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Ecclesiastes 6:12 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— For who knoweth what is good for man in [his] 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?
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— 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?
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— For who knows what is good for a man during [his] lifetime, [during] the few years of his futile life? He will spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— 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?
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— For who knoweth what is good for man in life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell man what shall be after him under the sun?
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— For who knoweth what is good for a man throughout his life, for the number of the days of his life of vanity, seeing he will make them, like a shadow,—for who can tell a man, what shall be after him, under the sun?
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— For who knoweth what [is] good for a man in life, the number of the days of the life of his vanity, and he maketh them as a shadow? for who declareth to man what is after him under the sun?
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— What needeth a man to seek things that are above him, whereas he knoweth not what is profitable for him in his life, in all the days of his pilgrimage, and the time that passeth like a shadow? Or who can tell him what shall be after him under the sun?
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— For who knoweth what [is] good for man in [this] life, all the dayes of his vaine life, which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shal be after him vnder the sunne?
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— for who knows [what is] good for a man in his life, [during] the number of the life of the days of his vanity? and he has spent them as a shadow; for who shall tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— 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?

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
For x3588
(3588) Complement
כִּי
kiy
{kee}
A primitive particle (the full form of the prepositional prefix) indicating causal relations of all kinds, antecedent or consequent; (by implication) very widely used as a relative conjugation or adverb; often largely modified by other particles annexed.
who x4310
(4310) Complement
מִי
miy
{me}
An interrogitive pronoun of persons, as H4100 is of things, who? (occasionally, by a peculiar idiom, of things); also (indefinitely) whoever; often used in oblique construction with prefix or suffix.
knoweth 3045
{3045} Prime
ידע
yada`
{yaw-dah'}
A primitive root; to know (properly to ascertain by seeing); used in a great variety of senses, figuratively, literally, euphemistically and inferentially (including observation, care, recognition; and causatively instruction, designation, punishment, etc.).
z8802
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
what x4100
(4100) Complement
מָּה
mah
{maw}
A primitive particle; properly interrogitive what? (including how?, why? and when?); but also exclamations like what! (including how!), or indefinitely what (including whatever, and even relatively that which); often used with prefixes in various adverbial or conjugational senses.
[is] good 2896
{2896} Prime
טוֹב
towb
{tobe}
From H2895; good (as an adjective) in the widest sense; used likewise as a noun, both in the masculine and the feminine, the singular and the plural (good, a good or good thing, a good man or woman; the good, goods or good things, good men or women), also as an adverb (well).
for man 120
{0120} Prime
אָדָם
'adam
{aw-dawm'}
From H0119; ruddy, that is, a human being (an individual or the species, mankind, etc.).
in [this] life, 2416
{2416} Prime
חַי
chay
{khah'-ee}
From H2421; alive; hence raw (flesh); fresh (plant, water, year), strong; also (as noun, especially in the feminine singular and masculine plural) life (or living thing), whether literally or figuratively.
all 4557
{4557} Prime
מִסְפָּר
micpar
{mis-pawr'}
From H5608; a number, definitely (arithmetical) or indefinitely (large, innumerable; small, a few); also (abstractly) narration.
the days 3117
{3117} Prime
יוֹם
yowm
{yome}
From an unused root meaning to be hot; a day (as the warm hours), whether literally (from sunrise to sunset, or from one sunset to the next), or figuratively (a space of time defined by an associated term), (often used adverbially).
of his vain 1892
{1892} Prime
הֶבֶל
hebel
{heh'-bel}
From H1891; emptiness or vanity; figuratively something transitory and unsatisfactory; often used as an adverb.
life 2416
{2416} Prime
חַי
chay
{khah'-ee}
From H2421; alive; hence raw (flesh); fresh (plant, water, year), strong; also (as noun, especially in the feminine singular and masculine plural) life (or living thing), whether literally or figuratively.
which he spendeth 6213
{6213} Prime
עָשָׂה
`asah
{aw-saw'}
A primitive root; to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application.
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
as a shadow? 6738
{6738} Prime
צֵל
tsel
{tsale}
From H6751; shade, whether literally or figuratively.
for 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.
who x4310
(4310) Complement
מִי
miy
{me}
An interrogitive pronoun of persons, as H4100 is of things, who? (occasionally, by a peculiar idiom, of things); also (indefinitely) whoever; often used in oblique construction with prefix or suffix.
can tell 5046
{5046} Prime
נָגַד
nagad
{naw-gad'}
A primitive root; properly to front, that is, stand boldly out opposite; by implication (causatively), to manifest; figuratively to announce (always by word of mouth to one present); specifically to expose, predict, explain, praise.
z8686
<8686> Grammar
Stem - Hiphil (See H8818)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 4046
a man 120
{0120} Prime
אָדָם
'adam
{aw-dawm'}
From H0119; ruddy, that is, a human being (an individual or the species, mankind, etc.).
what x4100
(4100) Complement
מָּה
mah
{maw}
A primitive particle; properly interrogitive what? (including how?, why? and when?); but also exclamations like what! (including how!), or indefinitely what (including whatever, and even relatively that which); often used with prefixes in various adverbial or conjugational senses.
shall be x1961
(1961) Complement
הָיָה
hayah
{haw-yaw'}
A primitive root (compare H1933); to exist, that is, be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary).
after 310
{0310} Prime
אַחַר
'achar
{akh-ar'}
From H0309; properly the hind part; generally used as an adverb or conjugation, after (in various senses).
him 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.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Ecclesiastes 6:12

