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Ecclesiastes 1:10

10 Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.

Read Ecclesiastes 1:10 Using Other Translations

Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
Is there a thing of which it is said, "See, this is new"? It has been already in the ages before us.
Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new.

What does Ecclesiastes 1:10 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Ecclesiastes 1:10

Is there [any] thing whereof it may be said, see, this [is]
new?
&c.] This is an appeal to all men for the truth of the above observation, and carries in it a strong denial that there is anything new under the sun; and is an address to men to inquire into the truth of it, and thoroughly examine it, and see if they can produce any material objection to it; look into the natural world, and the same natural causes will be seen producing the same effects; or into the moral world, and there are the same virtues, and their contrary; or into the political world, and the same schemes are forming and pursuing, and which issue in the same things, peace or war; or into the learned world, and the same languages, arts, and sciences, are taught and learned; and the same things said over again F9: or into the mechanic world, and the same trades and businesses are carrying on: or the words may be considered as a concession, and carry in them the form of an objection, "there is a thing F11 whereof it may be said", or a man may say, "see, this is new"; so the Targum; there were some things in Solomon's time it is allowed that might be objected, as there are in ours, to which the answer is, it hath been already of old time which was before us;
what things are reckoned new are not so; they were known and in use in ages past, long before we had a being. R. Alshech takes the words to be an assertion, and not an interrogation, and interprets it of a spiritual temple in time to come, which yet was created before the world was.


FOOTNOTES:

F9 "Nullum est jam dictum, quod non dictum sit prius", Terent Prolog. Eunuch. v. 41.
F11 (rbd vy) "est quidpiam", Pagninus, Mercerus, Gejerus; "est res", Drusius, Cocceius, Rambachius.
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