Ecclesiastes 8:17

17 then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.

Read Ecclesiastes 8:17 Using Other Translations

Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.
then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.
I realized that no one can discover everything God is doing under the sun. Not even the wisest people discover everything, no matter what they claim.

What does Ecclesiastes 8:17 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Ecclesiastes 8:17

Then I beheld all the work of God
Not of creation, but of Providence; took notice of it, contemplated on it, considered it, and weighed it well; viewed the various steps and methods of it, to find out, if possible, at least, some general rule by which it proceeded: but all so various and uncertain, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun:
he can find out that it is done, but not the reason why it is done: the ways of God are in the deep, and not to be traced; they are unsearchable and past finding out; there is a (bayov) , a depth of wisdom and knowledge, in them, inscrutable by the wisest of men, ( Psalms 72:19 ) ( Romans 11:33 ) ; because, though a man labour to seek [it] out, yet he shall not find
[it];
Noldius and others render it "although"; not only a man that, in a slight and negligent manner, seeks after the knowledge of the works of divine Providence, and the reasons of them; but even one that is diligent and laborious at it is not able to find them out; they being purposely concealed by the Lord, to answer some ends of his; yea, further, though a wise [man] think to know [it], yet shall he not
be able to find [it];
a man of a great natural capacity, such an one as Solomon himself, though he proposes to himself, and determines within himself to find it out, and sets himself to the work, and uses all the means and methods he can devise, and imagines with himself he shall be able to find out the reasons of the divine procedure, in his dispensations towards the righteous and the wicked; and yet, after all, he is not able to do it. The Targum is,

``what shall be done in the end of days;''
wherefore it is best for a man to be easy and quiet, and enjoy what he has in the best manner he can, and submit to the will of God.
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