Internet Verse Search Commentaries Word Analysis ITL - draft

Ecclesiastes 4:1

Context
NET ©

So 1  I again considered 2  all the oppression 3  that continually occurs 4  on earth. 5  This is what I saw: 6  The oppressed 7  were in tears, 8  but no one was comforting them; no one delivers 9  them from the power of their oppressors.

NIV ©

Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—and they have no comforter.

NASB ©

Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them.

NLT ©

Again I observed all the oppression that takes place in our world. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and the victims are helpless.

MSG ©

Next I turned my attention to all the outrageous violence that takes place on this planet--the tears of the victims, no one to comfort them; the iron grip of oppressors, no one to rescue the victims from them.

BBE ©

And again I saw all the cruel things which are done under the sun; there was the weeping of those who have evil done to them, and they had no comforter: and from the hands of the evil-doers there went out power, but they had no comforter.

NRSV ©

Again I saw all the oppressions that are practiced under the sun. Look, the tears of the oppressed—with no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power—with no one to comfort them.

NKJV ©

Then I returned and considered all the oppression that is done under the sun: And look! The tears of the oppressed, But they have no comforter––On the side of their oppressors there is power, But they have no comforter.


KJV
So I returned
<07725> (8804)_,
and considered
<07200> (8799)
all the oppressions
<06217>
that are done
<06213> (8737)
under the sun
<08121>_:
and behold the tears
<01832>
of [such as were] oppressed
<06231> (8803)_,
and they had no comforter
<05162> (8764)_;
and on the side
<03027>
of their oppressors
<06231> (8802)
[there was] power
<03581>_;
but they had no comforter
<05162> (8764)_.
{side: Heb. hand}
NASB ©
Then I looked
<07200>
again
<07725>
at all
<03605>
the acts
<06217>
of oppression
<06217>
which
<0834>
were being done
<06213>
under
<08478>
the sun
<08121>
. And behold
<02009>
I saw the tears
<01832>
of the oppressed
<06231>
and that they had
<0369>
no
<0369>
one
<0369>
to comfort
<05162>
them; and on the side
<03027>
of their oppressors
<06231>
was power
<03581>
, but they had
<0369>
no
<0369>
one
<0369>
to comfort
<05162>
them.
HEBREW
Mxnm
<05162>
Mhl
<0>
Nyaw
<0369>
xk
<03581>
Mhyqse
<06231>
dymw
<03027>
Mxnm
<05162>
Mhl
<0>
Nyaw
<0369>
Myqseh
<06217>
temd
<01832>
hnhw
<02009>
smsh
<08121>
txt
<08478>
Myven
<06213>
rsa
<0834>
Myqseh
<06217>
lk
<03605>
ta
<0853>
haraw
<07200>
yna
<0589>
ytbsw (4:1)
<07725>
LXXM
kai
<2532
CONJ
epestreqa
<1994
V-AAI-1S
egw
<1473
P-NS
kai
<2532
CONJ
eidon
<3708
V-AAI-1S
sun
<4862
PREP
pasav
<3956
A-APF
tav
<3588
T-APF
sukofantiav {N-APF} tav
<3588
T-APF
ginomenav
<1096
V-PMPAP
upo
<5259
PREP
ton
<3588
T-ASM
hlion
<2246
N-ASM
kai
<2532
CONJ
idou
<2400
INJ
dakruon
<1144
N-NSN
twn
<3588
T-GPM
sukofantoumenwn
<4811
V-PMPGP
kai
<2532
CONJ
ouk
<3364
ADV
estin
<1510
V-PAI-3S
autoiv
<846
D-DPM
parakalwn
<3870
V-PAPNS
kai
<2532
CONJ
apo
<575
PREP
ceirov
<5495
N-GSF
sukofantountwn
<4811
V-PAPGP
autouv
<846
D-APM
iscuv
<2479
N-NSF
kai
<2532
CONJ
ouk
<3364
ADV
estin
<1510
V-PAI-3S
autoiv
<846
D-DPM
parakalwn
<3870
V-PAPNS
NET © [draft] ITL
So I
<0589>
again
<07725>
considered
<07200>
all
<03605>
the oppression
<06217>
that
<0834>
continually occurs
<06213>
on earth
<08121>
. This is what I saw
<02009>
: The oppressed
<06217>
were in tears
<01832>
, but no
<0369>
one was comforting
<05162>
them; no
<0369>
one delivers
<05162>
them from the power
<03581>
of their oppressors
<06231>
.
NET ©

So 1  I again considered 2  all the oppression 3  that continually occurs 4  on earth. 5  This is what I saw: 6  The oppressed 7  were in tears, 8  but no one was comforting them; no one delivers 9  them from the power of their oppressors.

