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Bible Commentaries

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ecclesiastes 1

 

 

Verse 1

Jerusalem. This clearly designates Solomon. See ver. 12., and chap. xii. 8.


Verse 2

Vanities. Most vain and despicable, (Calmet) and frustrating the expectations of men. (Menochius) --- St. Augustine reads vanitantium, and infers that this vanity of sublunary things is an effect of man's sin. Yet he afterwards discovered that he had read incorrectly. (Retractions i. 7.)


Verse 3

Labour. People fight for a mere point; for such is the earth compared with the universe. (Seneca, q. Nat.) Hoc est punctum, &c., Matthew xvi. 26.


Verse 4

Ever. Its substance remains, though the form be changed. (Calmet) --- At the end of time, it will be purified to continue for ever. (Worthington)


Verse 5

Place daily. Its annual motion is then mentioned. (Calmet)


Verse 6

Spirit. The sun, (St. Jerome) which is like the soul of the world, and which some have falsely asserted to be animated; or rather (Calmet) the wind is meant, as one rises in different parts of the world when another falls. (Pliny, [Natural History?] ii. 27.) (Menochius)


Verse 7

Again. The sea furnishes vapours, &c. Homer (Iliad Greek: Ph.) expresses himself in the same manner.


Verse 8

Hearing. In all sciences there are many difficulties. If a man had arrived at perfect knowledge, his researches would cease.


Verse 10

New. Such vicissitudes have occurred before, though we must not infer that the world is eternal; or that there have been many others before this, as Origen would suppose. (Prin. iii. 5., &c.) (Calmet) --- Men's souls, which are created daily, are nevertheless of the same sort as Adam's was; and creatures proceed from others of the same species, which have been from the beginning. (St. Thomas Aquinas, [Summa Theologiae] p. 1. q. 73.) (Worthington) --- Natural and moral things continue much the same. (Menochius)


Verse 11

Things. Otherwise we should read of similar events to those which we behold. The same cause naturally produces the same effect.


Verse 12

Israel. This was the case with none of Solomon's descendants. (Calmet)


Verse 14

Vexation. Hebrew also, "food of wind;" (Symmachus) or "choice of the spirit." (Septuagint) People are eager to become learned, and yet find no satisfaction. (Haydock) --- All natural things are insufficient to procure felicity. (Worthington) O Curas hominum! O quantum est in rebus inane! (Persius.)


Verse 15

Perverse. Habitual and obstinate sinners. (Calmet) --- Fools, who follow the broad road. (Haydock) --- Hebrew and Septuagint, "the defect cannot be numbered." We know not to what a height the soul of man might have risen, if he had continued faithful.


Verse 16

Learned. Solomon was blessed both with a natural genius, which he improved by study, and also he had the gift of supernatural wisdom. Yet he declares that all is vanity and pain.


Verse 17

Errors. Septuagint, "parables and science." But to discern the mistakes of men is a part of wisdom, (Calmet) and Grabe substitutes "wanderings," instead of "parables," after Theodotion, as Hebrew ealluth (Haydock) means "errors," (Calmet) or "follies." (Montanus)


Verse 18

Labour. He is bound to do more for heaven, as he is convinced of his own defects, and of the strict judgments of God. Wisdom is not true happiness, but the means to obtain it. (Worthington) --- The more a person knows, the more he is convinced of his own ignorance, (Calmet) and filled with grief, that wisdom should be so much concealed. (St. Jerome) --- Those who are learned, feel indignant that their disciples should be so dull. (Menochius)


Verse 31

CHAPTER I.

 


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Bibliography Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 1:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/ecclesiastes-1.html. 1859.

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