Ecclesiastes 3:19

19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 3:19 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 3:19

For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts,
&c.] Aben Ezra says this verse is according to the thoughts of the children of men that are not wise; but rather the wise man says what he does according to his own thoughts, and proceeds to prove the likeness and equality of men and beasts; even one thing befalleth them;
the same events belong to one as to another; the same diseases and disasters, calamities and distresses: Noah's flood carried away one as well as another; they both perished in it; several of the plagues of Egypt were inflicted on both; and both are beholden to God for their health, preservation, and safety; see ( Genesis 7:21 ) ( Exodus 8:18 ) ( Exodus 9:9 Exodus 9:25 ) ( Psalms 36:6 ) ; as the one dieth, so dieth the other;
the Targum compares a wicked man and an unclean beast together, in the former clause; and paraphrases this after this manner,

``as an unclean beast dies, so dies he who is not turned to repentance before his death:''
he dies unclean in his sins, stupid, senseless; no more thoughtful of his future state, and of what will become of his precious and immortal soul, than a beast that has none; see ( Psalms 49:14 ) ; perhaps unjust judges, persecuting tyrants, may particularly be regarded: who, though princes, shall not only die like men, but even like beasts, ( Psalms 82:7 ) ; yea, they have all one breath;
the same vital breath, or breath of life, which is in the nostrils of the one as of the other; they breathe and draw in the same air, and have the same animal and vegetative life, and equally liable to lose it, ( Genesis 2:7 ) ( 7:22 ) ; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast:
he has reason and speech, which a beast has not; which gives him a preference to them, did he make a right use of them; but, as an animal, he has no preeminence, being liable to the same accidents, and to death itself: the Targum excepts the house of the grave, man being usually buried when he dies, but a beast is not: yea, in some things a beast has the preeminence of a man; at least some have, in strength, agility, quickness of the senses for all [is] vanity;
all the gratifications of the senses; all riches, honours, pleasures, power, and authority, especially when abused.

Ecclesiastes 3:19 In-Context

17 I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.
18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?