Parallel Bible VersionsHebrew Bible Study Tools

Ecclesiastes 9:4 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— For to him that is joined with all the living there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— For whoever is joined with all the living, there is hope; surely a live dog is better than a dead lion.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— For, whosoever was united to all the living, for him, there was hope,—inasmuch as, a living dog, fared better than a dead lion.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— But [to] him who is joined unto all the living there is confidence, for to a living dog it [is] better than to the dead lion.
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— There is no man that liveth always, or that hopeth for this: a living dog is better than a dead lion.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— For to him that is ioyned to all the liuing, there is hope: for a liuing dogge is better then a dead Lion.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— For who is he that has fellowship with all the living? there is hope [of him]: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
For y4310
[4310] Standard
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.
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.
to him 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.
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.
is y3426
[3426] Standard
יֵשׁ
yesh
{yaysh}
Perhaps from an unused root meaning to stand out, or exist; entity; used adverbially or as a copula for the substantive verb (H1961); there is or are (or any other form of the verb to be, as may suit the connection).
joined 2266
{2266} Prime
חָבַר
chabar
{khaw-bar'}
A primitive root; to join (literally or figuratively); specifically (by means of spells) to fascinate.
z8792
<8792> Grammar
Stem - Pual (See H8849)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 93
z8675
<8675> Grammar
Kethiv Reading

Where the translators of the Authorised Version followed the qere reading rather than the kethiv.
y977
[0977] Standard
בָּחַר
bachar
{baw-khar'}
A primitive root; properly to try, that is, (by implication) select.
to 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.
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 living 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.
there is x3426
(3426) Complement
יֵשׁ
yesh
{yaysh}
Perhaps from an unused root meaning to stand out, or exist; entity; used adverbially or as a copula for the substantive verb (H1961); there is or are (or any other form of the verb to be, as may suit the connection).
hope: 986
{0986} Prime
בִּטָּחוֹן
bittachown
{bit-taw-khone'}
From H0982; trust.
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.
a living 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.
dog 3611
{3611} Prime
כֶּלֶב
keleb
{keh'-leb}
From an unused root meaning to yelp, or else to attack; a dog; hence (by euphemism) a male prostitute.
is better 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).
than x4480
(4480) Complement
מִן
min
{min}
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
a dead 4191
{4191} Prime
מָמוֹת
muwth
{mooth}
A primitive root; to die (literally or figuratively); causatively to kill.
z8801
<8801> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle (See H8813)
Count - 309
lion. 738
{0738} Prime
אַרִי
'ariy
{ar-ee'}
From H0717 (in the sense of violence); a lion.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Ecclesiastes 9:4

_ _ For — rather, “Nevertheless.” English Version rightly reads as the Margin, Hebrew, “that is joined,” instead of the text, “who is to be chosen?”

_ _ hope — not of mere temporal good (Job 14:7); but of yet repenting and being saved.

_ _ dog — metaphor for the vilest persons (1 Samuel 24:14).

_ _ lion — the noblest of animals (Proverbs 30:30).

_ _ better — as to hope of salvation; the noblest who die unconverted have no hope; the vilest, so long as they have life, have hope.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Ecclesiastes 9:4-10

_ _ Solomon, in a fret, had praised the dead more than the living (Ecclesiastes 4:2); but here, considering the advantages of life to prepare for death and make sure the hope of a better life, he seems to be of another mind.

