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Ecclesiastes 9:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— For all this I laid to my heart, even to explore all this: that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God; whether it be love or hatred, man knoweth it not; all is before them.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, [are] in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred [by] all [that is] before them.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— For I have taken all this to my heart and explain it that righteous men, wise men, and their deeds are in the hand of God. Man does not know whether [it will be] love or hatred; anything awaits him.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, [are] in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred [by] all [that is] before them.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— For all this I laid to my heart and [indeed] to investigate all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God; man knoweth neither love nor hatred: all is before them.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— For, unto all this, I applied my heart, and, my heart, considered all this, that, the righteous and the wise and their servants, were in the hand of God,—neither love nor hatred, could any man know, every one, was before Him.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— But all this I have laid unto my heart, so as to clear up the whole of this, that the righteous and the wise, and their works, [are] in the hand of God, neither love nor hatred doth man know, the whole [is] before them.
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— All these things have I considered in my heart, that I might carefully understand them: there are just men and wise men, and their works are in the hand of God: and yet man knoweth not whether he be worthy of love, or hatred:
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— For all this I considered in my heart, euen to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their workes, [are] in the hand of God: no man knoweth either loue, or hatred, [by] all that [is] before them.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— [I saw] that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: yea, there is no man that knows either love or hatred, [though] all are before their face.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, [are] in the hand of Elohim: no man knoweth either love or hatred [by] all [that is] before them.

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.
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).
this x2088
(2088) Complement
זֶה
zeh
{zeh}
A primitive word; the masculine demonstrative pronoun, this or that.
I considered 5414
{5414} Prime
נָתַן
nathan
{naw-than'}
A primitive root; to give, used with great latitude of application (put, make, etc.).
z8804
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
in x413
(0413) Complement
אֵל
'el
{ale}
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
my heart 3820
{3820} Prime
לֵב
leb
{labe}
A form of H3824; the heart; also used (figuratively) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect; likewise for the centre of anything.
even to declare 952
{0952} Prime
בּוּר
buwr
{boor}
A primitive root; to bore, that is, (figuratively) examine.
z8800
<8800> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 4888
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).
this, x2088
(2088) Complement
זֶה
zeh
{zeh}
A primitive word; the masculine demonstrative pronoun, this or that.
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.
the righteous, 6662
{6662} Prime
צַדִּיק
tsaddiyq
{tsad-deek'}
From H6663; just.
and the wise, 2450
{2450} Prime
חָכָם
chakam
{khaw-kawm'}
From H2449; wise, (that is, intelligent, skilful or artful).
and their works, 5652
{5652} Prime
עֲבָד
`abad
{ab-awd'}
From H5647; a deed.
[are] in the hand 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.
of lhm אֱלֹהִים: 430
{0430} Prime
אֱלֹהִים
'elohiym
{el-o-heem'}
Plural of H0433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative.
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.
man 120
{0120} Prime
אָדָם
'adam
{aw-dawm'}
From H0119; ruddy, that is, a human being (an individual or the species, mankind, etc.).
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
either 1571
{1571} Prime
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.
love 160
{0160} Prime
אַהֲבָה
'ahabah
{a-hab-aw'}
Feminine of H0158 and meaning the same.
or 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.
hatred 8135
{8135} Prime
שִׂנְאָה
sin'ah
{sin-aw'}
From H8130; hate.
[by] 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).
[that is] before 6440
{6440} Prime
פָּנִים
paniym
{paw-neem'}
Plural (but always used as a singular) of an unused noun (פָּנֶה paneh, {paw-neh'}; from H6437); the face (as the part that turns); used in a great variety of applications (literally and figuratively); also (with prepositional prefix) as a preposition (before, etc.).
them.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Ecclesiastes 9:1

_ _ declare — rather, explore; the result of my exploring is this, that “the righteous, etc., are in the hand of God. No man knoweth either the love or hatred (of God to them) by all that is before them,” that is, by what is outwardly seen in His present dealings (Ecclesiastes 8:14, Ecclesiastes 8:17). However, from the sense of the same words, in Ecclesiastes 9:6, “love and hatred” seem to be the feelings of the wicked towards the righteous, whereby they caused to the latter comfort or sorrow. Translate: “Even the love and hatred” (exhibited towards the righteous, are in God’s hand) (Psalms 76:10; Proverbs 16:7). “No man knoweth all that is before them.”

