Ecclesiastes 3:12

12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.

Ecclesiastes 3:12 in Other Translations

KJV
12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.
ESV
12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;
NLT
12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.
MSG
12 I've decided that there's nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life.
CSB
12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and enjoy the good life.

Ecclesiastes 3:12 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 3:12

I know that [there is] no good in them
In these things; as the Arabic version; in the creatures, as Jarchi; in all sublunary enjoyments; in everything the wise man had made a trial of before, as natural Wisdom and knowledge, worldly pleasure, riches, and wealth; the "summun bonum", or happiness of men, did not lie in these things; this he knew by experience, and had the strongest assurance of it: or in them, that is, the children of men, as the Targum: there is no real good thing in them, nor comes out of them, nor is done by them; they cannot think a good thought, nor do a good action, of themselves. Or rather the sense is, I know there is nothing better for them than what follows: but for [a man] to rejoice;
not in sin and sinful pleasures, in a riotous, voluptuous, and epicurean manner; but to be cheerful, and enjoy the blessings of life in a comfortable way, and with a thankful heart; and especially to rejoice in spiritual things, and above all in Christ; and not in any self-boastings or carnal confidences, all such rejoicing is evil; see ( Ecclesiastes 9:7 ) ( Philippians 4:4 ) ( James 4:16 ) . The Targum is,

``but that they rejoice in the joy of the law;''
but it is much better to rejoice in the things of the Gospel, which is indeed a joyful sound; and to do good in his life:
to himself and family, by making use of the good things of life, and not withholding and hoarding them up; and to others, to all men, as opportunity offers, and especially to the household of faith; and not only by liberality and alms deeds, but by doing all good works, from right principles and to right ends, and that always, as long as he lives, ( Galatians 6:9 Galatians 6:10 ) ( Luke 1:75 ) .

Ecclesiastes 3:12 In-Context

10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.
13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.
14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.