New International Version
For who knows what is good for a person in life, during the few and meaningless days they pass through like a shadow? Who can tell them what will happen under the sun after they are gone?
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?
Darby Bible Translation
For who knoweth what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell man what shall be after him under the sun?
World English Bible
For who knows what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he spends like a shadow? For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?
Young's Literal Translation
For who knoweth what is good for a man in life, the number of the days of the life of his vanity, and he maketh them as a shadow? for who declareth to man what is after him under the sun?
Ecclesiastes 6:12 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
For who knoweth what is good for man in this life - Those things which we deem good are often evil. And those which we think evil are often good. So ignorant are we, that we run the greatest hazard in making a choice. It is better to leave ourselves and our concerns in the hands of the Lord, than to keep them in our own.
For who can tell a man what shall be after him - Futurity is with God. While he lives, man wishes to know what is before him. When he is about to die, he wishes to know what will be after him. All this is vanity; God, because he is merciful, will reveal neither.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
the days of his vain life
for who can
i. editions of chrysostom's works. S. Joannis Chrysostomi, archiepiscopi Constantinopolitani, Opera omnia quæ exstant vel quæ ejus nomine circumferuntur, ad mss. codices Gallicos, Vaticanos, Anglicos, Germanicosque castigata, etc. Opera et studio D.Bernardi de Montfaucon, monachi ordinis S. Benedicti e congregatione S. Mauri, opem ferentibus aliis ex codem sodalitio, monachis. Greek and Latin, Paris, 1718-'38, in 13 vols., fol. This is the best edition, and the result of about twenty …
St. Chrysostom—On the Priesthood
Thoughts Upon Worldly Riches. Sect. I.
You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.
I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly--my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.
A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God,
So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?
The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?
In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness, and the wicked living long in their wickedness.
Since no one knows the future, who can tell someone else what is to come?
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