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Ecclesiastes 4:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Then I returned and saw 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.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— 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.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold [I saw] the tears of the oppressed and [that] they had no one to comfort [them]; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort [them].
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— 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.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And I returned and saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors was power, and they had no comforter.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Then again, I, considered all the oppressive deeds which were done under the sun,—and lo! the tears of the oppressed, and they have no comforter, and, on the side of their oppressing, is power, and they have no comforter.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And I have turned, and I see all the oppressions that are done under the sun, and lo, the tear of the oppressed, and they have no comforter; and at the hand of their oppressors [is] power, and they have no comforter.
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— I turned myself to other things, and I saw the oppressions that are done under the sun, and the tears of the innocent, and they had no comforter; and they were not able to resist their violence, being destitute of help from any.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done vnder the sunne; & behold the teares of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter: and on the side of their oppressours [there was] power, but they [had] no comforter.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— So I returned, and saw all the oppressions that were done under the sun: and behold the tear of the oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of them that oppressed them was power; but they had no comforter:
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— 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.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
So I x589
(0589) Complement
אֲנִי
'aniy
{an-ee'}
Contracted from H0595; I.
returned, 7725
{7725} Prime
שׁוּב
shuwb
{shoob}
A primitive root; to turn back (hence, away) transitively or intransitively, literally or figuratively (not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point); generally to retreat; often adverbially again.
z8804
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
and considered 7200
{7200} Prime
רָאָה
ra'ah
{raw-aw'}
A primitive root; to see, literally or figuratively (in numerous applications, direct and implied, transitively, intransitively and causatively).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
x853
(0853) Complement
אֵת
'eth
{ayth}
Apparently contracted from H0226 in the demonstrative sense of entity; properly self (but generally used to point out more definitely the object of a verb or preposition, even or namely).
all x3605
(3605) Complement
כֹּל
kol
{kole}
From H3634; properly the whole; hence all, any or every (in the singular only, but often in a plural sense).
the oppressions 6217
{6217} Prime
עֲשׁוּק
`ashuwq
{aw-shook'}
Passive participle of H6231; used in plural masculine as abstraction tyranny.
that x834
(0834) Complement
אֲשֶׁר
'asher
{ash-er'}
A primitive relative pronoun (of every gender and number); who, which, what, that; also (as adverb and conjunction) when, where, how, because, in order that, etc.
are done 6213
{6213} Prime
עָשָׂה
`asah
{aw-saw'}
A primitive root; to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application.
z8737
<8737> Grammar
Stem - Niphal (See H8833)
Mood - Participle (See H8813)
Count - 793
under x8478
(8478) Complement
תַּחַת
tachath
{takh'-ath}
From the same as H8430; the bottom (as depressed); only adverbially below (often with prepositional prefix underneath), in lieu of, etc.
the sun: 8121
{8121} Prime
שֶׁמֶשׁ
shemesh
{sheh'-mesh}
From an unused root meaning to be brilliant; the sun; by implication the east; figuratively a ray, that is, (architecturally) a notched battlement.
and behold x2009
(2009) Complement
הִנֵּה
hinneh
{hin-nay'}
Prolonged for H2005; lo!.
the tears 1832
{1832} Prime
דִּמְעָה
dim`ah
{dim-aw'}
Feminine of H1831; weeping.
of [such as were] oppressed, y6231
[6231] Standard
עָשַׁק
`ashaq
{aw-shak'}
A primitive root (compare H6229); to press upon, that is, oopress, defraud, violate, overflow.
z8803
<8803> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Passive (See H8815)
Count - 1415
x6217
(6217) Complement
עֲשׁוּק
`ashuwq
{aw-shook'}
Passive participle of H6231; used in plural masculine as abstraction tyranny.
and they had no x369
(0369) Complement
אַיִן
'ayin
{ah'-yin}
As if from a primitive root meaning to be nothing or not exist; a non-entity; generally used as a negative particle.
comforter; 5162
{5162} Prime
נָחַם
nacham
{naw-kham'}
A primitive root; properly to sigh, that is, breathe strongly; by implication to be sorry, that is, (in a favorable sense) to pity, console or (reflexively) rue; or (unfavorably) to avenge (oneself).
z8764
<8764> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Participle (See H8813)
Count - 685
and on the side 3027
{3027} Prime
יָד
yad
{yawd}
A primitive word; a hand (the open one (indicating power, means, direction, etc.), in distinction from H3709, the closed one); used (as noun, adverb, etc.) in a great variety of applications, both literally and figuratively, both proximate and remote.
x4480
(4480) Complement
מִן
min
{min}
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
of their oppressors 6231
{6231} Prime
עָשַׁק
`ashaq
{aw-shak'}
A primitive root (compare H6229); to press upon, that is, oopress, defraud, violate, overflow.
z8802
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
[there was] power; 3581
{3581} Prime
כֹּחַ
koach
{ko'-akh}
From an unused root meaning to be firm; vigor, literally (force, in a good or a bad sense) or figuratively (capacity, means, produce); also (from its hardiness) a large lizard.
but they had no x369
(0369) Complement
אַיִן
'ayin
{ah'-yin}
As if from a primitive root meaning to be nothing or not exist; a non-entity; generally used as a negative particle.
comforter. 5162
{5162} Prime
נָחַם
nacham
{naw-kham'}
A primitive root; properly to sigh, that is, breathe strongly; by implication to be sorry, that is, (in a favorable sense) to pity, console or (reflexively) rue; or (unfavorably) to avenge (oneself).
z8764
<8764> Grammar
Stem - Piel (See H8840)
Mood - Participle (See H8813)
Count - 685
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Ecclesiastes 4:1

