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Ecclesiastes 2:12

    Ecclesiastes 2:12 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that comes after the king? even that which has been already done.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been done long ago.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    And I went again in search of wisdom and of foolish ways. What may the man do who comes after the king? The thing which he has done before.

    Webster's Revision

    And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been done long ago.

    World English Bible

    I turned myself to consider wisdom, madness, and folly: for what can the king's successor do? Just that which has been done long ago.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness and folly; for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done.

    Clarke's Commentary on Ecclesiastes 2:12

    For what can the man do that cometh after the king? - I have examined every thing proposed by science, by maddening pleasure, and by more refined and regulated mirth. I seized on the whole, and used them to the uttermost; and so far, that none ever shall be able to exceed me; as none can, in the course of things, ever have such power and means of gratification.

    Barnes' Notes on Ecclesiastes 2:12

    Solomon having found that wisdom and folly agree in being subject to vanity, now contrasts one with the other Ecclesiastes 2:13. Both are brought under vanity by events Ecclesiastes 2:14 which come on the wise man and the feel alike from without - death and oblivion Ecclesiastes 2:16, uncertainty Ecclesiastes 2:19, disappointment Ecclesiastes 2:21 - all happening by an external law beyond human control. Amidst this vanity, the good (see Ecclesiastes 2:10 note) that accrues to man, is the pleasure felt Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 in receiving God's gifts, and in working with and for them.

    Ecclesiastes 2:12

    What can the man do ... - i. e., "What is any man - in this study of wisdom and folly - after one like me, who, from my position, have had such special advantages (see Ecclesiastes 1:16, and compare Ecclesiastes 2:25) for carrying it on? That which man did of old he can but do again: he is not likely to add to the result of my researches, nor even to equal them." Some hold that the "man" is a reference to Solomon's successor - not in his inquiries, but in his kingdom, i. e., Jeroboam.

    Wesley's Notes on Ecclesiastes 2:12

    2:12 I turned - Being frustrated of my hopes in pleasure, I returned to a second consideration of my first choice, to see whether there was not more satisfaction to be gotten from wisdom, than I discovered at my first view. Done - As by others, so especially by myself. They can make no new discoveries as to this point. They can make no more of the pleasures of sense than I have done. Let me then try once more, whether wisdom can give happiness.