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Ecclesiastes 9:1-3

_ _ It has been observed concerning those who have pretended to search for the philosophers' stone that, though they could never find what they sought for, yet in the search they have hit upon many other useful discoveries and experiments. Thus Solomon, when, in the close of the foregoing chapter, he applied his heart to know the work of God, and took a great deal of pains to search into it, though he despaired of finding it out, yet he found out that which abundantly recompensed him for the search, and gave him some satisfaction, which he here gives us; for therefore he considered all this in his heart, and weighed it deliberately, that he might declare it for the good of others. Note, What we are to declare we should first consider; think twice before we speak once; and what we have considered we should then declare. I believed, therefore have I spoken.

_ _ The great difficulty which Solomon met with in studying the book of providence was the little difference that is made between good men and bad in the distribution of comforts and crosses, and the disposal of events. This has perplexed the minds of many wise and contemplative men. Solomon discourses of it in these verses, and, though he does not undertake to find out this work of God, yet he says that which may prevent its being a stumbling-block to us.

_ _ I. Before he describes the temptation in its strength he lays down a great and unquestionable truth, which he resolves to adhere to, and which, if firmly believed, will be sufficient to break the force of the temptation. This has been the way of God's people in grappling with this difficulty. Job, before he discourses of this matter, lays down the doctrine of God's omniscience (Job 24:1), Jeremiah the doctrine of his righteousness (Jeremiah 12:1), another prophet that of his holiness (Habakkuk 1:13), the psalmist that of his goodness and peculiar favour to his own people (Psalms 73:1), and that is it which Solomon here fastens upon and resolves to abide by, that, though good and evil seem to be dispensed promiscuously, yet God has a particular care of and concern for his own people: The righteous and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God, under his special protection and guidance; all their affairs are managed by him for their good; all their wise and righteous actions are in his hand, to be recompensed in the other world, though not in this. They seem as if they were given up into the hand of their enemies, but it is not so. Men have no power against them but what is given them from above. The events that affect them do not come to pass by chance, but all according to the will and counsel of God, which will turn that to be for them which seemed to be most against them. Let this make us easy, whatever happens, that all God's saints are in his hand, Deuteronomy 33:3; John 10:29; Psalms 31:15.

_ _ II. He lays this down for a rule, that the love and hatred of God are not to be measured and judged of by men's outward condition. If prosperity were a certain sign of God's love, and affliction of his hatred, then it might justly be an offence to us to see the wicked and godly fare alike. But the matter is not so: No man knows either love or hatred by all that is before him in this world, by those things that are the objects of sense. These we may know by that which is within us; if we love God with all our heart, thereby we may know that he loves us, as we may know likewise that we are under his wrath if we be governed by that carnal mind which is enmity to him. These will be known by that which shall be hereafter, by men's everlasting state; it is certain that men are happy or miserable according as they are under the love or hatred of God, but not according as they are under the smiles or frowns of the world; and therefore if God loves a righteous man (as certainly he does) he is happy, though the world frown upon him; and if he hates a wicked man (as certainly he does) he is miserable, though the world smile upon him. Then the offence of this promiscuous distribution of events has ceased.

_ _ III. Having laid down these principles, he acknowledges that all things come alike to all; so it has been formerly, and therefore we are not to think it strange if it be so now, if it be so with us and our families. Some make this, and all that follows to Psalms 31:13, to be the perverse reasoning of the atheists against the doctrine of God's providence; but I rather take it to be Solomon's concession, which he might the more freely make when he had fixed those truths which are sufficient to guard against any ill use that may be made of what he grants. Observe here (Ecclesiastes 9:2),

_ _ 1. The great difference that there is between the characters of the righteous and the wicked, which, in several instances, are set the one over-against the other, to show that, though all things come alike to all, yet that does not in the least confound the eternal distinction between moral good and evil, but that remains immutable. (1.) The righteous are clean, have clean hands and pure hearts; the wicked are unclean, under the dominion of unclean lusts, pure perhaps in their own eyes, but not cleansed from their filthiness, God will certainly put a difference between the clean and the unclean, the precious and the vile, in the other world, though he does not seem to do so in this. (2.) The righteous sacrifice, that is, they make conscience of worshipping God according to his will, both with inward and outward worship; the wicked sacrifice not, that is, they live in the neglect of God's worship and grudge to part with any thing for his honour. What is the Almighty, that they should serve him? (3.) The righteous are good, good in God's sight, they do good in the world; the wicked are sinners, violating the laws of God and man, and provoking to both. (4.) The wicked man swears, has no veneration for the name of God, but profanes it by swearing rashly and falsely; but the righteous man fears an oath, swears not, but is sworn, and then with great reverence; he fears to take an oath, because it is a solemn appeal to God as a witness and judge; he fears, when he has taken a oath, to break it, because God is righteous who takes vengeance.

