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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Ecclesiastes 4

 

 

Introduction
1Vanity is increased unto men by oppression;
4by envy;
5by idleness;
7by covetousness;
9by solitariness;
13by wilfulness.

Verse 1
So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.
I returned
Job 6:29; Malachi 3:18
and considered
3:16; 5:8; 7:7; Exodus 1:13,14,16,22; 2:23,24; 5:16-19; Deuteronomy 28:33,48; Judges 4:3; 10:7,8; Nehemiah 5:1-5; Job 24:7-12; Psalms 10:9,10; Proverbs 28:3,15,16; Isaiah 5:7; 51:23; 59:7,13-15; Malachi 3:5
the tears
Psalms 42:3,9; 80:5; 102:8,9; Malachi 2:13; James 5:4
they had
Job 16:4; 19:21,22; Psalms 69:20; 142:4; Proverbs 19:7; Lamentations 1:2,9; Matthew 26:56; 2 Timothy 4:16,17
side
Heb. hand.

Verse 2
Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.
2:17; 9:4-6; Job 3:17-21

Verse 3
Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
better
6:3-5; Job 3:10-16; 10:18,19; Jeremiah 20:17,18; Matthew 24:19; Luke 23:29
who
1:14; 2:17; Psalms 55:6-11; Jeremiah 9:2,3

Verse 4
Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.
every, etc
Heb. all the rightness of work, that this is the envy of man from his neighbour.
Genesis 4:4-8; 37:2-11; 1 Samuel 18:8,9,14-16,29,30; Proverbs 27:4; Matthew 27:18; Acts 7:9; James 4:5; 1 John 3:12
This is
16; 1:14; 2:21,26; 6:9,11; Genesis 37:4,11

Verse 5
The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.
fool
Proverbs 6:10,11; 12:27; 13:4; 20:4; 24:33,34
eateth
That is, with envy, (see ver. 4,) though too idle to follow his neighbour's example.
Job 13:14; Proverbs 11:17; Isaiah 9:20

Verse 6
Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.
Psalms 37:16; Proverbs 15:16,17; 16:8; 17:1

Verse 7
Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun.
1; Psalms 78:33; Zechariah 1:6

Verse 8
There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.
one
9-12; Genesis 2:18; Isaiah 56:3-5
he hath
Genesis 15:2,3
no
Isaiah 5:8
is his
1:8; 5:10; Proverbs 27:20; Habakkuk 2:5-9; 1 John 2:16
For
Psalms 39:6; Isaiah 44:19,20; Luke 12:20
it is
1:13; 2:23; Isaiah 55:2; Matthew 11:28

Verse 9
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
are
Genesis 2:18; Exodus 4:14-16; Numbers 11:14; Proverbs 27:17; Haggai 1:14; Mark 6:7; Acts 13:2; Acts 15:39,40; 1 Corinthians 12:18-21
a good
Ruth 2:12; John 4:36; 2 John 1:8

Verse 10
For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
if
Exodus 32:2-4,21; Deuteronomy 9:19,20; 1 Samuel 23:16; 2 Samuel 11:27; 12:7-14; Job 4:3,4; Isaiah 35:3,4; Luke 22:31,32; Galatians 2:11-14; 6:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11
but
Genesis 4:8; 2 Samuel 14:6

Verse 11
Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
1 Kings 1:1,2

Verse 12
And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
And if
This is well illustrated by the fable of the dying father, who, to shew his sons the advantages of union, gave them a bundle of twigs, which could not be broken when bound together, but were easily snapped asunder one by one.
and a
2 Samuel 23:9,16,18,19,23; Daniel 3:16,17; Ephesians 4:3

Verse 13
Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.
is a poor
9:15,16; Genesis 37:2; Proverbs 19:1; 28:6,15,16
will no more be
Heb. knoweth not to be.
1 Kings 22:8; 2 Chronicles 16:9,10; 24:20-22; 25:16

Verse 14
For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.
For out
This is probably an allusion to some fact with which we are unacquainted. History furnishes many instances of mean persons raised to sovereign authority, and of kings being reduced to the meanest offices, and to a morsel. Agrippa mounted the throne of Israel after having been long in prison; and similar instances are not wanting in modern times.
Genesis 41:14,33-44; Job 5:11; Psalms 113:7,8
also
1 Kings 14:26,27; 2 Kings 23:31-34; 24:1,2,6,12; 25:7,27-30; Lamentations 4:20; Daniel 4:31

Verse 15
I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead.
child
2 Samuel 15:6

Verse 16
There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.
no end
2 Samuel 15:12,13; 1 Kings 1:5-7,40; 12:10-16
they also
Judges 9:19,20; 2 Samuel 18:7,8; 19:9
this
1:14; 2:11,17,26

 


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Bibliography Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Ecclesiastes 4:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/ecclesiastes-4.html.

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