Ecclesiastes 1:6

6 Gusting to the south, turning to the north, turning, turning, goes the wind, and the wind returns in its cycles.

Ecclesiastes 1:6 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 1:6

The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the
The word "wind" is not in this clause in the original text, but is taken from the next, and so may be rendered, "it goeth towards the south" that is, the sun F24 before mentioned, which as to its diurnal and nocturnal course in the daytime goes towards the south, and in the night towards the north; and as to its annual course before the winter solstice it goes to the south, and before the summer solstice to the north, as interpreters observe. And the Targum not only interprets this clause, but even the whole verse, of the sun, paraphrasing the whole thus,

``it goes all the side of the south in the daytime, and goes round to the side of the north in the night, by the way of the abyss; it goes its circuit, and comes to the wind of the south corner in the revolution of Nisan and Tammuz; and by its circuit it returns to the wind of the north corner in the revolution of Tisri and Tebet; it goes out of the confines of the east in the morning, and goes into the confines of the west in the evening.''
But Aben Ezra understands the whole of the wind, as our version and others do, which is sometimes in the south point of the heavens, and is presently in the north; it whirleth about continually; and the wind returneth again according
to his circuits;
which may be meant of the circuits of the sun, which has a great influence on the wind, often raising it in a morning and laying it at night; but it is the wind itself which whirls and shifts about all the points of the compass, and returns from whence it came, where the treasures of it are. Agreeably to Solomon's account of the wind is Plato's definition of it,
``the wind is the motion of the air round about the earth F25.''
This also exemplifies the rotation of men and things, the instability, inconstancy, and restless state of all sublunary enjoyments; the unprofitableness of men's labours, who, while they labour for riches and honour, and natural knowledge, labour for the wind, and fill their belly with east wind, which cannot satisfy, ( Ecclesiastes 5:16 ) ( Job 15:2 ) ; as well as the frailty of human life, which is like the wind that passes away and comes not again; and in this respect, like the rest of the instances, exceed man, which returns to its place, but man does not, ( Job 7:7 ) ( Psalms 78:39 ) .

F24 Jarchi, Alshech, and Titatzak, interpret it of the sun; so Mercerus, Varenius, Gejerus; accordingly Mr. Broughton renders it "he walketh to the south."
F25 Definition. p. 1337. Ed. Ficin.

Ecclesiastes 1:6 In-Context

4 A generation goes and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.
5 The sun rises and the sun sets; panting, [it returns] to its place where it rises.
6 Gusting to the south, turning to the north, turning, turning, goes the wind, and the wind returns in its cycles.
7 All the streams flow to the sea, yet the sea is never full. The streams are flowing to the place, and they flow there again.
8 All things are wearisome; man is unable to speak. The eye is not satisfied by seeing or the ear filled with hearing.