What does the worker gain from his toil?
What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils?
What do people really get for all their hard work?
But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does?
What profit has the worker in the work which he does?
What gain have the workers from their toil?
What profit has the worker from that in which he labors?
|NET © [draft] ITL|
|NET © Notes||
1 tn The term הָעוֹשֶׂה (ha’oseh, article + Qal active participle ms from עָשַׂה, ’asah, “to do”) functions substantively (“the worker”); see BDB 794 s.v. עָשַׂה II.1. This is a figurative description of man (metonymy of association), and plays on the repetition of עָשַׂה (verb: “to do,” noun: “work”) throughout the passage. In the light of God’s orchestration of human affairs, man’s efforts cannot change anything. It refers to man in general with the article functioning in a generic sense (see IBHS 244-45 §13.5.1f; Joüon 2:511 §137.m).
2 sn This rhetorical question is an example of negative affirmation, expecting a negative answer: “Man gains nothing from his toil!” (see E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 949-51). Any advantage that man might gain from his toil is nullified by his ignorance of divine providence.