New American Standard Bible
"Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity."
King James Bible
Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
Darby Bible Translation
Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities! all is vanity.
World English Bible
"Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher; "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity."
Young's Literal Translation
Vanity of vanities, said the Preacher, Vanity of vanities: the whole is vanity.
Ecclesiastes 1:2 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Vanity - This word הבל hebel, or, when used as a proper name, in Genesis 4:2, "Abel", occurs no less than 37 times in Ecclesiastes, and has been called the key of the book. Primarily it means "breath," "light wind;" and denotes what:
(1) passes away more or less quickly and completely;
(2) leaves either no result or no adequate result behind, and therefore
(3) fails to satisfy the mind of man, which naturally craves for something permanent and progressive: it is also applied to:
(4) idols, as contrasted with the Living, Eternal, and Almighty God, and, thus, in the Hebrew mind, it is connected with sin.
In this book it is applied to all works on earth, to pleasure, grandeur, wisdom, the life of man, childhood, youth, and length of days, the oblivion of the grave, wandering and unsatisfied desires, unenjoyed possessions, and anomalies in the moral government of the world.
Solomon speaks of the world-wide existence of "vanity," not with bitterness or scorn, but as a fact, which forced itself on him as he advanced in knowledge of men and things, and which he regards with sorrow and perplexity. From such feelings he finds refuge by contrasting this with another fact, which he holds with equal firmness, namely, that the whole universe is made and is governed by a God of justice, goodness, and power. The place of vanity in the order of Divine Providence - unknown to Solomon, unless the answer be indicated in Ecclesiastes 7:29 - is explained to us by Paul, Romans 8, where its origin is traced to the subjugation and corruption of creation by sin as a consequence of the fall of man; and its extinction is declared to be reserved until after the Resurrection in the glory and liberty of the children of God.
Vanity of vanities - A well-known Hebrew idiom signifying vanity in the highest degree. Compare the phrase, "holy of holies."
LibraryThe Past and the Future
'The thing that hath been, it is that which shall he; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.'--ECCLES. i. 9. 'That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles.'--l PETER iv. 2, 3. If you will look at these two passages carefully you will, I think, see that they imply two different, and in some respects …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
"And Hereby we do Know that we Know Him, if we Keep his Commandments. "
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope
"An idiot will become intelligent When the foal of a wild donkey is born a man.
"Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah.
"Surely every man walks about as a phantom; Surely they make an uproar for nothing; He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them.
Men of low degree are only vanity and men of rank are a lie; In the balances they go up; They are together lighter than breath.
Remember what my span of life is; For what vanity You have created all the sons of men!
Man is like a mere breath; His days are like a passing shadow.
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