Ecclesiastes 6:5

6:5 though it never saw the light of day nor knew anything,

yet it has more rest than that man –

Ecclesiastes 7:11

Wisdom Can Lengthen One’s Life

7:11 Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing;

it benefits those who see the light of day.

Ecclesiastes 11:7

Life Should Be Enjoyed Because Death is Inevitable

11:7 Light is sweet,

and it is pleasant for a person to see the sun.


tn Heb “it never saw the sun.”

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

sn The Hebrew term translated rest here refers to freedom from toil, anxiety, and misery – part of the miserable misfortune that the miserly man of wealth must endure.

tn Or “Wisdom with an inheritance, is good”; or “Wisdom is as good as an inheritance.” This use of the preposition עִם (’im) may denote: (1) accompaniment: “together with,” or (2) comparison: “as good as; like; in comparison to” (HALOT 839–40 s.v. עִם; BDB 767–69 s.v. עִם). BDB 767 s.v. 1 suggests the accompaniment nuance “together with,” while HALOT 840 s.v. 2.c suggests the comparative sense “in comparison to.” The translations are also divided: “wisdom with an inheritance is good” (KJV, ASV margin, RSV, NASB, YLT); “wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing” (NIV); “wisdom is as good as an inheritance” (ASV, NRSV, MLB, NJPS, Moffatt); “wisdom is better than an inheritance” (NEB). Because v. 12 compares wisdom with money (i.e., an inheritance), v. 11 is probably making a comparison as well: “Wisdom, like an inheritance, is good” (7:11a) = “Wisdom provides protection, just as money provides protection” (7:12a). The “good thing” that wisdom – like an inheritance or money – provides is protection.

tn Heb “see the sun.”

tn The term “light” (הָאוֹר, haor) is used figuratively (metonymy of association) in reference to “life” (e.g., Job 3:20; 33:30; Ps 56:14). By contrast, death is described as “darkness” (e.g., Eccl 11:8; 12:6-7).

tn The Hebrew term מָתוֹק (matoq, “sweet”) is often used elsewhere in reference to honey. The point is that life is sweet and should be savored like honey.

tn Heb “to the eyes.” The term “eyes” is a synecdoche of part (i.e., eyes) for the whole person. Used with the idiom “to see the sun” (i.e., to be alive), Qoheleth is simply saying that the experience of a life is a pleasant thing that should be savored.

tn The idiom “to see the sun” (both רָאָה הָשָּׁמֶשׁ, raah hashamesh, and חָזָה הַשָּׁמֶשׁ, khazah hashamesh) is an idiom meaning “to be alive” (e.g., Ps 58:9; Eccl 6:5; 7:11; 11:7); cf. BDB 1039 s.v. שֶׁמֶשׁ 4.b. The opposite idiom, “the sun is darkened,” refers to the onset of old age and death (Eccl 12:2).