Ecclesiastes 2:24

24 1There is nothing better for a person than that he should 2eat and drink and find enjoyment[a] in his toil. This also, I saw, is 3from the hand of God,

Ecclesiastes 2:24 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 2:24

[There is] nothing better for a man [than] that he should eat
and drink
Not in an immoderate and voluptuous manner, like the epicure and the atheist, that disbelieve a future state and the resurrection of the dead, and give up themselves to all sinful and sensual gratifications; but in a moderate way, enjoying in a cheerful and comfortable manner the good creatures of God, which he has given; being contented with them, thankful for them, and looking upon them as the blessings of divine goodness, and as flowing from the love of God to him; and thus freely using, and yet not abusing them. Some render it, "it is not good for a man to eat" F1 immoderately and to excess, and to place his happiness in it: or, "there is no good with man" F2; it is not in the power of man to use the creatures aright. Jarchi renders it by way of interrogation, "is it not good?" which comes to the same sense with ours, and so the Vulgate Latin version; and [that] he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour;
not leave off labouring; nor eat and drink what he has not laboured for, or what is the fruit of other men's labour; but what is the effect of his own, and in which he continues; and this is the way to go on in it with cheerfulness, when he enjoys the good, and reaps the benefit and advantage of it; which is certainly preferable to a laying up his substance, and leaving it to he knows not who. This also I saw, that it [was] from the hand of God;
not only the riches a man possesses, but the enjoyment of them, or a heart to make use of them; see ( Ecclesiastes 5:18 Ecclesiastes 5:19 ) . The Midrash interprets this eating and drinking, of the law and good works: and the Targum explains it, causing the soul to enjoy the good of doing the commandments, and walking in right ways; and observes, that a man that prospers in this world, it is from the hand of the Lord, and is what is decreed to be concerning him.


F1 (bwj Nya) "non est igitur bonum", Vatablus.
F2 "Non est bonum penes hominem", Junius & Tremellius, Gejerus, Gussetius.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 In-Context

22 What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun?
23 For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.
24 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God,
25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?
26 For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Cross References 3

  • 1. Ecclesiastes 3:12, 13, 22; Ecclesiastes 5:18; Ecclesiastes 8:15; [1 Timothy 6:17]
  • 2. [Ecclesiastes 9:7; Luke 12:19; 1 Corinthians 15:32]
  • 3. [Ecclesiastes 3:13; Ecclesiastes 5:19]

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or and make his soul see good
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.