Ecclesiastes 2:4

4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards.

Ecclesiastes 2:4 in Other Translations

4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:
4 I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself.
4 I also tried to find meaning by building huge homes for myself and by planting beautiful vineyards.
4 Oh, I did great things: built houses, planted vineyards,
4 I increased my achievements. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself.

Ecclesiastes 2:4 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 2:4

I made me great works
He did not spend his time in trifling things, as Domitian F1, in catching and killing flies; but in devising, designing, directing, and superintending great works of art and skill, becoming the grandeur of his state, and the greatness of his mind: the Midrash restrains it to his great throne of ivory, overlaid with gold, ( 1 Kings 10:18 ) , but it is a general expression, including all the great things he did, of which the following is a particular enumeration; I builded me houses;
among which must not be reckoned the house of God, though that was built by him, and in the first place; yet this was built, not for his own pleasure and grandeur, but for the worship and glory of God: but his own house and palace is chiefly meant, which was thirteen years in building; and the house of the forest in Lebanon, which perhaps was his country seat; with all other houses and offices, for his stores, for his servants, his horsemen, and chariots; see ( 1 Kings 7:1 1 Kings 7:2 ) ( 1 Kings 9:1 1 Kings 9:19 ) ; and in fine spacious buildings men take a great deal of pleasure, and promise themselves much happiness in dwelling in them, and in perpetuating their names to posterity by them; see ( Psalms 49:11 ) ( Job 21:21 ) . The Targum is,

``I multiplied good works in Jerusalem; I builded me houses; the house of the sanctuary, to make atonement for Israel; the king's house of refreshment, and the conclave and porch; and the house of judgment, of hewn stones, where the wise men sit and do judgment; I made a throne of ivory for the royal seat;''
I planted me vineyards;
perhaps those at Engedi were of his planting; however, he had one at Baalhamon, and no doubt in other places, ( Song of Solomon 1:14 ) ( 8:11 ) ; the Targum makes mention of one at Jabne, planted by him; these also add to the pleasure of human life; it is delightful to walk in them, to gather the fruit and drink of the wine of them; see ( Song of Solomon 7:12 ) .

F1 Sueton. Vit. Domitian. c. 3. Aurel. Victor. De. Caesar. & Epitome.

Ecclesiastes 2:4 In-Context

2 “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?”
3 I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.
4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards.
5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them.
6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees.

Cross References 2

  • 1. 1 Kings 7:1-12; 2 Chronicles 2:1; 2 Chronicles 8:1-6
  • 2. Song of Songs 8:11
Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.