_ _ 2. The little difference there is between the conditions of the righteous and the wicked in this world: There is one event to both. Is David rich? So is Nabal. Is Joseph favoured by his prince? So is Haman. Is Ahab killed in a battle? So is Josiah. Are the bad figs carried to Babylon? So are the good, Jeremiah 24:1. There is a vast difference between the original, the design, and the nature, of the same event to the one and to the other; the effects and issues of it are likewise vastly different; the same providence to the one is a savour of life unto life, to the other of death unto death, though, to outward appearance, it is the same.

_ _ IV. He owns this to be a very great grievance to those that are wise and good: “This is an evil, the greatest perplexity, among all things that are done under the sun (Ecclesiastes 9:3); nothing has given me more disturbance than this, that there is one event unto all.” It hardens atheists, and strengthens the hands of evil-doers; for therefore it is that the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil and fully set in them to do evil, Ecclesiastes 8:11. When they see that there is one event to the righteous and the wicked they wickedly infer thence that it is all one to God whether they are righteous or wicked, and therefore they stick at nothing to gratify their lusts.

_ _ V. For the further clearing of this great difficulty, as he began this discourse with the doctrine of the happiness of the righteous (whatever they may suffer, they and their works are in the hands of God, and therefore in good hands, they could not be in better), so he concludes with the doctrine of the misery of the wicked; however they may prosper, madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead. Envy not the prosperity of evil-doers, for, 1. They are now madmen, and all the delights they seem to be blessed with are but like the pleasant dreams and fancies of a distracted man. They are mad upon their idols (Jeremiah 50:38), are mad against God's people, Acts 26:11. When the prodigal repented, it is said, He came to himself (Luke 15:17), which intimates that he had been beside himself before. 2. They will shortly be dead men. They make a mighty noise and bustle while they live, but after awhile, they go to the dead, and there is an end of all their pomp and power; they will then be reckoned with for all their madness and outrage in sin. Though, on this side death, the righteous and the wicked seem alike, on the other side death there will be a vast difference between them.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Ecclesiastes 9:1

Their works — All events which befal them are governed by his providence, and therefore although we cannot fully understand the reasons of all, yet we may be assured they are done righteously. No man — No man can judge by their present outward condition, whether God loves or hates them; for whom he loves he chastens, and permits those whom he hates to prosper in the world.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Ecclesiastes 9:1

For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, [are] in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or (a) hatred [by] all [that is] before them.

(a) Meaning, what things he ought to chose or refuse: or man knows not by these outward things that is, by prosperity or adversity, whom God favours or hates, for he sends them as well to the wicked as to the godly.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
considered in my heart:
Heb. gave, or set to my heart,
Ecclesiastes 1:17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.
Ecclesiastes 7:25 I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason [of things], and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness [and] madness:
Ecclesiastes 8:16 When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also [there is that] neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:)
Ecclesiastes 12:9-10 And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, [and] set in order many proverbs. ... The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and [that which was] written [was] upright, [even] words of truth.

that the:

Ecclesiastes 8:14 There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just [men], unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked [men], to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also [is] vanity.
Deuteronomy 33:3 Yea, he loved the people; all his saints [are] in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; [every one] shall receive of thy words.
1 Samuel 2:9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.
2 Samuel 15:25-26 And the king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me again, and shew me [both] it, and his habitation: ... But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, [here am] I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.
Job 5:8 I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause:
Psalms 10:14 Thou hast seen [it]; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite [it] with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless.
Psalms 31:5 Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.
Psalms 37:5-6 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring [it] to pass. ... And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
Proverbs 16:3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.
Isaiah 26:12 LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.
Isaiah 49:1-4 Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. ... Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: [yet] surely my judgment [is] with the LORD, and my work with my God.
Jeremiah 1:18-19 For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. ... And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I [am] with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee.
John 10:27-30 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: ... I and [my] Father are one.
1 Corinthians 3:5-15 Who then is Paul, and who [is] Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? ... If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
1 Peter 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

no man:

Ecclesiastes 7:15 All [things] have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just [man] that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked [man] that prolongeth [his life] in his wickedness.
Psalms 73:3 For I was envious at the foolish, [when] I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Psalms 73:11-13 And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? ... Verily I have cleansed my heart [in] vain, and washed my hands in innocency.
Malachi 3:15-18 And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, [they that] tempt God are even delivered. ... Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.
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Dt 33:3. 1S 2:9. 2S 15:25. Jb 5:8. Ps 10:14; 31:5; 37:5; 73:3, 11. Pv 16:3. Ec 1:17; 7:15, 25; 8:14, 16; 12:9. Is 26:12; 49:1. Jr 1:18. Mal 3:15. Jn 10:27. 1Co 3:5. 2Ti 1:12. 1P 1:5.

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