Ecclesiastes 11:4-6

4 Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.
5 As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed[a] in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.
6 Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.

Ecclesiastes 11:4-6 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO ECCLESIASTES 11

This chapter begins with an exhortation to liberality to the poor, enforced by several reasons and arguments, and the objections to it removed; and the whole illustrated by various similes, Ec 11:1-6; and then it is observed, that a life attended with outward prosperity and inward peace, and spent in doing good, is very delightful, and very desirable it is to have it continued; yet it should be remembered this will not be always, that many days of darkness in the grave will come; and after all the whole of a man's life is vanity, as is often inculcated, Ec 11:7,8; and the chapter is closed with an ironic address to young men, designed to show them the folly and danger of sinful courses, to reform them from them, and to put them in mind of a future judgment, Ec 11:9,10.

Ecclesiastes 11:4-6 In-Context

2 Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.
3 If clouds are full of water, they pour rain on the earth. Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there it will lie.
4 Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.
5 As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.
6 Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.
7 Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.
8 However many years anyone may live, let them enjoy them all. But let them remember the days of darkness, for there will be many. Everything to come is meaningless.

Cross References 3

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or "know how life" (or "the spirit" ) / "enters the body being formed"
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