NET © Notes

tn The prefixed vav on וְשַׁבְתִּי (vÿshavti, vav + perfect 1st person common singular from שׁוּב, shuv, “to turn”) might be: (1) introductory (and left untranslated): “I observed again”; (2) consequence of preceding statement: “So I observed again”; or (3) continuation of preceding statement: “And I observed again.”

sn This section is closely related to the preceding: Qoheleth’s observation of oppression (4:1-3) links back to his previous observation of oppression and injustice (3:16). It stands in stark contrast with his admonition for man to enjoy life on earth as the reward for one’s work (3:22). Now, Qoheleth turns his attention to consider the sorry fate of those who are not able to enjoy life on earth and their work because of oppression (4:1-3), over-obsessive competitiveness (4:4-6), and loneliness (4:7-12).

tn Heb “I turned and I saw.” The phrase וָאֶרְאֶהוְשַׁבְתִּי (vÿshavtivaereh, “I turned and I saw”) is a verbal hendiadys (the two verbs represent one common idea). Normally in a verbal hendiadys, the first verb functions adverbially, modifying the second verb which retains its full verbal force. The verb וְשַׁבְתִּי (vav + perfect 1st person common singular from שׁוּב “to turn”) is used idiomatically to denote repetition: “to return and do” = “to do again” (e.g., Gen 26:18; 30:31; 43:2) or “to do repeatedly” (e.g., Lam 3:3); see HALOT 1430 s.v. שׁוב 5; BDB 998 s.v. שׁוּב 8; GKC 386 §120.e: “I observed again” or “I repeatedly observed.” On the other hand, the shift from the perfect וְשַׁבְתִּי to the preterite וָאֶרְאֶה (vav + Qal preterite 1st person common singular from רָאָה, raah, “to see”) might indicate a purpose clause: “I turned [my mind] to consider.” The preterite וָאֶרְאֶה follows the perfect וְשַׁבְתִּי. When a wayyiqtol form (vav + preterite) follows a perfect in reference to a past-time situation, the preterite also represents a past-time situation. Its aspect is based on the preceding perfect. In this context, the perfect and preterite may denote definite past or indefinite past action (“I turned and considered” as hendiadys for “I observed again” or “I repeatedly observed”) or past telic action (“I turned [my mind] to consider”). See IBHS 554-55 §33.3.1a.

tn Heb “all the oppressions” or “all the oppression”; alternately, “all the various kinds of oppression.” The term עֹשֶׁק (’osheq) denotes “oppression,” e.g., Jer 6:6; 22:17; Ezek 18:18; 22:7, 12, 29; Pss 73:8; 119:134 (see HALOT 897 s.v. עֹשֶׁק 1; BDB 799 s.v. עֹשֶׁק 1). It occurs several times in the book, always in reference to personal rather than national oppression (4:1; 5:8 ET [5:7 HT]; 7:7). The noun הָעֲשֻׁקִים (haashuqim) is plural and articular (Heb “the oppressions”). The article indicates a generic class (“oppression”). The plural may be classified in one of two ways: (1) a plural of number, which refers to specific kinds of oppression that occur on earth: “the various kinds of oppression”; (2) an abstract plural, which is used to refer to abstract concepts: “the oppression”; or (3) a plural of intensity, which describes the oppression at hand as particularly grievous: “awful oppression” or “severe oppression.” The LXX renders it as a plural of number: συκοφαντίας (sukofantias, “oppressions”), as does the Vulgate. Most English versions treat it as a plural of number: “the oppressions” (KJV, ASV, NAB, RSV, NRSV, MLB, YLT); however, a few treat it as an abstract plural: “the oppression” (NJPS, NIV, Moffatt).

