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Ecclesiastes 4:4

Context
Labor Motivated by Envy

4:4 Then I considered 1  all the skillful work 2  that is done:

Surely it is nothing more than 3  competition 4  between one person and another. 5 

This also is profitless – like 6  chasing the wind.

Ecclesiastes 9:6

Context

9:6 What they loved, 7  as well as what they hated 8  and envied, 9  perished long ago,

and they no longer have a part in anything that happens on earth. 10 

1 tn Heb “saw.”

2 tn Heb “all the toil and all the skill.” This Hebrew clause (אֶת־כָּל־עָמָל וְאֵת כָּל־כִּשְׁרוֹן, ’et-kol-amal vÿet kol-kishron) is a nominal hendiadys (a figurative expression in which two independent phrases are used to connote the same thing). The second functions adverbially, modifying the first, which retains its full nominal function: “all the skillful work.”

3 tn The phrase “nothing more than” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity.

4 tn The noun קִנְאַה (qinah, “competition”) has a wide range of meanings: “zeal; jealousy; envy; rivalry; competition; suffering; animosity; anger; wrath” (HALOT 1110 s.v.; BDB 888 s.v.). Here, as in 9:6, it denotes “rivalry” (BDB 888 s.v. 1) or “competitive spirit” (HALOT 1110 s.v. 1.b). The LXX rendered it ζῆλος (zhlos, “envy; jealousy”). The English versions reflect this broad range: “rivalry” (NEB, NAB, NASB), “envy” (KJV, ASV, RSV, NRSV, MLB, NIV, NJPS), and “jealousy” (Moffatt).

5 tn Heb “a man and his neighbor.”

6 tn The word “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity.

7 tn Heb “their love.”

8 tn Heb “their hatred.”

9 tn Heb “their envy.”

10 tn Heb “under the sun.”



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