Ecclesiastes 1:18

18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.

Ecclesiastes 1:18 in Other Translations

18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
18 For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.
18 The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.
18 Much learning earns you much trouble. The more you know, the more you hurt.
18 For with much wisdom is much sorrow; as knowledge increases, grief increases.

Ecclesiastes 1:18 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 1:18

For in much wisdom [is] much grief
In getting it, and losing it when it is gotten: or "indignation" F20, at himself and others; being more sensible of the follies and weakness of human nature; and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow:
for, the more he knows, the more he would know, and is more eager after it, and puts himself to more pains and trouble to acquire it; and hereby becomes more and more sensible of his own ignorance; and of the difficulty of attaining the knowledge he would come at; and of the insufficiency of it to make him easy and happy: and besides, the more knowledge he has, the more envy it draws upon him from others, who set themselves to oppose him, and detract from his character; in short, this is the sum of all human knowledge and wisdom, attained to in the highest degree; instead of making men comfortable and happy, it is found to be mere vanity, to cause vexation and disquietude of mind, and to promote grief and sorrow. There is indeed wisdom and knowledge opposite to this, and infinitely more excellent, and which, the more it is increased, the more joy and comfort it brings; and this is wisdom in the hidden part; a spiritual and experimental knowledge of Christ, and of God in Christ, and of divine and evangelical truths; but short of this knowledge there is no true peace, comfort, and happiness. The Targum is,

``for a man who multiplies wisdom, when he sins and does not turn by repentance, he multiplies indignation from the Lord; and he who increases knowledge, and dies in his youth, increases grief of heart to those who are near akin to him.''


F20 (oek br) "multa ira", Pagninus, Montanus; "indignatio", V. L. Tigurine version, Vatablus, Drusius; "multum indignationis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

Ecclesiastes 1:18 In-Context

16 I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.”
17 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.
18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.

Cross References 2

  • 1. Jeremiah 45:3
  • 2. Ecclesiastes 2:23; Ecclesiastes 12:12
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