Internet Verse Search Commentaries Word Analysis ITL - draft

Ecclesiastes 3:9

Context
NETBible

What benefit can a worker 1  gain from his toil? 2 

XREF

Pr 14:23; Ec 1:3; Ec 2:11,22,23; Ec 5:16; Mt 16:26

NET © Notes

tn The term הָעוֹשֶׂה (haoseh, 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).

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.



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