Internet Verse Search Commentaries Word Analysis ITL - draft

Ecclesiastes 2:21

Context
NET ©

For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; however, he must hand over 1  the fruit of his labor 2  as an inheritance 3  to someone else who did not work for it. This also is futile, and an awful injustice! 4 

NIV ©

For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then he must leave all he owns to someone who has not worked for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune.

NASB ©

When there is a man who has labored with wisdom, knowledge and skill, then he gives his legacy to one who has not labored with them. This too is vanity and a great evil.

NLT ©

For though I do my work with wisdom, knowledge, and skill, I must leave everything I gain to people who haven’t worked to earn it. This is not only foolish but highly unfair.

MSG ©

What's the point of working your fingers to the bone if you hand over what you worked for to someone who never lifted a finger for it? Smoke, that's what it is. A bad business from start to finish.

BBE ©

Because there is a man whose work has been done with wisdom, with knowledge, and with an expert hand; but one who has done nothing for it will have it for his heritage. This again is to no purpose and a great evil.

NRSV ©

because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.

NKJV ©

For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; yet he must leave his heritage to a man who has not labored for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.


KJV
For there is
<03426>
a man
<0120>
whose labour
<05999>
[is] in wisdom
<02451>_,
and in knowledge
<01847>_,
and in equity
<03788>_;
yet to a man
<0120>
that hath not laboured
<05998> (8804)
therein shall he leave
<05414> (8799)
it [for] his portion
<02506>_.
This also [is] vanity
<01892>
and a great
<07227>
evil
<07451>_.
{leave: Heb. give}
NASB ©
When
<03588>
there
<03426>
is a man
<0120>
who
<07945>
has labored
<05998>
with wisdom
<02451>
, knowledge
<01847>
and skill
<03788>
, then he gives
<05414>
his legacy
<02506>
to one
<0120>
who
<07945>
has not labored
<05998>
with them. This
<02088>
too
<01571>
is vanity
<01892>
and a great
<07227>
evil
<07463>
.
HEBREW
hbr
<07227>
herw
<07451>
lbh
<01892>
hz
<02088>
Mg
<01571>
wqlx
<02506>
wnnty
<05414>
wb
<0>
lme
<05998>
als
<03808>
Mdalw
<0120>
Nwrskbw
<03788>
tedbw
<01847>
hmkxb
<02451>
wlmes
<05999>
Mda
<0120>
sy
<03426>
yk (2:21)
<03588>
LXXM
oti
<3754
CONJ
estin
<1510
V-PAI-3S
anyrwpov
<444
N-NSM
ou
<3739
R-GSM
mocyov
<3449
N-NSM
autou
<846
D-GSM
en
<1722
PREP
sofia
<4678
N-DSF
kai
<2532
CONJ
en
<1722
PREP
gnwsei
<1108
N-DSF
kai
<2532
CONJ
en
<1722
PREP
andreia {A-DSF} kai
<2532
CONJ
anyrwpov
<444
N-NSM
ov
<3739
R-NSM
ouk
<3364
ADV
emocyhsen {V-AAI-3S} en
<1722
PREP
autw
<846
D-DSM
dwsei
<1325
V-FAI-3S
autw
<846
D-DSM
merida
<3310
N-ASF
autou
<846
D-GSM
kai
<2532
CONJ
ge
<1065
PRT
touto
<3778
D-NSN
mataiothv
<3153
N-NSF
kai
<2532
CONJ
ponhria
<4189
N-NSF
megalh
<3173
A-NSF
NET © [draft] ITL
For
<03588>
a man
<0120>
may do
<03426>
his work
<05999>
with wisdom
<02451>
, knowledge
<01847>
, and skill
<03788>
; however, he must hand over
<05414>
the fruit of his labor
<05998>
as an inheritance to someone
<0120>
else who did not
<03808>
work for it. This
<02088>
also
<01571>
is futile
<01892>
, and an awful
<07451>
injustice
<07227>
!
NET ©

For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; however, he must hand over 1  the fruit of his labor 2  as an inheritance 3  to someone else who did not work for it. This also is futile, and an awful injustice! 4 

NET © Notes

tn Heb “he must give.” The 3rd person masculine singular suffix on יִתְּנֶנּוּ (yittÿnennu, Qal imperfect 3rd person masculine singular from נָתַן, natan, “to give” + 3rd person masculine singular suffix) refers back to עֲמָלוֹ (’amalo, “his labor”) which is treated in this line as a metonymy of cause for effect, that is, “he must give it” = “he must give his labor” = “he must give the fruit of his labor.”

sn As in 2:18-19, Qoheleth laments the injustice that a person who works diligently in wisdom must one day hand over the fruit of his labor (i.e., his fortune and the care of his achievements) to his successor. There is no guarantee that one’s heir will be wise and be a good steward of this wealth, or be foolish and squander it – in which case, the former man’s entire life’s work would be in vain.

tn Heb “it”; the referent (“the fruit of his labor”) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

tn Or “he must turn over an inheritance”; or “he must turn it over, namely, an inheritance.” There are two approaches to the syntax of חֶלְקוֹ (khelqo, “his inheritance”): (1) The 3rd person masculine singular suffix is a subjective genitive: “his inheritance” = the inheritance which he must give to his heir. The referent of the 3rd person masculine singular suffix is Qoheleth in 2:21a who worked hard to amass the fortune. The noun חֵלֶק (kheleq, “inheritance”) functions as an adverbial accusative of state (GKC 372 §118.a) or a predicate accusative (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 12-13, §57): “He must give it [i.e., his fortune] as an inheritance.” (2) The 3rd person masculine singular suffix is an objective genitive: “his inheritance” = the inheritance which the heir will receive from Qoheleth. The referent of the 3rd person masculine singular suffix is the heir in 2:21b. The noun חֵלֶק (“inheritance”) functions as the accusative direct object in apposition (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 15-16, §71) to the 3rd person masculine singular suffix on יִתְּנֶנּוּ (yittÿnennu, “he must give it”; Qal imperfect 3rd person masculine singular from נָתַן, natan, + 3rd person masculine singular suffix): “He must give it, namely, his inheritance, to one who did not work for it.”

tn The noun רָעָה (raah, “evil”) probably means “misfortune” (HALOT 1263 s.v. רָעָה 4) or “injustice; wrong” (HALOT 1262 s.v. רָעָה 2.b). The phrase רָעָה רַבָּה (raah rabbah) connotes “grave injustice” or “great misfortune” (e.g., Eccl 2:17; 5:12, 15; 6:1; 10:5). It is expressed well as: “This too is…a great misfortune” (NAB, NIV, MLB) and “utterly wrong!” (NEB).

sn Verses 18-21 are arranged into two sub-units (2:18-19 and 2:20-21). Each contains a parallel structure: (1) Introductory lament: “I hated all my toil” and “I began to despair about all my toil.” (2) Reason for the lament: “I must turn over the fruit of my labor to the hands of my successor” and “he must hand over the fruit of his work as an inheritance.” (3) Description of successor: “who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool?” and “he did not work for it.” (4) Concluding statement: “This also is fruitless!” and “This also is profitless and an awful injustice!”



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