Ecclesiastes 8:5

5 Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure.

Read Ecclesiastes 8:5 Using Other Translations

Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment.
Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way.
Those who obey him will not be punished. Those who are wise will find a time and a way to do what is right,

What does Ecclesiastes 8:5 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Ecclesiastes 8:5

Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing
Either the commandment of an earthly king, which should be kept, when agreeably to the laws of the nation, and not inconsistent with the commands of God; and such as do observe it "know no evil" F1, as it may be rendered, or no sorrow; they live peaceably and quietly, and enjoy the favour and protection of the government under which they are, and have praise of men; see ( Romans 13:3 ) ( 2 Timothy 2:2 ) ; or the commandments of the heavenly King, the singular being put for the plural; so the Targum,

``whoso keepeth the commandments of the Lord shall know no evil in the world to come.''
Nor in this world neither; no evil befalls them; what may be thought to be so is for their good; though they know and are conscious of the evil of sin, and commit it, yet not willingly, and with love to it, and so as to make it the work of their lives; but lament it, repent of it, and forsake it, and do not feel the evil of punishment for it; yea, such enjoy much good; have much communion with God; large discoveries of his love; dwell in him, and shall at last dwell with him in the heavenly city; see ( John 14:21 John 14:23 ) ( 1 John 3:22 1 John 3:24 ) ( Revelation 22:14 ) ; and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment;
he knows not only what is his duty to do, both with respect to God and men, to a temporal prince or the King eternal; but he knows also the most fit and convenient time of doing it; and lays hold on every opportunity that offers, and which may be called "redeeming time", ( Galatians 6:10 ) ( Ephesians 5:16 ) ; and he knows the right manner in which it should be performed, with all the agreeable circumstances of it, which he carefully observes; or he knows the judgment that will be passed, or the punishment that will be inflicted on delinquents, either by God or men; and therefore is careful to keep the commandment, and avoid it: and especially he remembers there is a judgment to come, when everything will be brought to an account; and, though he does not know the precise day and hour, yet he knows there will be such a time; so some render it, "the time of judgment" F2: the Targum is,
``and the time of prayer, and of judgment, and of truth, is known by the heart of the wise.''


F1 (edy al) "non cognoscet", Vatablus, Mercerus, Gejerus, Rambachius, Cocceius.
F2 (jpvmw tew) (kairon krisewv) , Sept. so some in Drusius.
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