Ecclesiastes 8:9

9 All this I saw, as I applied my mind to everything done under the sun. There is a time when a man lords it over others to his own[a] hurt.

Ecclesiastes 8:9 in Other Translations

KJV
9 All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: there is a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt.
ESV
9 All this I observed while applying my heart to all that is done under the sun, when man had power over man to his hurt.
NLT
9 I have thought deeply about all that goes on here under the sun, where people have the power to hurt each other.
MSG
9 All this I observed as I tried my best to understand all that's going on in this world. As long as men and women have the power to hurt each other, this is the way it is.
CSB
9 All this I have seen, applying my mind to all the work that is done under the sun, at a time when one man has authority over another to his harm.

Ecclesiastes 8:9 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 8:9

All this have I seen
Observed, taken notice of, and thoroughly considered; all that is said above, concerning the scarcity of good men and women, the fall of our first parents, the excellency of wisdom, the necessity and advantage of keeping the king's commandment, the time and manner of doing it, the evil consequences that follow an inattention to these things, ignorance of what is to come, and the unavoidableness of death; and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun;
not so much to mechanic works and manual operations performed by men, as to moral or immoral works, and chiefly the work of Providence with respect to good and bad men, the consequence of which were the following observations; [there is] a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt;
or "the man ruleth over men" F8; for this is not to be understood of private rule in families, of the parent over his children, or master over his servant, but of a king over his subjects; who is the man, the principal man in the kingdom; and such a man ruling in an arbitrary and tyrannical way is to his own detriment in the issue. So Rehoboam; by his oppressive government, lost ten tribes out of twelve. Some have lost their whole kingdoms, and come to an untimely end; as well as ruined their immortal souls. Some render it "to his hurt" F9; to the hurt of those that are ruled, when it should be for their good, the protection of their persons and properties; but instead of that they lay heavy burdens upon them, take away their property, and injure and insult their persons. So the Targum,

``to do ill to him.''
But Jarchi interprets it of the king himself. Some take it in both senses; and so it is usually in fact, that wicked princes rule to their own hurt, and the hurt of their subjects.
FOOTNOTES:

F8 (Mdah) "homo", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius
F9 (wl erl) "in ipsus perniciem", Tigurine version; "in noxam ipsi", Cocceius.

Ecclesiastes 8:9 In-Context

7 Since no one knows the future, who can tell someone else what is to come?
8 As no one has power over the wind to contain it, so no one has power over the time of their death. As no one is discharged in time of war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it.
9 All this I saw, as I applied my mind to everything done under the sun. There is a time when a man lords it over others to his own hurt.
10 Then too, I saw the wicked buried—those who used to come and go from the holy place and receive praise in the city where they did this. This too is meaningless.
11 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong.

Footnotes 1