2:1 I said in my heart, Come now, I will tempt a thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also [is] vanity.
(a) Solomon makes this discourse with himself, as though he would try whether there was contentment in ease and pleasures. 2:3 I sought in my heart to give myself to wine, yet acquainting my heart with b wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what [was] that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.
(b) Even though I gave myself to pleasures, yet I thought to keep wisdom and the fear of God in my heart, and govern my affairs by the same. 2:7 I procured [me] male and female servants, and had servants born in my c house; also I had great possessions of herds and flocks above all that were in Jerusalem before me:
(c) Meaning, of the servants or slaves which he had bought, so the children born in their servitude, were the masters. 2:8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the special treasure of kings and of the provinces: I procured me male and female singers, and the d delights of the sons of men, e [as] musical instruments, and of all sorts.
(d) That is, whatever men take pleasure in. 2:9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom f remained with me.
(e) Or, the most beautiful of the women that were taken in war, as in ( Judges 5:30 ).
(f) For all this God did not take his gift of wisdom from me. 2:10 And whatever my eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my g portion of all my labour.
(g) This was the fruit of all my labour, a certain pleasure mixed with care, which he calls vanity in the next verse. 2:12 And I turned myself to behold h wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what [can] the man [do] that cometh after the king? [even] that which hath been already done.
(h) I thought to myself whether it was better to follow wisdom, or my own affections and pleasures, which he calls madness. 2:14 The wise mans i eyes [are] in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one k event happeneth to them all.
(i) Meaning, in this world. 2:16 For [there is] no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool l for ever; seeing that which now [is] in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And m how dieth the wise [man]? as the fool.
(k) For both die and are forgotten as in ( Ecclesiastes 2:16 ) or they both alike have prosperity or adversity.
(l) Meaning, in this world. 2:20 Therefore I went about to cause my heart n to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.
(m) He wonders that men forget a wise man, being dead, as soon as they do a fool.
(n) That I might seek the true happiness which is in God. 2:21 For there is a man whose labour [is] in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured in it shall he o leave it [for] his portion. This also [is] vanity and a great evil.
(o) Among other griefs that was not the least, to leave that which he had gotten by great travail, to one who had taken no pain therefore and whom he know not whether he were a wise man or a fool. 2:24 [There is] nothing better for a man, [than] that he should eat and drink, and [that] he should p make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it [was] from the hand of God.
2:25 For who can eat, or who else can hasten q [to it], more than I?
(p) When man has all laboured, he can get no more than food and refreshing, yet he confesses also that this comes from Gods blessing, as in ( Ecclesiastes 3:13 ).
(q) Meaning, to pleasures.