tn Heb “is done.” The term נַעֲשִׂים (naasim, Niphal participle mpl from עָשַׂה, ’asah, “to do”) is a probably a verbal use of the participle rather than a substantival use (NEB: “all the acts of oppression”). This verbal use of the participle depicts durative or universal gnomic action. It emphasizes the lamentable continuity of oppression throughout human history. The English versions translate it variously: “[all the oppressions that] are done” (KJV, ASV, Douay, YLT), “[all the oppression] that goes on” (NJPS, Moffatt), “[all the oppressions] that are practiced” (RSV, NRSV), “[all the oppressions] that occur” (MLB), “[all the acts of oppression] which were being done” (NASB), “[all the oppressions] that take place” (NAB), “[all the oppression] that was taking place” (NIV).

tn Heb “under the sun.”

tn Heb “and behold.” The deictic particle וְהִנֵּה (vÿhinneh, “and behold!”) often occurs after verbs of perceiving, such as רָאָה, raah, “to see” (e.g., Gen 19:28; 22:13; Exod 3:2; Lev 13:8). It introduces the content of what the character or speaker saw (HALOT 252 s.v. הִנֵּה 8). It is used for rhetorical emphasis, to draw attention to the following statement (e.g., Gen 1:29; 17:20; Num 22:32; Job 1:19; cf. HALOT 252 s.v. 5). It often introduces something surprising or unexpected (e.g., Gen 29:6; Num 25:6; cf. HALOT 252 s.v. 6).

tn The term הָעֲשֻׁקִים (haashuqim, Qal passive participle mpl from עָשַׁק, ’ashaq, “to oppress”) is a passive form, emphasizing that they are the objects of oppression at the hands of their oppressors. The participle functions as a noun, emphasizing the durative aspect of their condition and that this was the singular most characteristic attribute of this group of people: Their lives were marked by oppression.

tn Heb “the tear of the oppressed.” Alternately, “the oppressed [were in] tears.” The singular noun דִּמְעָה (dimah, “tear”) is used as a collective for “tears” (2 Kgs 20:5; Isa 16:9; 25:8; 38:5; Jer 8:23; 19:7; 13:17; 14:17; 31:16; Ezek 24:16; Mal 2:13; Pss 6:7; 39:13; 42:4; 56:9; 80:6; 116:8; 126:5; Lam 1:2; 2:18; Eccl 4:1); see HALOT 227 s.v. דִּמְעָה; BDB 199 s.v. דִּמְעָה. It is often used in reference to lamentation over calamity, distress, or oppression (e.g., Ps 6:7; Lam 1:2; 2:11; Jer 9:17; 13:17; 14:17). The LXX translated it as singular δάκρουν (dakroun, “the tear”); however, the Vulgate treated it as a collective (“the tears”). Apart from the woodenly literal YLT (“the tear”), the major English versions render this as a collective: “the tears” or “tears” (KJV, ASV, NEB, NAB, NASB, RSV, NRSV, NJPS, MLB, NIV). The term דִּמְעָה functions as a metonymy of association for “weeping” (e.g., Isa 16:9; 8:23): “the oppressed [were weeping with] tears.” The genitive construct דִּמְעָת הָעֲשֻׁקִים (dimat haashuqim, literally, “tear of the oppressed”) is a subjective genitive construction, that is, the oppressed are weeping. The singular דִּמְעָת (dimat, “tear”) is used as a collective for “tears.” This entire phrase, however, is still given a woodenly literal translation by most English versions: “the tears of the oppressed” (NEB, NAB, ASV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, MLB, NIV, NJPS). Some paraphrases attempt to fill out the meaning, e.g., “the oppressed were in tears” (Moffatt).

tn Heb “comforts.” The verb נָחַם (nakham, “to comfort”) is used as a metonymy of effect (i.e., comfort) for cause (i.e., deliverance), e.g., it is used in parallelism with גָאַל (gaal, “to deliver”) in Isa 52:9 (see E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 560-67).

10 tn Heb “from the hand of their oppressors is power.”



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