Ecclesiastes 2:24

24 There is nothing better for man than to eat, drink, and to enjoy[a][b]his work. I have seen that even this is from God's hand.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 2:24

[There is] nothing better for a man [than] that he should eat
and drink
Not in an immoderate and voluptuous manner, like the epicure and the atheist, that disbelieve a future state and the resurrection of the dead, and give up themselves to all sinful and sensual gratifications; but in a moderate way, enjoying in a cheerful and comfortable manner the good creatures of God, which he has given; being contented with them, thankful for them, and looking upon them as the blessings of divine goodness, and as flowing from the love of God to him; and thus freely using, and yet not abusing them. Some render it, "it is not good for a man to eat" F1 immoderately and to excess, and to place his happiness in it: or, "there is no good with man" F2; it is not in the power of man to use the creatures aright. Jarchi renders it by way of interrogation, "is it not good?" which comes to the same sense with ours, and so the Vulgate Latin version; and [that] he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour;
not leave off labouring; nor eat and drink what he has not laboured for, or what is the fruit of other men's labour; but what is the effect of his own, and in which he continues; and this is the way to go on in it with cheerfulness, when he enjoys the good, and reaps the benefit and advantage of it; which is certainly preferable to a laying up his substance, and leaving it to he knows not who. This also I saw, that it [was] from the hand of God;
not only the riches a man possesses, but the enjoyment of them, or a heart to make use of them; see ( Ecclesiastes 5:18 Ecclesiastes 5:19 ) . The Midrash interprets this eating and drinking, of the law and good works: and the Targum explains it, causing the soul to enjoy the good of doing the commandments, and walking in right ways; and observes, that a man that prospers in this world, it is from the hand of the Lord, and is what is decreed to be concerning him.


FOOTNOTES:

F1 (bwj Nya) "non est igitur bonum", Vatablus.
F2 "Non est bonum penes hominem", Junius & Tremellius, Gejerus, Gussetius.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 In-Context

22 For what does a man get with all his work and all his efforts that he labors with under the sun?
23 For all his days are filled with grief, and his occupation is sorrowful; even at night, his mind does not rest. This too is futile.
24 There is nothing better for man than to eat, drink, and to enjoyhis work. I have seen that even this is from God's hand.
25 For who can eat and who can enjoy life apart from Him?
26 For to the man who is pleasing in His sight, He gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy, but to the sinner He gives the task of gathering and accumulating in order to give to the one who is pleasing in God's sight. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Syr, Tg; MT reads There is no good in man who eats and drinks and enjoys
  • [b]. Lit and his soul sees good