet finds not," i.e., that the search on the part of a man with all his endeavours comes not to its aim. אשׁר בכל Ewald's emendation, instead of the words of the text before us: for all this, that quantumcunque (Ewald, 362c), which seems to have been approved of by the lxx, Syr., and Jerome, is rightly rejected by Hitzig; beshel asher is Heb., exactly equivalent to Aram. בּדיל דּ, e.g., Genesis 6:3; and is rightly glossed by Rashi, Kimchi, Michlol 47b, by בּשׁביל שׁ and בּעבוּר שׁ. The accent dividing the verse stands on yimetsa, for to this word extends the first half of the apodosis, with vegam begins the second. Gam im is equals εἰ καί, as gam ki is equals ἐὰν καί. יאמר is to be understood after אם אח, Ecclesiastes 7:23 : also if (although) the wise man resolves to know, he cannot reach that which is to be known. The characteristic mark of the wise man is thus not so much the possession as the striving after it. He strives after knowledge, but the highest problems remain unsolved by him, and his ideal of knowledge unrealized.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

the living

Ecclesiastes 7:2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men...

Job 30:23 For I know that you will bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living.

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment:

the dead

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.

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

Psalm 88:10,11 Will you show wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise you? Selah...

Isaiah 63:16 Doubtless you are our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: you, O LORD, are our father...

for the

Ecclesiastes 2:16 For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever...

Ecclesiastes 8:10 And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy...

Job 7:8-10 The eye of him that has seen me shall see me no more: your eyes are on me, and I am not...

Psalm 109:15 Let them be before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.

Isaiah 26:14 They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore have you visited and destroyed them...

Cross References
Job 14:21
His sons come to honor, and he does not know it; they are brought low, and he perceives it not.

Psalm 88:12
Are your wonders known in the darkness, or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

Ecclesiastes 1:11
There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.

Ecclesiastes 2:16
For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise dies just like the fool!

Ecclesiastes 8:10
Then I saw the wicked buried. They used to go in and out of the holy place and were praised in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 9:4
But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

Ecclesiastes 9:10
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.

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