ECCLESIASTES, OR THE PREACHER.



Introductory matter



THE ARGVMENT.

Salomon, as a Preacher & one that desired to instruct all in the way of saluatio, describeth the deceiueable vanities of this worlde, that man shoulde not be addicted to any thing vnder the sunne, but rather inflamed with the desire of the heauenly life: therefore he confuteth their opinions, which set their felicitie, either in knowledge, or in pleasures, or in dignitie and richesse, shewing that mans true felicitie consisteth in that that he is vnited with God, and shall enioye his presence: so that all other things must be reiected, saue in as much as they further vs to atteine to this heauenly treasure, which is sure and permanent, and cannot be founde in any other saue in God alone.




CHAP. I.


2 All things in this worlde are full of vanitie, and of none endurance. 13 All mans wisdome is but follie and griefe.

1 The wordes of the [Note: [a] Salomon is here called a Preacher, or one that assembleth the people, because hee teacheth the true knowledge of God, and how men ought to passe their life in this transitorie worlde. ] Preacher, the sonne of Dauid King in Ierusalem.

2 [Note: [b] He condemneth the opinions of all men that set felicitie in any thing, but in God alone, seeing that in this worlde all things are as vanitie and nothing. ] Vanitie of vanities, sayth the Preacher: vanitie of vanities, all is vanitie.

3 What remaineth vnto man in all his [Note: [c] Salomon doeth not condemne mans labour or diligence, but sheweth that there is no full contentation in any thing vnder the heauen, nor in any creature, forasmuch as all things are transitorie. ] trauaile, which he suffereth vnder ye sunne?

4 One generation passeth, and another generation succeedeth: but the earth remaineth for [Note: [d] One man dieth after another, and the earth remaineth longest, euen to the last day, which yet is subiect to corruption. ] euer.

5 The sunne riseth, and ye sunne goeth downe, and draweth to his place, where he riseth.

6 The [Note: [e] By the sunne, winde and riuers he sheweth that the greatest labour and longest hath an ende, and therefore there can be no felicitie in this worlde. ] winde goeth toward the South, and compasseth towarde the North: the winde goeth rounde about, and returneth by his circuites.

7 [Note: Ecclus.40.11. ] All the riuers goe into the sea, yet the sea is not full: for the riuers goe vnto ye place, [Note: [f] The sea which compasseth all the earth, filleth the veines thereof, the which powre out springs and riuers into the sea againe. ] whence they returne, and goe.

8 All things are full of labour: man cannot vtter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the eare filled with hearing.

9 [Note: [g] He speaketh of times and seasons, and things done in them, which as they haue bene in times past, so come they to passe againe. ] What is it that hath bene? that that shalbe: and what is it that hath bene done? that which shalbe done: and there is no newe thing vnder the sunne.

10 Is there any thing, whereof one may say, Beholde this, it is newe? it hath bene already in the olde time that was before vs.

11 There is no memorie of the former, neither shall there be a remembrance of the latter that shalbe, with them that shall come after.

12 [Note: [h] He proueth that if any coulde haue attained to felicitie in this world by labour and studie, hee chiefely should haue obteined it, because he had giftes and aides of God thereunto aboue all other. ] I the Preacher haue bene King ouer Israel in Ierusalem:

13 And I haue giuen mine heart to search and finde out wisdome by all things that are done vnder the heauen: (this sore trauaile hath GOD giuen to the sonnes of men, [Note: [i] Man of nature hath a desire to knowe, and yet is not able to come to the perfection of knowledge, which is the punishment of sinne, to humble man, and to teache him to depend onely vpon God. ] to humble them thereby)

14 I haue considered all the workes that are done vnder the sunne, and beholde, all is vanitie, and vexation of the spirit.

15 That which is [Note: [k] Man is not able by all dis diligence to cause things to go otherwise then they doe: neither can he nomber the faultes that are committed, much lesse remedie the. ] crooked, can none make straight: and yt which faileth, cannot be nombred.

16 I thought in mine heart, and said, Behold, I am become great, and excell in wisdome all them that haue bene before me in Ierusalem: and mine heart hath seene much wisedome and knowledge.

17 And I gaue mine heart to knowe wisdome and knowledge, [Note: [l] That is, vaine things, which serued vnto pleasure, wherein was no commoditie, but griefe and trouble of conscience. ] madnes and foolishnes: I knew also that this is a vexation of the spirit.

