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Ecclesiastes 1:4 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— One generation goeth, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth for ever.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— [One] generation passeth away, and [another] generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— A generation goes and a generation comes, But the earth remains forever.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— [One] generation passeth away, and [another] generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— [One] generation passeth away, and [another] generation cometh, but the earth standeth for ever.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Generation, goeth and, generation, cometh, but, the earth, unto times age-abiding, remaineth.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— A generation is going, and a generation is coming, and the earth to the age is standing.
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth standeth for ever.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— [One] generation passeth away, and [another] generation commeth: but the earth abideth for euer.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— A generation goes, and a generation comes: but the earth stands for ever.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— [One] generation passeth away, and [another] generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
[One] generation 1755
{1755} Prime
דּוֹר
dowr
{dore}
From H1752; properly a revolution of time, that is, an age or generation; also a dwelling.
passeth away, 1980
{1980} Prime
הָלַךְ
halak
{haw-lak'}
Akin to H3212; a primitive root; to walk (in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively).
z8802
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
and [another] generation 1755
{1755} Prime
דּוֹר
dowr
{dore}
From H1752; properly a revolution of time, that is, an age or generation; also a dwelling.
cometh: 935
{0935} Prime
בּוֹא
bow'
{bo}
A primitive root; to go or come (in a wide variety of applications).
z8802
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
z8676
<8676> Grammar
Qere Reading

Where the translators of the Authorised Version followed the kethiv reading rather than the qere.
z8804
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
but the earth 776
{0776} Prime
אֶרֶץ
'erets
{eh'-rets}
From an unused root probably meaning to be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land).
abideth 5975
{5975} Prime
עָמַד
`amad
{aw-mad'}
A primitive root; to stand, in various relations (literally and figuratively, intransitively and transitively).
z8802
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
for ever. 5769
{5769} Prime
עוֹלָם
`owlam
{o-lawm'}
From H5956; properly concealed, that is, the vanishing point; generally time out of mind (past or future), that is, (practically) eternity; frequentative adverbially (especially with prepositional prefix) always.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Ecclesiastes 1:4

_ _ earth ... for ever — (Psalms 104:5). While the earth remains the same, the generations of men are ever changing; what lasting profit, then, can there be from the toils of one whose sojourn on earth, as an individual, is so brief? The “for ever” is comparative, not absolute (Psalms 102:26).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Ecclesiastes 1:4-8

