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Bible Commentaries

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Ecclesiastes 2

 

 

Verse 1

enjoy = look thou into.

behold. Figure of speech Asterismos.


Verse 2

of laughter = to laughter.

It is mad. See note on "madness", Ecclesiastes 1:17.

of mirth = to mirth.

What doeth it? = What doth she do?


Verse 3

in mine heart: i.e. resolved.

to give myself unto: or, how to enlist, by wine, my very flesh [in the work]: i.e. the work of proving the heart with mirth "yet retaining wisdom".

wine. Hebrew. yayin. App-27.

wisdom. See note on Ecclesiastes 1:13. men. Hebrew. "adam. App-14. Note the use of this word in Ecc. See note on Ecclesiastes 1:13.

under the heaven. See note on Ecclesiastes 1:3. Some codices, with Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate, read "sun", to which it is equivalent.

all the days = the numbered days.


Verse 4

made me great works = increased or multiplied my possessions.

works. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Cause), App-6, for the results and effects gained by work. Compare Exodus 23:12. 1 Samuel 25:2. Isaiah 26:12.


Verse 5

orchards. Hebrew. pardesim = paradises, parks, or pleasure grounds. Different from "gardens", which were cultivated (Deuteronomy 11:10. 1 Kings 21:2). Paradises were formed by eastern monarchs. In the British Museum may be seen the inscriptions of Gudea, the greatest of the Sumerian rulers of Chaldea (2500 B.C.), and Tiglath-pileser I, king of Assyria (1120 B. C), describing what could be only a botanical and zoological park. Assur-nazir-pal, king of Assyria (885 B. C), founded such a public paradise, and describes how he stocked it; what he brought, and whence he brought the natural history collection. The British Museum contains a portion of a similar catalogue of Sennacherib. The Paradise in Revelation 2:7; Revelation 22:1, Revelation 22:2, refers to the future paradise, which will be as literal and real, not figurative.


Verse 6

wood = forest.


Verse 7

got me servants = bought me servants. Hebrew bondage has nothing in common with Greek, Roman, or African slavery. There is no word for such slavery in Hebrew; "ebed = labourer, is the name of all Jehovah"s servants.


Verse 8

gathered = amassed. Hebrew. kanas, said to be a later Hebrew word (see App-76.)

the provinces. Hebrew. medinah, from dun = to rule, hence a country. There is no article before "kings", because they constantly change, whereas countries do not change. This is another word which is said to be of later date, but it is found in 1 Kings 20:14, 1 Kings 20:15, 1 Kings 20:17, 1 Kings 20:19. Lamentations 1:1. Ezekiel 19:8. See App-76. Compare note on "event" in Ecclesiastes 2:14.

remained. The Divine wisdom given by God (1 Kings 3:5-15) had not been taken away. See note at foot of p. 906. This must be remembered in reading this book. Like Luke"s "understanding" it came "from above". See note on "very first" (Luke 1:3).


Verse 10

labour = toil.

was = came to be.

portion = share, as in Ecclesiastes 3:22.


Verse 11

Then = But when.

looked = turned in order to look, as in Ecclesiastes 2:12.

vanity. See note on Ecclesiastes 1:2.

vexation of spirit = feeding on wind. Compare Ecclesiastes 1:14.


Verse 12

behold = consider.

under the sun. See note on Ecclesiastes 1:1.


Verse 14

fool. Hebrew. kesil = fat, inert. Same word as in verses: Ecclesiastes 2:15, Ecclesiastes 2:16; not the same word as in Ecclesiastes 2:19.

and I myself perceived = and I too knew: i.e. as well as they.

event = a happening. Hebrew. mikreh. Said to be a later word, but it occurs in 1 Samuel 6:9; 1 Samuel 20:26. Ruth 2:3. See note on Ecclesiastes 2:8.


Verse 15

said I in my heart = spake with myself.

to me. Hebrew "to me, even to me" (Emphatic).


Verse 16

remembrance = memorial, as in Ecclesiastes 1:11, Ecclesiastes 1:11.

of = for.

for ever. See note on Ecclesiastes 1:4.

seeing that which now is = for, as in time past.

as the fool. Compare Psalms 49:10. 2 Samuel 3:33.


Verse 17

life. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of the Subject) for the pleasure enjoyed in it.


Verse 18

labour. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Cause), App-6, for all that is produced by toil.

taken = toiled.


Verse 19

fool. Hebrew. sakal = stupid. Not the game word as in verses: Ecclesiastes 2:14, Ecclesiastes 2:15, Ecclesiastes 2:16.

have rule. Hebrew. shaLatin Supposed to be a later Hebrew word, but it occurs in Psalms 119:133.

shewed myself wise = acted wisely.


Verse 20

took = toiled. Some codices, with two early printed editions, add wherein I had acted wisely


Verse 21

there = here.

leave it = "leave it [to another]".

evil = calamity. Hebrew. ra"a". App-44.


Verse 22

vexation = feeding, or delight. Same word as in Ecclesiastes 1:17; Ecclesiastes 4:16. Not the same as in verses: Ecclesiastes 2:11, Ecclesiastes 2:17, Ecclesiastes 2:26.


Verse 23

travail = toil that brings about fatigue. The same word as in Ecclesiastes 1:13; Ecclesiastes 2:26; Ecclesiastes 3:10; Ecclesiastes 4:8; Ecclesiastes 5:14. Not the same word as in Ecclesiastes 4:4, Ecclesiastes 4:6. Occurs only in Ecclesiastes.


Verse 24

nothing better = no goodness.

better. Occurs in Ecclesiastes 2:24; Ecclesiastes 3:22; Ecclesiastes 4:3, Ecclesiastes 4:6, Ecclesiastes 4:9, Ecclesiastes 4:13, &c.

than. Ginsburg thinks this "than" should be in the text.

his soul = himself. Hebrew. nephesh. App-13.

it: i.e. true enjoyment. Omit the preceding italics.

God. Hebrew. ha-"Elohim = the [true] God (App-4. with Art.) God (as Creator) is the subject which is continued through the next verse as the source and giver of all good. It is not therefore necessary to suppose that "another hand has been here at work".


Verse 25

who else can hasten hereunto = who can enjoy?

more than I. Some codices, with Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic, read mimmennu, instead of mimmenni, "without Him" (i.e. without His favour).


Verse 26

sinner. Hebrew. chata". App-44. Occurs again in Ecclesiastes six times. (Ecclesiastes 5:6; Ecclesiastes 7:20, Ecclesiastes 7:26; Ecclesiastes 8:12; Ecclesiastes 9:2, Ecclesiastes 9:18).

gather = gather in. Not the same word as Ecclesiastes 2:8.

 


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Bibliography Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 2:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/ecclesiastes-2.html. 1909-1922.

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