Ecclesiastes 3:12

12 I perceived that there is 1nothing better for them than to be joyful and to 2do good as long as they live;

Ecclesiastes 3:12 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 3:12

I know that [there is] no good in them
In these things; as the Arabic version; in the creatures, as Jarchi; in all sublunary enjoyments; in everything the wise man had made a trial of before, as natural Wisdom and knowledge, worldly pleasure, riches, and wealth; the "summun bonum", or happiness of men, did not lie in these things; this he knew by experience, and had the strongest assurance of it: or in them, that is, the children of men, as the Targum: there is no real good thing in them, nor comes out of them, nor is done by them; they cannot think a good thought, nor do a good action, of themselves. Or rather the sense is, I know there is nothing better for them than what follows: but for [a man] to rejoice;
not in sin and sinful pleasures, in a riotous, voluptuous, and epicurean manner; but to be cheerful, and enjoy the blessings of life in a comfortable way, and with a thankful heart; and especially to rejoice in spiritual things, and above all in Christ; and not in any self-boastings or carnal confidences, all such rejoicing is evil; see ( Ecclesiastes 9:7 ) ( Philippians 4:4 ) ( James 4:16 ) . The Targum is,

``but that they rejoice in the joy of the law;''
but it is much better to rejoice in the things of the Gospel, which is indeed a joyful sound; and to do good in his life:
to himself and family, by making use of the good things of life, and not withholding and hoarding them up; and to others, to all men, as opportunity offers, and especially to the household of faith; and not only by liberality and alms deeds, but by doing all good works, from right principles and to right ends, and that always, as long as he lives, ( Galatians 6:9 Galatians 6:10 ) ( Luke 1:75 ) .

Ecclesiastes 3:12 In-Context

10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with.
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;
13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil--this is God's gift to man.
14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.

Cross References 2

  • 1. [ver. 22]
  • 2. Psalms 34:14; Psalms 37:3