Ecclesiastes 3:9-15

The God-Given Task

9 What 1gain has the worker from his toil?
10 I have seen 2the business that 3God has given to the children of man to be busy with.
11 He has 4made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot 5find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
12 I perceived that there is 6nothing better for them than to be joyful and to 7do good as long as they live;
13 also 8that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil--this is 9God's gift to man.
14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; 10nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.
15 That which is, 11already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God 12seeks what has been driven away.[a]

Images for Ecclesiastes 3:9-15

Ecclesiastes 3:9-15 Meaning and Commentary


The general design of this chapter is to confirm what is before observed, the vanity and inconstancy of all things; the frailty of man, and changes respecting him; his fruitless toil and labour in all his works; that it is best to be content with present things, and cheerful in them, and thankful for them; that all comes from the hand of God; that such good men, who have not at present that joy that others have, may have it, since there is a time for it; and that sinners should not please themselves with riches gathered by them, since they may be soon taken from them, for there is a time for everything, Ec 3:1; of which there is an induction of particulars, Ec 3:2-8; so that though every thing is certain with God, nothing is certain with men, nor to be depended on, nor can happiness be placed therein; there is no striving against the providence of God, nor altering the course of things; the labour of man is unprofitable, and his travail affliction and vexation, Ec 3:9,10; and though all God's works are beautiful in their season, they are unsearchable to man, Ec 3:11; wherefore it is best cheerfully to enjoy the present good things of life, Ec 3:12,13; and be content; for the will and ways and works of God are unalterable, permanent, and perfect, Ec 3:14,15; and though wicked men may abuse the power reposed in them, and pervert public justice, they will be called to an account for it in the general judgment, for which there is a time set, Ec 3:16,17; and yet, such is the stupidity of the generality of men, that they have no more sense of death and judgment than the brutes, and live and die like them, Ec 3:18-21; wherefore it is best of all to make a right use of power and riches, or what God has given to men, for their own good and that of others, since they know not what shall be after them, Ec 3:22.

Cross References 12

  • 1. See Ecclesiastes 1:3
  • 2. See Ecclesiastes 1:13
  • 3. See Genesis 3:17-19
  • 4. [Genesis 1:31]
  • 5. Ecclesiastes 8:17; [Job 5:9; Romans 11:33]
  • 6. [ver. 22]
  • 7. Psalms 34:14; Psalms 37:3
  • 8. See Ecclesiastes 2:24
  • 9. [Ecclesiastes 2:24; Ecclesiastes 5:19]
  • 10. [James 1:17]
  • 11. [Ecclesiastes 1:9]
  • 12. [Ecclesiastes 12:14]

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Hebrew what has been pursued
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.