Ecclesiastes 2:24

24 A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God,

Ecclesiastes 2:24 in Other Translations

KJV
24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.
ESV
24 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God,
NLT
24 So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God.
MSG
24 The best you can do with your life is have a good time and get by the best you can. The way I see it, that's it - divine fate.
CSB
24 There is nothing better for man than to eat, drink, and to enjoyhis work. I have seen that even this is from God's hand.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 2:24

[There is] nothing better for a man [than] that he should eat
and drink
Not in an immoderate and voluptuous manner, like the epicure and the atheist, that disbelieve a future state and the resurrection of the dead, and give up themselves to all sinful and sensual gratifications; but in a moderate way, enjoying in a cheerful and comfortable manner the good creatures of God, which he has given; being contented with them, thankful for them, and looking upon them as the blessings of divine goodness, and as flowing from the love of God to him; and thus freely using, and yet not abusing them. Some render it, "it is not good for a man to eat" F1 immoderately and to excess, and to place his happiness in it: or, "there is no good with man" F2; it is not in the power of man to use the creatures aright. Jarchi renders it by way of interrogation, "is it not good?" which comes to the same sense with ours, and so the Vulgate Latin version; and [that] he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour;
not leave off labouring; nor eat and drink what he has not laboured for, or what is the fruit of other men's labour; but what is the effect of his own, and in which he continues; and this is the way to go on in it with cheerfulness, when he enjoys the good, and reaps the benefit and advantage of it; which is certainly preferable to a laying up his substance, and leaving it to he knows not who. This also I saw, that it [was] from the hand of God;
not only the riches a man possesses, but the enjoyment of them, or a heart to make use of them; see ( Ecclesiastes 5:18 Ecclesiastes 5:19 ) . The Midrash interprets this eating and drinking, of the law and good works: and the Targum explains it, causing the soul to enjoy the good of doing the commandments, and walking in right ways; and observes, that a man that prospers in this world, it is from the hand of the Lord, and is what is decreed to be concerning him.


FOOTNOTES:

F1 (bwj Nya) "non est igitur bonum", Vatablus.
F2 "Non est bonum penes hominem", Junius & Tremellius, Gejerus, Gussetius.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 In-Context

22 What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun?
23 All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.
24 A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God,
25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?
26 To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Cross References 3

  • 1. ver 3; Ecclesiastes 8:15; 1 Corinthians 15:32
  • 2. S ver 1; Ecclesiastes 3:22
  • 3. S Job 2:10; Ecclesiastes 3:12-13; Ecclesiastes 5:17-19; Ecclesiastes 7:14; Ecclesiastes 9:7-10; Ecclesiastes 11:7-10