Ecclesiastes 4:6

6 Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.

Read Ecclesiastes 4:6 Using Other Translations

Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.
Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.
And yet, “Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.”

What does Ecclesiastes 4:6 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Ecclesiastes 4:6

Better [is] a handful [with] quietness
These are the words of the fool, according to Aben Ezra; and which is the sense of other interpreters, particularly Mr. Broughton, who connects this verse with ( Ecclesiastes 4:5 ) by adding at the end of that the word "saying"; making an excuse or an apology for himself and conduct, from the use and profitableness of his sloth; that little had with ease, and without toil and labour, is much better than both the hands full [with] travail and vexation of spirit;
than large possessions gotten with a great deal of trouble, and enjoyed with much vexation and uneasiness; in which he mistakes slothful ease for true quietness; calls honest labour and industry travail and vexation; and supposes that true contentment lies in the enjoyment of little, and cannot be had where there is much; whereas it is to be found in a good man in every state: or else these words express the true sentiments of Solomon's mind, steering between the two extremes of slothfulness, and too toilsome labour to be rich; that it is much more eligible to have a competency, though it is but small, with a good conscience, with tranquillity of mind, with the love and fear of God, and a contented heart, than to have a large estate, with great trouble and fatigue in getting and keeping it, especially with discontent and uneasiness; and this agrees with what the wise man says elsewhere, ( Proverbs 15:16 Proverbs 15:17 ) ( 17:1 ) . The Targum is,

``better to a man is a handful of food with quietness of soul, and without robbery and rapine, than two handfuls of food with robbery and rapine;''
or with what is gotten in an ill way.
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