_ _ I. He shows the advantages which the living have above those that are dead, Ecclesiastes 9:4-6. 1. While there is life there is hope. Dum spiro, speroWhile I breathe, I hope. It is the privilege of the living that they are joined to the living, in relation, commerce, and conversation, and, while they are so, there is hope. If a man's condition be, upon any account, bad, there is hope it will be amended. If the heart be full of evil, and madness be in it, yet while there is life there is hope that by the grace of God there may be a blessed change wrought; but after men go to the dead (Ecclesiastes 9:3) it is too late then; he that is then filthy will be filthy still, for ever filthy. If men be thrown aside as useless, yet, while they are joined to the living, there is hope that they may yet again take root and bear fruit; he that is alive is, or may be, good for something, but he that is dead, as to this world, is not capable of being any further serviceable. Therefore a living dog is better than a dead lion; the meanest beggar alive has that comfort of this world and does that service to it which the greatest prince, when he is dead, is utterly incapable of. 2. While there is life there is an opportunity of preparing for death: The living know that which the dead have no knowledge of, particularly they know that they shall die, and are, or may be, thereby influenced to prepare for that great change which will come certainly, and may come suddenly. Note, The living cannot but know that they shall die, that they must needs die. They know they are under a sentence of death; they are already taken into custody by its messengers, and feel themselves declining. This is a needful useful knowledge; for what is our business, while we live, but to get ready to die: The living know they shall die; it is a thing yet to come, and therefore provision may be made for it. The dead know they are dead, and it is too late; they are on the other side the great gulf fixed. 3. When life is gone all this world is gone with it, as to us. (1.) There is an end of all our acquaintance with this world and the things of it: The dead know not any thing of that which, while they lived, they were intimately conversant with. It does not appear that they know any thing of what is done by those they leave behind. Abraham is ignorant of us; they are removed into darkness, Job 10:22. (2.) There is an end of all our enjoyments in this world: They have no more a reward for their toils about the world, but all they got must be left to others; they have a reward for their holy actions, but not for their worldly ones. The meats and the belly will be destroyed together, John 6:27; 1 Corinthians 6:13. It is explained Ecclesiastes 9:6. Neither have they any more a portion for ever, none of that which they imagined would be a portion for ever, of that which is done and got under the sun. The things of this world will not be a portion for the soul because they will not be a portion for ever; those that choose them, and have them for their good things, have only a portion in this life, Psalms 17:14. The world can only be an annuity for life, not a portion for ever. (3.) There is an end of their name. There are but few whose names survive them long; the grave is a land of forgetfulness, for the memory of those that are laid there is soon forgotten; their place knows them no more, nor the lands they called by their own names. (4.) There is an end of their affections, their friendships and enmities: Their love, and their hatred, and their envy have now perished; the good things they loved, the evil things they hated, the prosperity of others, which they envied, are now all at an end with them. Death parts those that loved one another, and puts an end to their friendship, and those that hated one another too, and puts an end to their quarrels. Actio moritur cum personāThe person and his actions die together. There we shall be never the better for our friends (their love can do us no kindness), nor ever the worse for our enemies — their hatred and envy can do us no damage. There the wicked cease from troubling. Those things which now so affect us and fill us, which we are so concerned about and so jealous of, will there be at an end.

_ _ II. Hence he infers that it is our wisdom to make the best use of life that we can while it does last, and manage wisely what remains of it.

_ _ 1. Let us relish the comforts of life while we live, and cheerfully take our share of the enjoyments of it. Solomon, having been himself ensnared by the abuse of sensitive delights, warns others of the danger, not by a total prohibition of them, but by directing to the sober and moderate use of them; we may use the world, but must not abuse it, take what is to be had out of it, and expect no more. Here we have,

_ _ (1.) The particular instances of this cheerfulness prescribed: “Thou art drooping and melancholy, go thy way, like a fool as thou art, and get into a better temper of mind.” [1.] “Let thy spirit be easy and pleasant; then let there be joy and a merry heart within,” a good heart (so the word is), which distinguishes this from carnal mirth and sensual pleasure, which are the evil of the heart, both a symptom and a cause of much evil there. We must enjoy ourselves, enjoy our friends, enjoy our God, and be careful to keep a good conscience, that nothing may disturb us in these enjoyments. We must serve God with gladness, in the use of what he gives us, and be liberal in communicating it to others, and not suffer ourselves to be oppressed with inordinate care and grief about the world. We must eat our bread as Israelites, not in our mourning (Deuteronomy 26:14), as Christians, with gladness and liberality of heart, Acts 2:46. See Deuteronomy 28:47. [2.] “Make use of the comforts and enjoyments which God has given thee: Eat thy bread, drink thy wine, thine, not another's, not the bread of deceit, nor the wine of violence, but that which is honestly got, else thou canst not eat it with any comfort nor expect a blessing upon it — thy bread and thy wine, such as are agreeable to thy place and station, not extravagantly above it nor sordidly below it; lay out what God has given thee for the ends for which thou art entrusted with it, as being but a steward.” [3.] “Evidence thy cheerfulness (Ecclesiastes 9:8): Let thy garments be always white. Observe a proportion in thy expenses; reduce not thy food in order to gratify thy pride, nor thy clothing in order to gratify thy voluptuousness. Be neat, wear clean linen, and be not slovenly.” Or, “Let thy garments be white in token of joy and cheerfulness,” which were expressed by white raiment (Revelation 3:4); “and as a further token of joy, let thy head lack no ointment that is fit for it.” Our Saviour admitted this piece of pleasure at a feast (Matthew 26:7), and David observes it among the gifts of God's bounty to him. Psalms 23:5, Thou anointest my head with oil. Not that we must place our happiness in any of the delights of sense, or set our hearts upon them, but what God has given us we must make as comfortable a use of as we can afford, under the limitations of sobriety and wisdom, and not forgetting the poor. [4.] “Make thyself agreeable to thy relations: Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest. Do not engross thy delights, making much of thyself only, and not caring what becomes of those about thee, but let them share with thee and make them easy too. Have a wife; for even in paradise it was not good for man to be alone. Keep to thy wife, to one, and do not multiply wives” (Solomon had found the mischief of that); “keep to her only, and have nothing to do with any other.” How can a man live joyfully with one with whom he does not live honestly? “Love thy wife; and the wife whom thou lovest thou wilt be likely to live joyfully with.” When we do the duty of relations we may expect the comfort of them. See Proverbs 5:19. “Live with thy wife, and delight in her society. Live joyfully with her, and be most cheerful when thou art with her. Take pleasure in thy family, thy vine and thy olive plants.”