18 For in the multitude of wisedome is much [Note: [m] Wisdome and knowledge cannot be come by without great paine of body and minde: for when a man hath attained to the highest, yet is his mind neuer fully content: therefore in this worlde is no true felicitie. ] griefe: and he that increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorowe.


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[Who knoweth his heire?]





CHAP. II.


Pleasures, sumptuous buildings, richesse and possessions are but vanitie. 14 The wise and the foole haue both one ende touching the bodily death.

1 I said in mine heart, Goe to nowe, I will proue [Note: [a] Salomon maketh this discourse with himselfe, as though he woulde trye whether there were contentation in ease and pleasures. ] thee with ioy: therefore take thou pleasure in pleasant things: and beholde, this also is vanitie.

2 I saide of laughter, Thou art mad: and of ioy, What is this that thou doest?

3 I sought in mine heart [Note: Ebr. drawe my flesh to wine. ] to giue my selfe to wine, and to leade mine heart in [Note: [b] Albeit I gaue my selfe to pleasures, yet I thought to keepe wisdome and the feare of God in mine heart, and gouerne mine affaires by the same. ] wisdome, and to take holde of follie, till I might see where is that goodnesse of the children of men, which they [Note: Ebr. doe. ] enioy vnder the sunne: the whole nomber of the dayes of their life.

4 I haue made my great workes: I haue built me houses: I haue planted me vineyards.

5 I haue made me gardens and [Note: Ebr. paradises. ] orchards, and planted in them trees of all fruite.

6 I haue made me cisternes of water, to water therewith the woods that growe with trees.

7 I haue gotten seruants and maides, and had children borne in the [Note: [c] Meaning, of the seruants or slaues, which hee had bought: so the children borne in their seruitude, were the masters. ] house: also I had great possession of beeues and sheepe aboue all that were before me in Ierusalem.

8 I haue gathered vnto me also siluer and gold, and the chiefe treasures of Kings & prouinces: I haue prouided me men singers and women singers, and the [Note: [d] That is, whatsoeuer men take pleasure in. ] delites of the sonnes of men, as a woman [Note: [e] Which were the most beautiful of them that were taken in warre, as Iudges 5.30. Some vnderstad by these wordes, no women but instruments of musicke. ] taken captiue, & women taken captiues.

9 And I was great, & increased aboue all that were before me in Ierusalem: also my wisedome [Note: [f] For all this God did not take his gift of wisdome from me. ] remained with me.

10 And whatsoeuer mine eyes desired, I withheld it not from them: I withdrew not mine heart from any ioy: for mine heart reioyced in al my labour: & this was my [Note: [g] This was the fruite of all my labour, a certaine pleasure mixt with care, which he calleth vanitie in the next verse. ] portion of all my trauaile.

11 Then I looked on all my workes that mine hands had wrought, and on the trauaile that I had laboured to doe: and beholde, all is vanitie and vexation of the spirit: and there is no profite vnder the sunne.

12 And I turned to beholde [Note: [h] I bethought wt my selfe whether it were better to followe wisdome, or mine owne affections and pleasures, which hee calleth madnes. ] wisedome, and madnes and follie: (for who is the man that [Note: Or, compare with the King. ] will come after the King in things, which men nowe haue done?)

13 Then I saw that there is profite in wisdome, more then in follie: as the light is more excellent then darkenes.

14 [Note: Prouerb.17.24. ] For the wise mans [Note: [i] Hee foreseeth things, which the foole cannot for lacke of wisdome. ] eyes are in his head, but the foole walketh in darknes: yet I know also that the same [Note: [k] For both die and are forgotten, as verse 16, or they both alike haue prosperitie or aduersitie. ] condition falleth to them all.

15 Then I thought in mine heart, It befalleth vnto me, as it befalleth to ye foole. Why therefore doe I then labour to be more wise? And I sayd in mine heart, that this also is vanitie.

16 For there shalbe no remembrance of the wise, nor of the foole [Note: [l] Meaning, in this world. ] for euer: for that that now is, in the dayes to come shall all be forgotten. And [Note: [m] He wondereth that men forget a wise man, being dead, assoone as they doe a foole. ] howe dyeth the wise man, as doeth the foole?

17 Therefore I hated life: for the worke that is wrought vnder the sunne is grieuous vnto me: for all is vanitie, and vexation of the spirit.

