1 tn The subject matter is the vexation produced by a fool. The term כַּעַס (ca’as) means “vexation” (ASV); provocation” (NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); “anger” (KJV “wrath”) and usually refers to undeserved treatment. Cf. NLT “the resentment caused by a fool.”
sn The same noun is used in 1 Sam 1:6, 16 for the “provocation” given to Hannah by Peninnah for being barren.
2 sn The contrast is made between dealing with the vexation of a fool and physical labor (moving stones and sand). More tiring is the vexation of a fool, for the mental and emotional effort it takes to deal with it is more draining than physical labor. It is, in the sense of this passage, almost unbearable.
3 tn Heb “fierceness of wrath and outpouring [= flood] of anger.” A number of English versions use “flood” here (e.g., NASB, NCV, NLT).
4 tn The Hebrew term translated “jealousy” here probably has the negative sense of “envy” rather than the positive sense of “zeal.” It is a raging emotion (like “anger” and “wrath,” this word has nuances of heat, intensity) that defies reason at times and can be destructive like a consuming fire (e.g., 6:32-35; Song 8:6-7). The rhetorical question is intended to affirm that no one can survive a jealous rage. (Whether one is the subject who is jealous or the object of the jealousy of someone else is not so clear.)