than 3 to be happy and to enjoy
themselves 4 as long as they live,
3:13 and also that everyone should eat and drink, and find enjoyment in all his toil,
for these things 5 are a gift from God.
1 tn Heb “I know.”
2 tn Heb “for them”; the referent (people, i.e., mankind) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
3 tn Qoheleth uses the exceptive particle אִם…כִּי (ki…’im, “except”) to identify the only exception to the futility within man’s life (BDB 474 s.v. כִּי 2).
4 tn Heb “to do good.” The phrase לַעֲשׂוֹת טוֹב (la’asot tov) functions idiomatically for “to experience [or see] happiness [or joy].” The verb עָשַׂה (’asah) probably denotes “to acquire; to obtain” (BDB 795 s.v. עָשַׂה II.7), and טוֹב (tov) means “good; pleasure; happiness,” e.g., Eccl 2:24; 3:13; 5:17 (BDB 375 s.v. טוֹב 1).
5 tn Heb “for it.” The referent of the 3rd person feminine singular independent person pronoun (“it”) is probably the preceding statement: “to eat, drink, and find satisfaction.” This would be an example of an anacoluthon (GKC 505-6 §167.b). Thus the present translation uses “these things” to indicate the reference back to the preceding.