Ecclesiastes 2:21

21 For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune.

Read Ecclesiastes 2:21 Using Other Translations

For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.
because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.
Some people work wisely with knowledge and skill, then must leave the fruit of their efforts to someone who hasn’t worked for it. This, too, is meaningless, a great tragedy.

What does Ecclesiastes 2:21 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Ecclesiastes 2:21

For there is a man whose labour [is] in wisdom, and in
knowledge, and in equity
Who does all he does, in natural, civil, and religious things, in the state, in his family, and the world, and whatsoever business he is engaged, in the wisest and best manner, with the utmost honesty and integrity, according to all the rules of wisdom and knowledge, and of justice and equity; meaning himself; the Midrash interprets this of God; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it [for]
his portion;
to his son, heir, and successor; who never took any pains, or joined with him, in acquiring the least part of it; and yet all comes into his hands, as his possession and inheritance: the Targum interprets this of a man that dies without children; and so others F26 understand it of his leaving his substance to strangers, and not to his children. This also [is] vanity, and a great evil;
not anything sinful and criminal, but vexatious and distressing.


FOOTNOTES:

F26 R. Joseph Titatzak in loc.
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