Ecclesiastes 3:18

18 I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals.

Ecclesiastes 3:18 in Other Translations

King James Version (KJV)
18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
English Standard Version (ESV)
18 I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts.
New Living Translation (NLT)
18 I also thought about the human condition—how God proves to people that they are like animals.
The Message Bible (MSG)
18 I said to myself regarding the human race, "God's testing the lot of us, showing us up as nothing but animals."
American Standard Version (ASV)
18 I said in my heart, [It is] because of the sons of men, that God may prove them, and that they may see that they themselves are [but as] beasts.
GOD'S WORD Translation (GW)
18 I thought to myself, "God is going to test humans in order to show them that they are [like] animals."
Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
18 I said to myself, "This happens concerning people, so that God may test them and they may see for themselves that they are like animals."
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
18 I also thought, "God puts human beings to the test. Then they can see they are just like animals.

Ecclesiastes 3:18 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 3:18

I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of
He thought of the condition of the children of men, their sinful and polluted state; he weighed and considered in his mind their actions, conversation, and course of life; and was concerned how it would go with them at the day of judgment on account of the same. Some render it, "I said in mine heart after the speech of the children of men" F18; speaking in their language, and representing the atheist and the epicure, as some think the wise man does in the following verses; though he rather speaks his own real sentiments concerning men, as they are in their present state, and as they will appear in the day of judgment; that God might manifest them;
or "separate them" F19; as the chaff from the wheat, and as goats from the sheep; as will be done at the day of judgment, ( Matthew 3:10 ) ( Matthew 25:30 Matthew 25:33 ) ; or "that they might clear God" F20; as they will, when he shall judge and condemn them; and that they might see that they themselves are beasts;
as they are through the fall, and the corruption of nature, being born like the wild ass's colt, stupid, senseless, and without understanding of spiritual things; nay, more brutish than the beasts themselves, than the horse and the mule that have no understanding, ( Psalms 32:9 ) ; "mulo inscitior", as is Plautus's F21 phrase; see ( Psalms 49:12 Psalms 49:20 ) ( Job 11:12 ) ( Isaiah 1:3 ) ( Jeremiah 8:7 ) ; this is now made manifest to the people of God by the word and Spirit; is seen, known, and acknowledged by them, ( Psalms 73:21 ) ( Proverbs 30:2 ) ; and the wicked themselves will see, know, and own what beasts they are and have been, at the day of judgment; how they have lived and died like beasts; how like brute beasts they have corrupted themselves in things they knew naturally; and that as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, spoke evil of things they understood not, and perished in their own corruption, ( Jude 1:10 ) ( 2 Peter 2:12 ) ; and that they have been beasts to themselves, as Jarchi renders and interprets it; made beasts of themselves by their brutish gratifications; have been cruel to themselves, ruining and destroying their own souls; or among themselves, and to one another, "homo lupus homini"; hence wicked men are compared to lions, foxes, evening wolves, vipers, and the like. So Mr. Broughton renders it, "how they are beasts, they to themselves."


F18 (Mdah ynb trbd le) "super verbum filiorum Adam", Montanus; "verbis hominum", Arabic and Syriac versions.
F19 (Mrbl) (oti diakrinei autouv) "ut discernat illos", Cocceius; "quia delegit eos", some in Vatablus; so Aben Ezra and Ben Melech.
F20 "Ut ipsi expurgent Deum", Anglic. in Reinbeck; some in Rambachius render it thus, "ut seligant ipsi (homines) Deum"; so Varenius.
F21 Cisteilaria, Act. 4.

Ecclesiastes 3:18 In-Context

16 And I saw something else under the sun: In the place of judgment—wickedness was there, in the place of justice—wickedness was there.
17 I said to myself, “God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.”
18 I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals.
19 Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath ; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless.
20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.

Cross References 1

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