_ _ To prove the vanity of all things under the sun, and their insufficiency to make us happy, Solomon here shows, 1. That the time of our enjoyment of these things is very short, and only while we accomplish as a hireling his day. We continue in the world but for one generation, which is continually passing away to make room for another, and we are passing with it. Our worldly possessions we very lately had from others, and must very shortly leave to others, and therefore to us they are vanity; they can be no more substantial than that life which is the substratum of them, and that is but a vapour, which appears for a little while and then vanishes away. While the stream of mankind is continually flowing, how little enjoyment has one drop of that stream of the pleasant banks between which it glides! We may give God the glory of that constant succession of generations, in which the world has hitherto had its existence, and will have to the end of time, admitting his patience in continuing that sinful species and his power in continuing that dying species. We may be also quickened to do the work of our generation diligently, and serve it faithfully, because it will be over shortly; and, in concern for mankind in general, we should consult the welfare of succeeding generations; but as to our own happiness, let us not expect it within such narrow limits, but in an eternal rest and consistency. 2. That when we leave this world we leave the earth behind us, that abides for ever where it is, and therefore the things of the earth can stand us in no stead in the future state. It is well for mankind in general that the earth endures to the end of time, when it and all the works in it shall be burnt up; but what is that to particular persons, when they remove to the world of spirits? 3. That the condition of man is, in this respect, worse than that even of the inferior creatures: The earth abides for ever, but man abides upon the earth but a little while. The sun sets indeed every night, yet it rises again in the morning, as bright and fresh as ever; the winds, though they shift their point, yet in some point or other still they are; the waters that go to the sea above ground come from it again under ground. But man lies down and rises not, Job 14:7, Job 14:12. 4. That all things in this world are movable and mutable, and subject to a continual toil and agitation, constant in nothing but inconstancy, still going, never resting; it was but once that the sun stood still; when it is risen it is hastening to set, and, when it is set, hastening to rise again (Ecclesiastes 1:5); the winds are ever and anon shifting (Ecclesiastes 1:6), and the waters in a continual circulation (Ecclesiastes 1:7), it would be of as bad consequence for them to stagnate as for the blood in the body to do so. And can we expect rest in a world where all things are thus full of labour (Ecclesiastes 1:8), on a sea that is always ebbing and flowing, and her waves continually working and rolling? 5. That though all things are still in motion, yet they are still where they were; The sun parts (as it is in the margin), but it is to the same place; the wind turns till it comes to the same place, and so the waters return to the place whence they came. Thus man, after all the pains he takes to find satisfaction and happiness in the creature, is but where he was, still as far to seek as ever. Man's mind is as restless in its pursuits as the sun, and wind, and rivers, but never satisfied, never contented; the more it has of the world the more it would have; and it would be no sooner filled with the streams of outward prosperity, the brooks of honey and butter (Job 20:17), than the sea is with all the rivers that run into it; it is still as it was, a troubled sea that cannot rest. 6. That all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation, 2 Peter 3:4. The earth is where it was; the sun, and winds, and rivers, keep the same course that ever they did; and therefore, if they have never yet been sufficient to make a happiness for man, they are never likely to be so, for they can but yield the same comfort that they have yielded. We must therefore look above the sun for satisfaction, and for a new world. 7. That this world is, at the best, a weary land: All is vanity, for all is full of labour. The whole creation is made subject to this vanity ever since man was sentenced to eat bread in the sweat of his brows. If we survey the whole creation, we shall see all busy; all have enough to do to mind their own business; none will be a portion or happiness for man; all labour to serve him, but none prove a help-meet for him. Man cannot express how full of labour all things are, can neither number the laborious nor measure the labours. 8. That our senses are unsatisfied, and the objects of them unsatisfying. He specifies those senses that perform their office with least toil, and are most capable of being pleased: The eye is not satisfied with seeing, but is weary of seeing always the same sight, and covets novelty and variety. The ear is fond, at first, of a pleasant song or tune, but soon nauseates it, and must have another; both are surfeited, but neither satiated, and what was most grateful becomes ungrateful. Curiosity is still inquisitive, because still unsatisfied, and the more it is humoured the more nice and peevish it grows, crying, Give, give.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Ecclesiastes 1:4

Passeth — Men continue but for one, and that a short age, and then they leave all their possessions, and therefore they cannot be happy here, because happiness must needs be unchangeable and eternal; or else the certain knowledge of the approaching loss of all these things will rob a man of solid contentment in them. Abideth — Through all successive generations of men; and therefore man is more mutable than the very earth upon which he stands, and which, together with all the comforts which he enjoyed in it, he leaves behind to be possessed by others.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Ecclesiastes 1:4

[One] generation passeth away, and [another] generation cometh: but the earth abideth for (d) ever.

(d) One man dies after another, and the earth remains longest, even to the last day, which yet is subject to corruption.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
One generation:

Ecclesiastes 6:12 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?
Genesis 5:3-31 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat [a son] in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth: ... And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died.
Genesis 11:20-32 And Reu lived two and thirty years, and begat Serug: ... And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.
Genesis 36:9-19 And these [are] the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in mount Seir: ... These [are] the sons of Esau, who [is] Edom, and these [are] their dukes.
Genesis 47:9 And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage [are] an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.
Exodus 1:6-7 And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. ... And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.
Exodus 6:16-27 And these [are] the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations; Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari: and the years of the life of Levi [were] an hundred thirty and seven years. ... These [are] they which spake to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt: these [are] that Moses and Aaron.
Psalms 89:47-48 Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain? ... What man [is he that] liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.
Psalms 90:9-10 For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale [that is told]. ... The days of our years [are] threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength [they be] fourscore years, yet [is] their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Zechariah 1:5 Your fathers, where [are] they? and the prophets, do they live for ever?

but:

Psalms 102:24-28 I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years [are] throughout all generations. ... The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.
Psalms 104:5 [Who] laid the foundations of the earth, [that] it should not be removed for ever.
Psalms 119:90-91 Thy faithfulness [is] unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. ... They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all [are] thy servants.
Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
2 Peter 3:10-13 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. ... Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
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Chain-Reference Bible Search

Gn 5:3; 11:20; 36:9; 47:9. Ex 1:6; 6:16. Ps 89:47; 90:9; 102:24; 104:5; 119:90. Ec 6:12. Zc 1:5. Mt 24:35. 2P 3:10.

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