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Ecclesiastes 6:7 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— All the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— All the labour of man [is] for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— All a man’s labor is for his mouth and yet the appetite is not satisfied.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— All the labor of man [is] for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— All the toil of man, is for his mouth,—though, even the desire, is not satisfied!
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— All the labour of man [is] for his mouth, and yet the soul is not filled.
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— All the labour of man is for his mouth, but his soul shall not be filled.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— All the labour of man [is] for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— All the labour of a man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite shall not be satisfied.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— All the labour of man [is] for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
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 labour 5999
{5999} Prime
עָמָל
`amal
{aw-mawl'}
From H5998; toil, that is, wearing effort; hence worry, whether of body or mind.
of man 120
{0120} Prime
אָדָם
'adam
{aw-dawm'}
From H0119; ruddy, that is, a human being (an individual or the species, mankind, etc.).
[is] for his mouth, 6310
{6310} Prime
פֶּה
peh
{peh}
From H6284; the mouth (as the means of blowing), whether literally or figuratively (particularly speech); specifically edge, portion or side; adverbially (with preposition) according to.
and yet x1571
(1571) Complement
גַּם
gam
{gam}
By contraction from an unused root meaning to gather; properly assemblage; used only adverbially also, even, yea, though; often repeated as correlation both... and.
the appetite 5315
{5315} Prime
נֶפֶשׁ
nephesh
{neh'-fesh}
From H5314; properly a breathing creature, that is, animal or (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental).
is not x3808
(3808) Complement
לֹא
lo'
{lo}
lo; a primitive particle; not (the simple or abstract negation); by implication no; often used with other particles.
filled. 4390
{4390} Prime
מָלֵא
male'
{maw-lay'}
A primitive root, to fill or (intransitively) be full of, in a wide application (literally and figuratively).
z8735
<8735> Grammar
Stem - Niphal (See H8833)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 1602
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Ecclesiastes 6:7

_ _ man — rather, “the man,” namely, the miser (Ecclesiastes 6:3-6). For not all men labor for the mouth, that is, for selfish gratification.

_ _ appetiteHebrew, “the soul.” The insatiability of the desire prevents that which is the only end proposed in toils, namely, self-gratification; “the man” thus gets no “good” out of his wealth (Ecclesiastes 6:3).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Ecclesiastes 6:7-10

_ _ The preacher here further shows the vanity and folly of heaping up worldly wealth and expecting happiness in it.

_ _ I. How much soever we toil about the world, and get out of it, we can have for ourselves no more than a maintenance (Ecclesiastes 6:7): All the labour of man is for his mouth, which craves it of him (Proverbs 16:26); it is but food and raiment; what is more others have, not we; it is all for the mouth. Meats are but for the belly and the belly for meats; there is nothing for the head and heart, nothing to nourish or enrich the soul. A little will serve to sustain us comfortably and a great deal can do no more.

_ _ II. Those that have ever so much are still craving; let a man labour ever so much for his mouth, yet the appetite is not filled. 1. Natural desires are still returning, still pressing; a man may be feasted today and yet hungry tomorrow. 2. Worldly sinful desires are insatiable, Ecclesiastes 5:10. Wealth to a worldling is like drink to one in a dropsy, which does but increase the thirst. Some read the whole verse thus: Though all a man's labour fall out to his own mind (ori ejus obveniatso as to correspond with his views, Juv.), just as himself would have it, yet his desire is not satisfied, still he has a mind to something more. 3. The desires of the soul find nothing in the wealth of the world to give them any satisfaction. The soul is not filled, so the word is. When God gave Israel their request he sent leanness into their souls, Psalms 106:15. He was a fool who, when his barns were full, said, Soul, take thine ease.

_ _ III. A fool may have as much worldly wealth, and may enjoy as much of the pleasure of it, as a wise man; nay, and perhaps not be so sensible of the vexation of it: What has the wise more than the fool? Ecclesiastes 6:8. Perhaps he has not so good an estate, so good a trade, nor such good preferment as the fool has. Nay, suppose them to be equal in their possessions, what can a wise man, a scholar, a wit, a politician, squeeze out of his estate more than needful supplies? and a half-witted man may do this. A fool can fare as well and relish it, can dress as well, and make as good a figure in any public appearance, as a wise man; so that if there were not pleasures and honour peculiar to the mind, which the wise man has more than the fool, as to this world they would be upon a level.