18 I hated also all my labour, wherein I had trauailed vnder the sunne, which I shall leaue to the man that shalbe after me.

19 And who knoweth whether he shalbe wise or foolish? yet shall hee haue rule ouer all my labour, wherein I haue trauailed, and wherein I haue shewed my selfe wise vnder the sunne. This

[Time for all things.]



is also vanitie.

20 Therefore I went about to make mine heart [Note: [n] That I might seeke the true felicitie which is in God. ] abhorre all the labour, wherein I had trauailed vnder the sunne.

21 For there is a man whose trauaile is in wisdome, and in knowledge and in equitie: yet to a man that hath not trauailed herein, shal he [Note: [o] Among other griefes this was not the least, to leaue that which he had gotten by great trauaile, to one that had taken no paine therefore, and whome he knew not whether he were a wise man or a foole. ] giue his portion: this also is vanitie and a great griefe.

22 For what hath man of all his trauaile and griefe of his heart, wherein he hath trauailed vnder the sunne?

23 For all his dayes are sorowes, and his trauaile griefe: his heart also taketh not rest in the night: which also is vanitie.

24 There is no profit to man: but yt he eate, and drinke, & [Note: [p] When man hath all laboured, hee can get no more then foode, and refreshing, yet hee confesseth also that this commeth of Gods blessing, as Chap.3.13. ] delight his soule with the profit of his labour: I saw also this, yt it was of the hand of God.

25 For who could eate, and who could haste to [Note: [q] Meaning, to pleasures. ] outward things more then I?

26 Surely to a man that is good in his sight, God giueth wisdome, and knowledge, and ioy: but to the sinner he giueth paine, to gather, and to heape to giue to him that is good before God: this is also vanitie, and vexation of the spirit.


CHAP. III.


1 All things haue their time. 14 The workes of God are perfite, and cause vs to feare him. 17 God shall iudge both the iust, and vniust.

1 To all things there is an [Note: [a] He speaketh of this diuersitie of time for two causes, first to declare that there is nothing in this world perpetual: next, to teach vs not to be grieued, if we haue not all things at once according to our desires, neither enioye them so long as we would wish. ] appointed time, and a time to euery purpose vnder the heauen.

2 A time to bee borne, and a time to die: a time to plant, and a time to plucke vp that which is planted.

3 A time to slay, and a time to heale: a time to breake downe, and a time to builde.

4 A time to weepe, and a time to laugh: a time to mourne, and a time to dance.

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones: a time to embrace, and a time to be farre from embracing.

6 A time to seeke, and a time to lose: a time to keepe, and a time to cast away.

7 A time to rent, and a time to sowe: a time to keepe silence, and a time to speake.

8 A time to loue, and a time to hate: a time of warre, and a time of peace.

9 What profite hath hee that worketh of the thing wherein he trauaileth?

10 I haue seene the trauaile that God hath giuen to ye sonnes of men [Note: [b] Reade Chap. 1.13. ] to humble them thereby.

11 He hath made euery thing beautifull in his time: also he hath set the [Note: [c] God hath giuen man a desire, and affection to seeke out the things of this worlde, and to labour therein. ] worlde in their heart, yet can not man finde out the worke that God hath wrought fro the beginning euen to the end.

12 I know that there is nothing good in them, but to reioyce, and to doe good in his life.

13 And also that euery man eateth and drinketh, and seeth the commoditie of all his labour. this is the [Note: [d] Reade Chap.2. 24. and these places declare that we should do al things with sobrietie, and in the feare of God, forasmuch as he giueth not his gifts to the intent that they should be abused. ] gift of God.

14 I knowe that whatsoeuer God shall doe, it shalbe for [Note: [e] That is, man shal neuer be able to let Gods worke, but as he hath determined, so it shall come to passe. ] euer: to it can no man adde, and from it can none diminish: for God hath done it, that they should feare before him.

15 What is that that hath bene? that is nowe: and that that shalbe, hath now bene: for God [Note: [f] God onely causeth that, which is past, to returne. ] requireth that which is past.

16 And moreouer I haue seene vnder the sunne the place of iudgement, where was wickednesse, and the place of iustice where was iniquitie.

17 I thought in mine heart, God wil iudge the [Page]

[Of man and beast.]



iust and the wicked: for time is [Note: [g] Meaning, wt God, howsoeuer man neglect his duetie. ] there for euery purpose and for euery worke.

