4:1 So a I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of [such as were] oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors [there was] power; but they had no comforter.
(a) He makes here another discourse with himself concerning the tyranny of them that oppressed the poor. 4:2 Wherefore I praised the b dead who are already dead more than the living who are yet alive.
(b) Because they are no longer subject to these oppressions. 4:3 Yea, c better [is he] than both they, who hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
(c) He speaks according to the judgment of the flesh which cannot abide to feel or see troubles. 4:4 Again, I considered all labour, and every d right work, that for this a man is envied by his neighbour. This [is] also vanity and vexation of spirit.
(d) The more perfect that the work is, the more it is envied by the wicked. 4:5 The fool foldeth his hands together, and e eateth his own flesh.
(e) For idleness he is compelled to destroy himself. 4:9 f Two [are] better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
(f) As when man is alone, he can neither help himself nor others, he shows that men should live in mutual society to the intent that they may be profitable one to another, and that their things may increase. 4:12 And if one prevaileth against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold g cord is not quickly broken.
(g) By this proverb he declares how necessary it is, that men should live in society. 4:14 For out of h prison he cometh to reign; though also [he that is] i born in his kingdom becometh poor.
4:15 I considered all the living who walk under the sun, k with the second child that shall stand up in his stead.
(h) That is, from a poor and base estate or out of trouble and prison as Joseph did, ( Genesis 41:14 ).
(i) Meaning, that is born a king.
(k) Who follow and flatter the kings son, or him that will succeed to enter into credit with them in hope of gain. 4:16 [There is] no l end of all the people, [even] of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also [is] vanity and vexation of spirit.
(l) They never cease by all means to creep into favour, but when they do not obtain their greedy desires they think themselves abused, as others have been in times past, and so care no more for him.