Ecclesiastes 1:16

16 I said to myself, "I know more and I'm wiser than anyone before me in Jerusalem. I've stockpiled wisdom and knowledge."

Ecclesiastes 1:16 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 1:16

I communed with my own heart
That is, looked into it, examined it, and considered what a stock and fund of knowledge he had in it, after all his researches into it; what happiness accrued to him by it, and what judgment upon the whole was to be formed upon it; and he spoke within himself after this manner: saying, lo, I am come to great estate;
or become a great man; famous for wisdom, arrived to a very great pitch of it; greatly increased in it, through a diligent application to it; and have gotten more wisdom than all [they] that have been before me
in Jerusalem;
or, "that before me were over Jerusalem" F16; governors of it, or in it; not only than the Jebusites, but than Saul, the first king of Israel, or than even his father David; or, as Gussetius F17, than any princes, rulers, and civil magistrates in Jerusalem, in his own days or in the days of his father; and also than all the priests and prophets, as well as princes, that ever had been there: and indeed he was wiser than all men, ( 1 Kings 4:30-32 ) ; and even than any that had been in Jerusalem, or any where else, or that should be hereafter, excepting the Messiah; see ( 1 Kings 3:12 ) ( 10:27 ) ( Matthew 12:42 ) . And seeing this is said of him by others, and even by the Lord himself, it might not only be said with truth by himself, but without ostentation; seeing it was necessary it should be said to answer his purpose, which was to show the vanity of human wisdom in its highest pitch; and it was nowhere to be found higher than in himself; yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge;
or, "saw much wisdom and knowledge" F18; he thoroughly understood it, he was a complete master of it; it was not a superficial knowledge he had attained unto, or a few lessons of it he had committed to memory; some slight notions in his head, or scraps of things he had collected together, in an undigested manner; but he had made himself thoroughly acquainted with everything worthy to be known, and had digested it in his mind.


F16 (Mlvwry le) "super Jerusalaim", Montanus, Cocceius, Schmidt; "qui praefueriut ante me Jeruscthalamis", Junius & Tremellius.
F17 Comment. Heb. p. 604.
F18 (tedw hmkx hbrh har) "vidit multum sapientiae et scientiae", Montanus, Amama; "vidit plurimam sapientiam et scientiam", Tigurine version.

Ecclesiastes 1:16 In-Context

14 I've seen it all and it's nothing but smoke - smoke, and spitting into the wind.
15 Life's a corkscrew that can't be straightened, A minus that won't add up.
16 I said to myself, "I know more and I'm wiser than anyone before me in Jerusalem. I've stockpiled wisdom and knowledge."
17 What I've finally concluded is that so-called wisdom and knowledge are mindless and witless - nothing but spitting into the wind.
18 Much learning earns you much trouble. The more you know, the more you hurt.