_ _ returned — namely, to the thought set forth (Ecclesiastes 3:16; Job 35:9).

_ _ power — Maurer, not so well, “violence.”

_ _ no comforter — twice said to express continued suffering without any to give comfort (Isaiah 53:7).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Ecclesiastes 4:1-3

_ _ Solomon had a large soul (1 Kings 4:29) and it appeared by this, among other things, that he had a very tender concern for the miserable part of mankind and took cognizance of the afflictions of the afflicted. He had taken the oppressors to task (Ecclesiastes 3:16, Ecclesiastes 3:17) and put them in mind of the judgment to come, to be a curb to their insolence; now here he observes the oppressed. This he did, no doubt, as a prince, to do them justice and avenge them of their adversaries, for he both feared God and regarded men; but here he does it as a preacher, and shows,

_ _ I. The troubles of their condition (Ecclesiastes 4:1); of these he speaks very feelingly and with compassion. It grieved him, 1. To see might prevailing against right, to see so much oppression done under the sun, to see servants, and labourers, and poor workmen, oppressed by their masters, who take advantage of their necessity to impose what terms they please upon them, debtors oppressed by cruel creditors and creditors too by fraudulent debtors, tenants oppressed by hard landlords and orphans by treacherous guardians, and, worst of all, subjects oppressed by arbitrary princes and unjust judges. Such oppressions are done under the sun; above the sun righteousness reigns for ever. Wise men will consider these oppressions, and contrive to do something for the relief of those that are oppressed. Blessed is he that considers the poor. 2. To see how those that were wronged laid to heart the wrongs that were done them. He beheld the tears of such as were oppressed, and perhaps could not forbear weeping with them. The world is a place of weepers; look which way we will, we have a melancholy scene presented to us, the tears of those that are oppressed with one trouble or other. They find it is to no purpose to complain, and therefore mourn in secret (as Job, Job 16:20; Job 30:28); but Blessed are those that mourn. 3. To see how unable they were to help themselves: On the side of their oppressors there was power, when they had done wrong, to stand to it and make good what they had done, so that the poor were borne down with a strong hand and had no way to obtain redress. It is sad to see power misplaced, and that which was given men to enable them to do good perverted to support them in doing wrong. 4. To see how they and their calamities were slighted by all about them. They wept and needed comfort, but there was none to do that friendly office: They had no comforter; their oppressors were powerful and threatening, and therefore they had no comforter; those that should have comforted them durst not, for fear of displeasing the oppressors and being made their companions for offering to be their comforters. It is sad to see so little humanity among men.

_ _ II. The temptations of their condition. Being thus hardly used, they are tempted to hate and despise life, and to envy those that are dead and in their graves, and to wish they had never been born (Ecclesiastes 4:2, Ecclesiastes 4:3); and Solomon is ready to agree with them, for it serves to prove that all is vanity and vexation, since life itself is often so; and if we disregard it, in comparison with the favour and fruition of God (as St. Paul, Acts 20:24, Philippians 1:23), it is our praise, but, if (as here) only for the sake of the miseries that attend it, it is our infirmity, and we judge therein after the flesh, as Job and Elijah did. 1. He here thinks those happy who have ended this miserable life, have done their part and quitted the stage; “I praised the dead that are already dead, slain outright, or that had a speedy passage through the world, made a short cut over the ocean of life, dead already, before they had well begun to live; I was pleased with their lot, and, had it been in their own choice, should have praised their wisdom for but looking into the world and then retiring, as not liking it. I concluded that it is better with them than with the living that are yet alive and that is all, dragging the long and heavy chain of life, and wearing out its tedious minutes.” This may be compared not with Job 3:20, Job 3:21, but with Revelation 14:13, where, in times of persecution (and such Solomon is here describing), it is not the passion of man, but the Spirit of God, that says, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth. Note, The condition of the saints that are dead, and gone to rest with God, is upon many accounts better and more desirable than the condition of living saints that are yet continued in their work and warfare. 2. He thinks those happy who never began this miserable life; nay, they are happiest of all: He that has not been is happier than both they. Better never to have been born than be born to see the evil work that is done under the sun, to see so much wickedness committed, so much wrong done, and not only to be in no capacity to mend the matter, but to suffer ill for doing well. A good man, how calamitous a condition soever he is in in this world, cannot have cause to wish he had never been born, since he is glorifying the Lord even in the fires, and will be happy at last, for ever happy. Nor ought any to wish so while they are alive, for while there is life there is hope; a man is never undone till he is in hell.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Ecclesiastes 4:1

I returned — I considered again. Oppressions — Whether by princes, magistrates, or other potent persons. No comforter — None afforded them pity or succour. But they, &c. — No comfort therein.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Ecclesiastes 4:1

So (a) 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.

