Ecclesiastes 2:17

Toil Is Meaningless

17 So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Read Ecclesiastes 2:17 Using Other Translations

Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind.
So I came to hate life because everything done here under the sun is so troubling. Everything is meaningless—like chasing the wind.

What does Ecclesiastes 2:17 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Ecclesiastes 2:17

Therefore I hated life
Not strictly and simply understood, since life is the gift of God; and a great blessing it is, more than raiment, and so dear to a man, that he will give all he has for it: but comparatively, in comparison of the lovingkindness of God, which is better than life; or in comparison of eternal life, which a good man desires to depart from this world, for the sake of enjoying it. The sense seems to be this, that since the case of wise men and fools was equal, he had the less love for life, the less regard to it, the less desire to continue in it; no solid happiness being to be enjoyed in anything under the sun: though some think that he was even weary of life, impatient of it, as Job, Jonah, and others have been. The Targum is,

``I hate all evil life:''
Alshech interprets it of the good things of this world, which were the cause of hurt unto him; and Aben Ezra understands, by life, living persons; because the work that is wrought under the sun [is] grievous unto me;
which was either wrought by himself; particularly his hard studies, and eager pursuits after knowledge and wisdom, which were a weariness to his flesh; or which were done by others, especially evil ones: so the Targum,
``for evil to me is an evil work, which is done by the children of men under the sun in this world;''
for all [is] vanity and vexation of spirit; (See Gill on Ecclesiastes 1:14).
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