_ _ IV. Even a poor man, who has business, and is discreet, diligent, and dexterous, in the management of it, may get as comfortably through this world as he that is loaded with an overgrown estate. Consider what the poor has less than the rich, if he but knows to walk before the living, knows how to conduct himself decently, and do his duty to all, how to get an honest livelihood by his labour, how to spend his time well and improve his opportunities. What has he? Why, he is better beloved and more respected among his neighbours, and has a better interest than many a rich man that is griping and haughty. What has he? Why he has as much of the comfort of this life, has food and raiment, and is therewith content, and so is as truly rich as he that has abundance.

_ _ V. The enjoyment of what we have cannot but be acknowledged more rational than a greedy grasping at more (Ecclesiastes 6:9): Better is the sight of the eyes, making the best of that which is present, than the wandering of the desire, the uneasy walking of the soul after things at a distance, and the affecting of a variety of imaginary satisfactions. He is much happier that is always content, though he has ever so little, than he that is always coveting, though he has ever so much. We cannot say, Better is the sight of the eyes than the fixing of the desire upon God, and the resting of the soul in him; it is better to live by faith in things to come than to live by sense, which dwells only upon present things; but better is the sight of the eyes than the roving of the desire after the world, and the things of it, than which nothing is more uncertain nor more unsatisfying at the best. This wandering of the desire is vanity and vexation of spirit. It is vanity at the best; if what is desired, be obtained, it proves not what we promised ourselves from it, but commonly the wandering desire is crossed and disappointed, and then it turns to vexation of spirit.

_ _ VI. Our lot, whatever it is, is that which is appointed us by the counsel of God, which cannot be altered, and it is therefore our wisdom to reconcile ourselves to it and cheerfully to acquiesce in it (Ecclesiastes 6:10): That which has been, or (as some read it) that which is, and so likewise that which shall be, is named already; it is already determined in the divine foreknowledge, and all our care and pains cannot make it otherwise than as it is fixed. Jacta est aleaThe die is cast. It is therefore folly to quarrel with that which will be as it is, and wisdom to make a virtue of necessity. We shall have what pleases God, and let that please us.

_ _ VII. Whatever we attain to in this world, still we are but men, and the greatest possessions and preferments cannot set us above the common accidents of human life: That which has been, and is, that busy animal that makes such a stir and such a noise in the world, is named already. He that made him gave him his name, and it is known that it is man; that is his name by which he must know himself, and it is a humbling name, Genesis 5:2. He called their name Adam; and all theirs have the same character, red earth. Though a man could make himself master of all the treasures of kings and provinces, yet he is a man still, mean, mutable, and mortal, and may at any time be involved in the calamities that are common to men. It is good for rich and great men to know and consider that they are but men, Psalms 9:20. It is known that they are but men; let them put what face they will upon it, and, like the king of Tyre, set their heart as the heart of God, yet the Egyptians are men, and not gods, and it is known that they are so.

_ _ VIII. How far soever our desires wander, and how closely soever our endeavours keep pace with them, we cannot strive with the divine Providence, but must submit to the disposals of it, whether we will or no. If it is man, he may not contend with him that is mightier than he. It is presumption to arraign God's proceedings, and to charge him with folly or iniquity; nor is it to any purpose to complain of him, for he is in one mind and who can turn him? Elihu pacifies Job with this incontestable principle, That God is greater than man (Job 33:12) and therefore man may not contend with him, nor resist his judgments, when they come with commission. A man cannot with the greatest riches make his part good against the arrests of sickness or death, but must yield to his fate.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Ecclesiastes 6:7

Is — For meat. And yet — Men are insatiable in their desires, and restless in their endeavours after more, and never say, they have enough.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Ecclesiastes 6:7

All the labour of man [is] for his mouth, and yet the (e) appetite is not filled.

(e) His desire and affection.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
the labour:

Genesis 3:17-19 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life; ... In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.
Proverbs 16:26 He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.
Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
John 6:27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
1 Timothy 6:6-8 But godliness with contentment is great gain. ... And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

appetite:
Heb. soul,
Ecclesiastes 6:3 If a man beget an hundred [children], and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also [that] he have no burial; I say, [that] an untimely birth [is] better than he.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this [is] also vanity.
Luke 12:19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, [and] be merry.
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Gn 3:17. Pv 16:26. Ec 5:10; 6:3. Mt 6:25. Lk 12:19. Jn 6:27. 1Ti 6:6.

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