Ecclesiastes 11:2

NET ©

Divide your merchandise among seven or even eight investments, for you do not know what calamity may happen on earth.

NIV ©

Give portions to seven, yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.

NASB ©

Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth.

NLT ©

Divide your gifts among many, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead.

MSG ©

Don't hoard your goods; spread them around. Be a blessing to others. This could be your last night.

BBE ©

Give a part to seven or even to eight, because you have no knowledge of the evil which will be on the earth.

NRSV ©

Divide your means seven ways, or even eight, for you do not know what disaster may happen on earth.

NKJV ©

Give a serving to seven, and also to eight, For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.

KJV
Give
<05414> (8798)
a portion
<02506>
to seven
<07651>_,
and also to eight
<08083>_;
for thou knowest
<03045> (8799)
not what evil
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shall be upon the earth
<0776>_.
HEBREW
Urah
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le
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her
<07451>
hyhy
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hm
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edt
<03045>
al
<03808>
yk
<03588>
hnwmsl
<08083>
Mgw
<01571>
hebsl
<07651>
qlx
<02506>
Nt (11:2)
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LXXM
dov
<1325>  
V-AAD-2S
merida
<3310>  
N-ASF
toiv
<3588>  
T-DPM
epta
<2033>  
N-NUI
kai
<2532>  
CONJ
ge
<1065>  
PRT
toiv
<3588>  
T-DPM
oktw
<3638>  
N-NUI
oti
<3754>  
CONJ
ou
<3364>  
ADV
ginwskeiv
<1097>  
V-PAI-2S
ti
<5100>  
I-ASN
estai
<1510>  
V-FMI-3S
ponhron
<4190>  
A-NSN
epi
<1909>  
PREP
thn
<3588>  
T-ASF
ghn
<1065>  
N-ASF
NET © [draft] ITL
Divide
<02506>
your merchandise among
<02506>
seven
<07651>
or
<02506>
even
<01571>
eight
<08083>
investments
<02506>
, for
<03588>
you do not
<03808>
know
<03045>
what
<04100>
calamity
<07451>
may happen
<01961>
on
<05921>
earth
<0776>
.
NET © Notes

tn Heb “give a portion.”

tn The phrase “seven or eight” is a graded numerical saying depicting an indefinite plurality: “The collocation of a numeral with the next above it is a rhetorical device employed in numerical sayings to express a number, which need not, or cannot, be more exactly specified. It must be gathered from the context whether such formulae are intended to denote only an insignificant number (e.g., Is 17:6 “two” or at the most “three”) or a considerable number (e.g., Mi 5:4). Sometimes, however, this juxtaposition serves to express merely an indefinite total, without the collateral idea of intensifying the lower by means of the higher number” (GKC 437 §134.s). Examples: “one” or “two” (Deut 32:30; Jer 3:14; Job 33:14; 40:5; Ps 62:12); “two” or “three” (2 Kgs 9:32; Isa 17:6; Hos 6:2; Amos 4:8; Sir 23:16; 26:28; 50:25); “three” or “four” (Jer 36:23; Amos 1:3-11; Prov 21:19; 30:15, 18; Sir 26:5); “four” or “five” (Isa 17:6); “six” or “seven” (Job 5:19; Prov 6:16); “seven” or “eight” (Mic 5:4; Eccl 11:2).

tn The word “investments” is not in the Hebrew text; it is added here for clarity. This line is traditionally understood as an exhortation to be generous to a multitude of people (KJV, NAB, ASV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, NIV, NJPS); however, it is better taken as shrewd advice to not commit all one’s possessions to a single venture (A. Cohen, The Five Megilloth [SoBB], 181). D. R. Glenn (“Ecclesiastes,” BKCOT, 1003) writes: “In view of the possibility of disaster, a person should make prudent investments in numerous ventures rather than put all his ‘eggs in one basket’ (e.g., Gen 32:7-8 for a practical example of this advice).” Several translations reflect this: “Divide your merchandise among seven ventures, eight maybe” (NEB); “Take shares in several ventures” (Moffatt).

sn The phrase you do not know is repeated throughout this section (11:2, 5-6). Human beings are ignorant of the future. This should motivate a person to invest their financial resources wisely (11:1-3) and to work diligently (11:4-6).

tn The term רעה (lit. “evil”) refers to calamity (e.g., Eccl 5:13; 7:14; 9:12).