18 I considered in mine heart the state of the children of men that God had [Note: [h] And made them pure in their first creation. ] purged them: yet to see to, they are in themselues as beastes.

19 For the condition of the children of men, and the condition of beasts are euen as one [Note: [i] Man is not able by his reason, and iudgement to put difference betweene man and beast, as touching those things wherunto both are subiect: for the eye cannot iudge any otherwise of a man being dead, then of a beast, which is dead: yet by the worde of God and faith wee easily knowe the diuersitie, as verse 21. ] condition vnto them. As the one dyeth, so dyeth the other: for they haue all one breath, and there is no excellency of man aboue ye beast: for all is vanitie.

20 All goe to one place, & all was of the dust, and all shall returne to the dust.

21 Who [Note: [k] Meaning, that reason cannot comprehend that which faith beleeueth herein. ] knoweth whether the spirit of man ascend vpward, and the spirit of the beast descend downeward to the earth?

22 Therefore I see that there is nothing better then that a man shoulde [Note: [l] By the often repetition of this sentence, as Chap.2 24. and Chap 3.12,22. Chap. 5.17. and Chap.8.15. he declareth that man by reason can comprehende nothing better in this life then to vse the giftes of God soberly and comfortably: for to knowe farther is a speciall gift of God reueiled by his Spirit. ] reioyce in his affaires, because that is his portion. For who shal bring him to see what shalbe after him?


CHAP. IIII.


2 The innocents are oppressed. 4 Mens labours are full of abuse and vanitie. 9 Mans societie is necessarie. 13 A yong man poore, and wise, is to be preferred to an olde King that is a foole.

1 So [Note: [a] He maketh here another discourse with himselfe concerning the tyrannie of them that oppressed the poore. ] I turned and considered all the oppressions that are wrought vnder the sunne, and beholde the teares of the oppressed, and none comforteth them: and lo, the strength is of the hand of them yt oppresse them, & none comforteth them.

2 Wherefore I praysed the [Note: [b] Because they are no more subiect to these oppressions. ] dead which now are dead, aboue the liuing, which are yet aliue.

3 And I count him [Note: [c] He speaketh according to the iudgement of the flesh, which cannot abide to feele, or see troubles. ] better then them both, which hath not yet bin: for he hath not seene the euill workes which are wrought vnder the sunne.

4 Also I beheld all trauaile, & all [Note: [d] The more perfite that the worke is, the more is it enuied of the wicked. ] perfection of workes yt this is ye enuie of a man against his neighbour: this also is vanitie & vexation of spirit.

5 The foole foldeth his hands, and [Note: [e] For idlenes he is compelled to destroy himselfe. ] eateth vp his owne flesh.

6 Better is an handfull with quietnesse, then two handfuls with labour and vexation of spirit.

7 Againe I returned, and sawe vanitie vnder the sunne.

8 There is one alone, & there is not a second, which hath neither sonne nor brother, yet is there none end of all his trauaile, neither can his eye be satisfied with riches: neither doeth he thinke, For whome doe I trauaile and defraude my soule of pleasure? this also is vanitie, and this is an euill trauaile.

9 [Note: [f] Forasmuch as when man is alone, hee can neither helpe himselfe nor others, hee sheweth that men ought to liue in mutuall societie, to the intent they may be profitable one to another, and that their things may increase. ] Two are better then one: for they haue better wages for their labour.

10 For if they fal, the one wil lift vp his felow: but wo vnto him that is alone: for he falleth, and there is not a second to lift him vp.

11 Also if two sleepe together, then shall they haue heate: but to one how should there be heate?

12 And if one ouercome him, two shall stand against him: and a threefolde [Note: [g] By this prouerbe he declareth howe necessarie it is, that men should liue in societie. ] coard is not easily broken.

13 Better is a poore and wise childe, then an olde and foolish King, which will no more be admonished.

14 For out of the [Note: [h] That is, from a poore, and base estate, or out of trouble, and prison, as Ioseph did, Gen. 41.14. ] prison he commeth forth to reigne: when as he that is [Note: [i] Meaning, that is borne a King. ] borne in his kingdome, is made poore.

[Be not rash in speache.]




15 I behelde all the liuing, which walke vnder the sunne, [Note: [k] Which folowe & flatter the kings sonne, or him that shal succeede to enter into credite with them in hope of gaine. ] with the second childe, which shall stand vp in his place.

