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1. I said . . . heart--
2. laughter--including prosperity, and joy
3-11. Illustration more at large of
Ec 2:1, 2.
5. gardens--Hebrew, "paradises," a foreign word; Sanskrit, "a place enclosed with a wall"; Armenian and Arabic, "a pleasure ground with flowers and shrubs near the king's house, or castle." An earthly paradise can never make up for the want of the heavenly (Re 2:7).
6. pools--artificial, for irrigating the soil
Three such reservoirs are still found, called Solomon's cisterns, a
mile and a half from Jerusalem.
7. born in my house--These were esteemed more trustworthy servants than those bought (Ge 14:14; 15:2, 3; 17:12, 13, 27; Jer 2:14), called "songs of one's handmaid" (Ex 23:12; compare Ge 12:16; Job 1:3).
2Ch 1:15; 9:20).
11. But all these I felt were only "vanity," and of "no profit" as to the chief good. "Wisdom" (worldly common sense, sagacity), which still "remained with me" (Ec 2:9), showed me that these could not give solid happiness.
12. He had tried (worldly) wisdom
and folly (foolish pleasure)
he now compares them
and finds that while (worldly)
13, 14. (Pr 17:24). The worldly "wise" man has good sense in managing his affairs, skill and taste in building and planting, and keeps within safe and respectable bounds in pleasure, while the "fool" is wanting in these respects ("darkness," equivalent to fatal error, blind infatuation), yet one event, death, happens to both (Job 21:26).
16. remembrance--a great aim of the worldly
The righteous alone attain it
18, 19. One hope alone was left to the disappointed worldling, the perpetuation of his name and riches, laboriously gathered, through his successor. For selfishness is mostly at the root of worldly parents' alleged providence for their children. But now the remembrance of how he himself, the piously reared child of David, had disregarded his father's dying charge (1Ch 28:9), suggested the sad misgivings as to what Rehoboam, his son by an idolatrous Ammonitess, Naamah, should prove to be; a foreboding too fully realized (1Ki 12:1-18; 14:21-31).
21. Suppose "there is a man," &c.
22. Same sentiment as in Ec 2:21, interrogatively.
23. The only fruit he has is, not only sorrows in his days, but all his days are sorrows, and his travail (not only has griefs connected with it, but is itself), grief.
24. English Version gives a seemingly Epicurean sense,
contrary to the general scope. The Hebrew, literally is, "It is
not good for man that he should eat," &c., "and should make his
soul see good" (or "show his soul, that is, himself, happy"),
&c. [WEISS]. According to HOLDEN and WEISS,
Ec 3:12, 22
differ from this verse in the text and meaning; here he means, "It is
not good that a man should feast himself, and falsely make as though
his soul were happy"; he thus refers to a false pretending of
happiness acquired by and for one's self; in
Ec 3:12, 22; 5:18, 19,
to real seeing, or finding pleasure when God gives
it. There it is said to be good for a man to enjoy with
satisfaction and thankfulness the blessings which God gives; here it is
said not to be good to take an unreal pleasure to one's
self by feasting, &c.
25. hasten--after indulgences (Pr 7:23; 19:2), eagerly pursue such enjoyments. None can compete with me in this. If I, then, with all my opportunities of enjoyment, failed utterly to obtain solid pleasure of my own making, apart from God, who else can? God mercifully spares His children the sad experiment which Solomon made, by denying them the goods which they often desire. He gives them the fruits of Solomon's experience, without their paying the dear price at which Solomon bought it.
26. True, literally, in the Jewish theocracy; and in some measure in
(Job 27:16, 17;
Pr 13:22; 28:8).
Though the retribution be not so visible and immediate now as then, it
is no less real. Happiness even here is more truly the portion of the
Mr 10:29, 30;