(a) He makes here another discourse with himself concerning the tyranny of them that oppressed the poor.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
I returned:

Job 6:29 Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yea, return again, my righteousness [is] in it.
Malachi 3:18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

and considered:

Ecclesiastes 3:16 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, [that] wickedness [was] there; and the place of righteousness, [that] iniquity [was] there.
Ecclesiastes 5:8 If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for [he that is] higher than the highest regardeth; and [there be] higher than they.
Ecclesiastes 7:7 Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.
Exodus 1:13-14 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: ... And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, [was] with rigour.
Exodus 1:16 And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see [them] upon the stools; if it [be] a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it [be] a daughter, then she shall live.
Exodus 1:22 And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.
Exodus 2:23-24 And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. ... And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
Exodus 5:16-19 There is no straw given unto thy servants, and they say to us, Make brick: and, behold, thy servants [are] beaten; but the fault [is] in thine own people. ... And the officers of the children of Israel did see [that] they [were] in evil [case], after it was said, Ye shall not minish [ought] from your bricks of your daily task.
Deuteronomy 28:33 The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway:
Deuteronomy 28:48 Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all [things]: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.
Judges 4:3 And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.
Judges 10:7-8 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon. ... And that year they vexed and oppressed the children of Israel: eighteen years, all the children of Israel that [were] on the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which [is] in Gilead.
Nehemiah 5:1-5 And there was a great cry of the people and of their wives against their brethren the Jews. ... Yet now our flesh [is] as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants, and [some] of our daughters are brought unto bondage [already]: neither [is it] in our power [to redeem them]; for other men have our lands and vineyards.
Job 24:7-12 They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that [they have] no covering in the cold. ... Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly [to them].
Psalms 10:9-10 He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net. ... He croucheth, [and] humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones.
Proverbs 28:3 A poor man that oppresseth the poor [is like] a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.
Proverbs 28:15-16 [As] a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; [so is] a wicked ruler over the poor people. ... The prince that wanteth understanding [is] also a great oppressor: [but] he that hateth covetousness shall prolong [his] days.
Isaiah 5:7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts [is] the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.
Isaiah 51:23 But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.
Isaiah 59:7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts [are] thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction [are] in their paths.
Isaiah 59:13-15 In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. ... Yea, truth faileth; and he [that] departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw [it], and it displeased him that [there was] no judgment.
Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in [his] wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger [from his right], and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.

the tears:

Psalms 42:3 My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where [is] thy God?
Psalms 42:9 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
Psalms 80:5 Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure.
Psalms 102:8-9 Mine enemies reproach me all the day; [and] they that are mad against me are sworn against me. ... For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping,
Malachi 2:13 And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth [it] with good will at your hand.
James 5:4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

they had:

Job 16:4 I also could speak as ye [do]: if your soul were in my soul's stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you.
Job 19:21-22 Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me. ... Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh?
Psalms 69:20 Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked [for some] to take pity, but [there was] none; and for comforters, but I found none.
Psalms 142:4 I looked on [my] right hand, and beheld, but [there was] no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.
Proverbs 19:7 All the brethren of the poor do hate him: how much more do his friends go far from him? he pursueth [them with] words, [yet] they [are] wanting [to him].
Lamentations 1:2 She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears [are] on her cheeks: among all her lovers she hath none to comfort [her]: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies.
Lamentations 1:9 Her filthiness [is] in her skirts; she remembereth not her last end; therefore she came down wonderfully: she had no comforter. O LORD, behold my affliction: for the enemy hath magnified [himself].
Matthew 26:56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
2 Timothy 4:16-17 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all [men] forsook me: [I pray God] that it may not be laid to their charge. ... Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and [that] all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

side:
Heb. hand
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Ex 1:13, 16, 22; 2:23; 5:16. Dt 28:33, 48. Jg 4:3; 10:7. Ne 5:1. Jb 6:29; 16:4; 19:21; 24:7. Ps 10:9; 42:3, 9; 69:20; 80:5; 102:8; 142:4. Pv 19:7; 28:3, 15. Ec 3:16; 5:8; 7:7. Is 5:7; 51:23; 59:7, 13. Lm 1:2, 9. Mal 2:13; 3:5, 18. Mt 26:56. 2Ti 4:16. Jm 5:4.

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