16 There is none [Note: [l] They neuer cease by al meanes to creepe into fauour: but when they obteine not their griedy desires, they thinke themselues abused, as other haue bene in time past, and so care no more for him. ] ende of all the people, nor of all that were before them, and they that come after, shall not reioyce in him: surely this is also vanitie and vexation of spirit.

17 Take heede to thy [Note: [m] That is, with what affection thou commest to heare the woorde of God. ] foote when thou entrest into the House of God, and be more neere to heare then to giue the sacrifice of [Note: [n] Meaning, of the wicked, which thinke to please God with ceremonies, and haue neither fayth nor repentance. ] fooles: for they knowe not that they doe euil.


CHAP. V.


1 Not to speake lightly, chiefly in Gods matters. 9 The couetous can neuer haue ynough. 11 The labourers sleepe is sweete. 14 Man when he dyeth, taketh nothing with him. 18 To liue ioyfully, and with a contented minde, is the gift of God.

1 Be not [Note: [a] Either in vowing or in praying: meaning, that we should vse all reuerence to Godward. ] rash with thy mouth, nor let thine heart be hastie to vtter a thing before God: for God is in the heauens, and thou art on the earth: therefore let thy wordes be [Note: [b] He heareth thee not for thy many wordes sake, or often repetitions, but considereth thy faith, and feruent minde. ] fewe.

2 For as a dreame commeth by the multitude of businesse: so the voyce of a foole is in the multitude of wordes.

3 [Note: Deut.23.21 ] When thou hast vowed a vowe to God, deferre not to pay it: for he deliteth not in fooles: pay therefore that thou hast [Note: [c] He speaketh of vowes, which are approued by Gods word and serue to his glorie. ] vowed.

4 It is better that thou shouldest not vowe, then that thou shouldest vow and not pay it.

5 Suffer not thy mouth to make thy [Note: [d] Cause not thy selfe to sinne by vowing rashly: as they doe which make a vowe to liue vnmarried, and such like. ] flesh to sinne: neither say before the [Note: [e] That is, before Gods messenger, when he shall examine thy doing: as though thy ignorance should be a iust excuse. ] Angel, that this is ignorance: wherefore shall God bee angry by thy voyce, and destroy the worke of thine hands?

6 For in the multitude of dreames, and vanities are also many wordes: but feare thou God.

7 If in a countrey thou seest the oppression of the poore, and the defrauding of iudgement and iustice, be not astonied at the matter: for hee that is [Note: [f] Meaning, that God will redresse these things, and therefore we must depend vpon him. ] higher then the highest, regardeth, and there be higher then they.

8 And the [Note: [g] The reuenues of the earth are to be preferred aboue all things which apperteine to this life. ] abundance of the earth is ouer all: the King [Note: [h] Kings and Princes cannot mainteine their estate without tillage, which thing commendeth the excellencie of tillage. ] also consisteth by the fielde that is tilled.

9 He that loueth siluer, shall not be satisfied with siluer, and he that loueth riches, shalbe without the fruite thereof: this also is vanitie.

10 When goods increase, they are increased that eate them: and what good commeth to the owners thereof, but the beholding thereof with their eyes?

11 The sleepe of him that traueileth, is sweete, whether he eate litle or much: but the [Note: [i] That is, his great abundance of riches, or the surfeiting, which commeth by his great feeding. ] sacietie of the riche will not suffer him to sleepe.

12 There is an euill sickenes that I haue seene vnder the sunne: to wit, riches [Note: [k] When couetous men heape vp riches, which turne to their destructio. ] reserued to the owners thereof for their euill.

13 And these riches perish by euill trauel, and he begetteth a sonne, and in his [Note: [l] Hee doeth not enioye his fathers riches. ] hand is nothing.

14 [Note: Iob 1.21. wisdome 7.6. 1.timoth.6.7. ] As hee came foorth of his mothers belly, he shall returne naked to goe as he came, and shal beare away nothing of his labour, which hee hath caused to passe by his hand.

15 And this also is an euill sickenes that in all pointes as he came, so shall he goe, and what profit hath he that he hath traueiled for the [Note: [m] Meaning, in vaine, and without profit. ] winde?