_ _ (2.) The qualifications necessary to this cheerfulness: “Rejoice and have a merry heart, if God now accepts thy works. If thou art reconciled to God, and recommended to him, then thou has reason to be cheerful, otherwise not.” Rejoice not, O Israel! for joy, as other people, for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God, Hosea 9:1. Our first care must be to make our peace with God, and obtain his favour, to do that which he will accept of, and then, Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy. Note, Those whose works God has accepted have reason to be cheerful and ought to be so. 'Now that thou eatest the bread of thy sacrifices with joy, and partakest of the wine of thy drink-offerings with a merry heart, now God accepts thy works. Thy religious services, when performed with holy joy, are pleasing to God; he loves to have his servants sing at their work, it proclaims him a good Master.

_ _ (3.) The reasons for it. “Live joyfully, for,” [1.] “It is all little enough to make thy passage through this world easy and comfortable: The days of thy life are the days of thy vanity; there is nothing here but trouble, and disappointment. Thou wilt have time enough for sorrow and grief when thou canst not help it, and therefore live joyfully while thou canst, and perplex not thyself with thoughts and cares about tomorrow; sufficient to the day is the evil thereof. Let a gracious serenity of mind be a powerful antidote against the vanity of the world.” [2.] “It is all thou canst get from this world: That is thy portion in the things of this life. In God, and another life, thou shalt have a better portion, and a better recompence for thy labours in religion; but for thy pains which thou takest about the things under the sun this is all thou canst expect, and therefore do not deny this to thyself.”

_ _ 2. Let us apply ourselves to the business of life while life lasts, and so use the enjoyments of it as by them to be fitted for the employments: “Therefore eat with joy and a merry heart, not that thy soul may take its ease (as Luke 12:19), but that thy soul may take the more pains and the joy of the Lord may be its strength and oil to its wheels,” Ecclesiastes 9:10. Whatsoever thy hand finds to do do it with thy might. Observe here, (1.) There is not only something to be had, but something to be done, in this life, and the chief good we are to enquire after is the good we should do, Ecclesiastes 2:3. This is the world of service; that to come is the world of recompence. This is the world of probation and preparation for eternity; we are here upon business, and upon our good behaviour. (2.) Opportunity is to direct and quicken duty. That is to be done which our hand finds to do, which occasion calls for; and an active hand will always find something to do that will turn to a good account. What must be done, of necessity, our hand will here find a price in it for the doing of, Proverbs 17:16. (3.) What good we have an opportunity of doing we must do while we have the opportunity, and do it with our might, with care, vigour, and resolution, whatever difficulties and discouragements we may meet with in it. Harvest-days are busy days; and we must make hay while the sun shines. Serving God and working out our salvation must be done with all that is within us, and all little enough. (4.) There is good reason why we should work the works of him that sent us while it is day, because the night comes, wherein no man can work, John 9:4. We must up and be doing now with all possible diligence, because our doing-time will be done shortly and we know not how soon. But this we know that, if the work of life be not done when our time is done, we are undone for ever: “There is no work to be done, nor device to do it, no knowledge for speculation, nor wisdom for practice, in the grave whither thou goest.” We are all going towards the grave; every day brings us a step nearer to it; when we are in the grave it will be too late to mend the errors of life, too late to repent and make our peace with God, too late to lay up any thing in store for eternal life; it must be done now or never. The grave is a land of darkness and silence, and therefore there is no doing any thing for our souls there; it must be done now or never, John 12:35.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Ecclesiastes 9:4

Joined — That continues with living men. Hope — He hath not only some comfort for the present, but also hopes of further happiness in this world. Better — Much happier as to the comforts of this world.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Ecclesiastes 9:4

For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a (c) living dog is better than a dead lion.

(c) He notes the Epicurean and carnal men, who made their body their god, and had no pleasure in this life, wishing rather to be an abased and vile person in this life, then a man of authority and so to die, which is meant by the dog and lion.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

Job 14:7-12 For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. ... So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens [be] no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.
Job 27:8 For what [is] the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?
Isaiah 38:18 For the grave cannot praise thee, death can [not] celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.
Lamentations 3:21-22 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. ... [It is of] the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
Luke 16:26-29 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that [would come] from thence. ... Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
Random Bible VersesNew Quotes



Chain-Reference Bible Search

Jb 14:7; 27:8. Is 38:18. Lm 3:21. Lk 16:26.

Newest Chat Bible Comment
Comment HereComplete Biblical ResearchComplete Chat Bible Commentary
Please post your comment on Ecclesiastes 9:4.
Name:

WWW Chat Bible Commentary

User-Posted Comments on Ecclesiastes 9:4


Recent Chat Bible Comments