Ecclesiastes 11:4

4 Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 in Other Translations

KJV
4 He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.
ESV
4 He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.
NLT
4 Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.
MSG
4 Don't sit there watching the wind. Do your own work. Don't stare at the clouds. Get on with your life.
CSB
4 One who watches the wind will not sow, and the one who looks at the clouds will not reap.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 11:4

He that observeth the wind shall not sow
Who before he sows his seed is careful to observe where the wind is, from what corner it blows, and forbears sowing until it is down or changes, lest it should be troublesome unto him in sowing, or blow away his seed, and waits for a better season; such a man may lose his seedtime and never sow at all, and his grain in his barn may be devoured by vermin, or be destroyed by one accident or another, and so he may lose both his seed and his crop; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap;
which are uncertain signs of weather; and if a man gives heed to them, and puts off his sowing from time to time, for the sake of better weather, as he may never sow, so it is impossible that he should reap; and if he sows, and when his grain is ripe and forbears to reap because of the clouds, lest his grain should be wet, may never reap at all: and so it is with respect to liberality; if a man will raise difficulties, and make objections, and attend unto them; if he puts off giving till such an affliction is removed from him and his family, or that is grown up; or such an estate is obtained, or he has got to such an amount of riches, or till more proper and deserving objects present, with twenty things more of the like kind; if he defers giving on such accounts, or through fear of want, which may possess his mind for various reasons, he may never give nor get, yea, never do any good work; for, if nothing is done till all difficulties are removed, no good thing will ever be done.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 In-Context

2 Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.
3 If clouds are full of water, they pour rain on the earth. Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there it will lie.
4 Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.
5 As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.
6 Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.