16 Also all his dayes hee eateth in [Note: [n] In affliction, and griefe of minde. ] darkenes

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[Howe riches are miserable.]



with much griefe, and in his sorowe and anger.
17 Beholde then, what I haue seene good, that it is comely to [Note: [o] Reade Chap. 3.22. ] eate, and to drinke, and to take pleasure in all his labour, wherein he traueileth vnder the sunne, the whole nomber of the dayes of his life, which God giueth him: for this is his portion.

18 Also to euery man to whom God hath giuen riches and treasures, and giueth him power to eate thereof, and to take his part, and to enioy his labour: this is the gift of God.

19 Surely hee will not much remember the dayes of his [Note: [p] He will take no great thought for the paines that he hath indured in time past. ] life, because God answereth to the ioy of his heart.



CHAP. VI.


The miserable estate of him to whom God hath giuen riches, and not the grace to vse them.

1 There is an euill, which I sawe vnder the sunne, and it is much among men:

2 A man to whom God hath giuen riches and treasures and honour, and he wanteth nothing for his soule of all that it desireth: but [Note: [a] He sheweth that it is the plague of God when the riche man hath not a liberall heart to vse his riches. ] God giueth him not power to eate thereof, but a strange man shall eate it vp: this is vanitie, and this is an euill sicknesse.

3 If a man beget an hundreth children and liue many yeeres, and the dayes of his yeeres be multiplied, & his soule be not [Note: [b] If he can neuer haue ynough ] satisfied with good things, and he be not [Note: [c] As we see often times, that the couetous man either falleth into crimes that deserue death, or is murthered or drowned or hangeth himselfe or such like, and so lacketh the honor of buriall, which is the last office of humanitie. ] buried, I say that an vntimely fruite is better then he.

4 For [Note: [d] Meaning, the vntimely fruite whose life did neither profite or hurt any. ] he commeth into vanitie and goeth into darkenesse: and his name shall be couered with darkenesse.

5 Also he hath not seene ye sunne, nor knowen it: therefore this hath more rest then the other.

6 And if he had liued a thousand yeeres twise tolde, and had seene no good, shall not all goe to one place?

7 All the labour of man is for his mouth: yet the [Note: [e] His desire and affection. ] soule is not filled.

8 For what hath the wise man more then the foole? what hath the poore that [Note: [f] That knoweth to vse his goods well in the iudgement of men. ] knoweth how to walke before the liuing?

9 The [Note: [g] To be content with that which God hath giuen, is better then to followe the desires that neuer can be satisfied. ] sight of ye eye is better then to walke in ye lustes: this also is vanitie, & vexation of spirit.

10 What is that that hath bene? the name thereof is nowe named: and it is knowen that it is man: and he cannot striue with him that is [Note: [h] Meaning, God who will make him to feele that he is mortall. ] stronger then he.


CHAP. VII.


Diuers precepts to followe that which is good, and to auoyde the contrary.

1 Svrely there be many things that increase vanitie: and what auaileth it man?

2 For who knoweth what is [Note: [a] There is no state, wherein man can liue to haue perfite quietnesse in this life. ] good for man in the life and in the nomber of the dayes of the life of his vanitie, seeing he maketh them as a [Note: Iob 14.2. psal.144 4. ] shadowe? For who can shewe vnto man what shall be after him vnder the sunne?

3 [Note: Prou.22 1. ] A good name is better then a good oyntment, and the day of [Note: [b] He speaketh thus after the iudgement of the flesh, which thinketh death to be the ende of all euils: or else, because that this corporall death is the entring into life euerlasting. ] death, then the day that one is borne.

4 It is better to goe to the house of [Note: [c] Where we may see the hand of God, and learne to examine our liues. ] mourning, then to goe to the house of feasting, because this is the ende of all men: and the liuing shall lay it to his heart.

5 Anger is better then laughter: for by a sad looke the heart is made better.

6 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning: but the heart of fooles is in the house of mirth.

[No man is iust.]




7 Better it is to heare ye rebuke of a wise man, then that a man should heare the song of fooles.

8 For like ye noyse of the [Note: [d] Which crakle for a while and profite nothing. ] thornes vnder the pot, so is the laughter of the foole: this also is vanitie.

9 Surely oppression maketh a wise man [Note: [e] A man that is esteemed wise, when he falleth to oppression, becommeth like a beast. ] mad: and the rewarde destroyeth the heart.

10 The [Note: [f] He noteth their lightnes which enterprise a thing, and suddenly leaue it off againe. ] ende of a thing is better then the beginning thereof, and the pacient in spirit is better then the proude in spirit.