_ _ For who knoweth, etc. — The ungodly know not what is really “good” during life, nor “what shall be after them,” that is, what will be the event of their undertakings (Ecclesiastes 3:22; Ecclesiastes 8:7). The godly might be tempted to “contend with God” (Ecclesiastes 6:10) as to His dispensations; but they cannot fully know the wise purposes served by them now and hereafter. Their sufferings from the oppressors are more really good for them than cloudless prosperity; sinners are being allowed to fill up their measure of guilt. Retribution in part vindicates God’s ways even now. The judgment shall make all clear. In Ecclesiastes 7:1-29, he states what is good, in answer to this verse.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

See commentary on Ecclesiastes 6:11-12.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Ecclesiastes 6:12

Who knoweth — No man certainly knows what is better for him here, whether to be high or low, rich or poor. Vain life — Life itself is a vain and uncertain thing, and therefore all things which depend on it must be so too. While — While it abides, hath nothing solid, or substantial in it, and which speedily passes away, and leaves no sign behind it. For — And as no man can be happy with these things while he lives, so he can have no content in leaving them to others, because he knows not either who shall possess them, or how the future owners will use or abuse them.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Ecclesiastes 6:12

For who knoweth what [is] (a) 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?

(a) There is no state in which man can live to have perfect quietness in this life.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
who knoweth:

Ecclesiastes 2:3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what [was] that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man.
Psalms 4:6 [There be] many that say, Who will shew us [any] good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
Psalms 16:5 The LORD [is] the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.
Psalms 17:15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.
Psalms 47:4 He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.
Lamentations 3:24-27 The LORD [is] my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. ... [It is] good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.
Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what [is] good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

the days of his vain life:
Heb. the number of the days of the life of his vanity,
Ecclesiastes 8:13 But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong [his] days, [which are] as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.
Ecclesiastes 9:6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any [thing] that is done under the sun.
1 Chronicles 29:15 For we [are] strangers before thee, and sojourners, as [were] all our fathers: our days on the earth [are] as a shadow, and [there is] none abiding.
Job 8:9 (For we [are but of] yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth [are] a shadow:)
Job 14:2 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.
Psalms 39:5-6 Behold, thou hast made my days [as] an handbreadth; and mine age [is] as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state [is] altogether vanity. Selah. ... Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up [riches], and knoweth not who shall gather them.
Psalms 89:47 Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain?
Psalms 90:10-12 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. ... So teach [us] to number our days, that we may apply [our] hearts unto wisdom.
Psalms 102:11 My days [are] like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.
Psalms 109:23 I am gone like the shadow when it declineth: I am tossed up and down as the locust.
Psalms 144:4 Man is like to vanity: his days [are] as a shadow that passeth away.
James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what [shall be] on the morrow. For what [is] your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

for who can:

Ecclesiastes 3:22 Wherefore I perceive that [there is] nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that [is] his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?
Ecclesiastes 8:7 For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?
Job 14:21 His sons come to honour, and he knoweth [it] not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth [it] not of them.
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Chain-Reference Bible Search

1Ch 29:15. Jb 8:9; 14:2, 21. Ps 4:6; 16:5; 17:15; 39:5; 47:4; 89:47; 90:10; 102:11; 109:23; 144:4. Ec 2:3; 3:22; 8:7, 13; 9:6; 12:13. Lm 3:24. Mi 6:8. Jm 4:14.

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