11 Be not thou of an hastie spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosome of fooles.

12 Say not thou, Why is it that the former dayes were better then these? for thou doest not enquire [Note: [g] Murmure not against God when he sendeth aduersities for mans sinnes. ] wisely of this thing.

13 Wisedome is good with an [Note: [h] He answereth to them that esteeme not wisedome, except riches be ioyned therewith, shewing that both are the giftes of God, but that wisedome is farre more excellent, and may be without riches. ] inheritance, and excellent to them that see the sunne.

14 For man shall rest in the shadowe of wisedome, and in the shadowe of siluer: but the excellencie of the knowledge of wisedome giueth life to the possessers thereof.

15 Beholde the worke of God: for who can make [Note: Chap.1.15. ] straight that which he hath made crooked?

16 In the day of wealth be of good comfort, and in the day of affliction [Note: [i] Consider wherefore God doeth send it, and what may comfort thee. ] consider: God also hath made this contrary to that, to the intent that man shoulde finde [Note: [k] That man should be able to cotrole nothing in his workes. ] nothing after him.

17 I haue seene all things in the dayes of my vanitie: there is a iust man that perisheth in his [Note: [l] Meaning, that cruell tyrants put the godly to death and let the wicked goe free. ] iustice, and there is a wicked man that continueth long in his malice.

18 Be not thou iust [Note: [m] Boast not too much of thine owne iustice and wisedome. ] ouermuch, neither make thy selfe ouerwise: wherefore shouldest thou be desolate?

19 Be not thou wicked [Note: [n] Tarie not long when thou art admonished to come out of the way of wickednesse. ] ouermuch, neither be thou foolish: wherefore shouldest thou perish not in thy time?

20 It is good that thou lay hold on [Note: [o] To wit, on these admonitions that goe before. ] this: but yet withdrawe not thine hand from [Note: [p] Consider what desolation and destruction shall come, if thou doe not obey them. ] that: for he that feareth God, shall come forth of them all.

21 Wisedome shall strengthen the wise man more then ten mightie princes that are in ye citie.

22 [Note: 1.King.8.46. 2.chro.6.36. prou.20.9. 1.iohn 1.8. ] Surely there is no man iust in the earth, that doeth good and sinneth not.

23 Giue not thine [Note: [q] Credite them not, neither care for them. ] heart also to all ye wordes that men speake, lest thou doe heare thy seruant cursing thee.

24 For often times also thine heart knoweth that thou likewise hast [Note: Or, spoken euill of others. ] cursed others.

25 All this haue I prooued by wisedome: I thought I will be wise, but it went farre from me.

26 It is farre off, what may [Note: [r] Meaning, wisedome. ] it be? and it is a profound deepenesse, who can finde it?

27 I haue compassed about, both I and mine heart to knowe and to enquire and to search wisedome, and reason, and to knowe the wickednesse of follie, and the foolishnesse of madnesse,

28 And I finde more bitter then death the woman whose heart is as nettes and snares, and her handes, as bands: he that is good before God, shalbe deliuered from her, but the sinner shall be taken by her.

29 Beholde, sayth the Preacher, this haue I found, seeking one by one to [Note: [s] That is, to come to a conclusion. ] finde the count:

30 And yet my soule seeketh, but I finde it not: I haue found one man of a thousand: but a woman among them all haue I not founde.

31 Onely loe, this haue I founde, that God hath made man righteous: but they haue sought many [Note: [t] And so are cause of their owne destruction. ] inuentions.
[Page]

[The wicked escape.]





CHAP. VIII.


2 To obey Princes and Magistrates. 17 The workes of God passe mans knowledge.

1 Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? the wisedome of a man doth make his [Note: [a] That is, doeth get him fauour and prosperitie. ] face to shine: and the [Note: [b] Whereas before he was proud and arrogant, he shall become humble and meeke. ] strength of his face shalbe changed.

2 I aduertise thee to take heede to ye [Note: [c] That is, that thou obey the King, and keepe the othe that thou hast made for the same cause. ] mouth of the King, and to the worde of the othe of God.

3 [Note: [d] Withdrawe not thy selfe lightly from the obedience of thy prince. ] Haste not to goe forth of his sight: stand not in an euill thing: for he will doe whatsoeuer pleaseth him.

4 Where the word of ye King is, there is power, and who shall say vnto him, What doest thou?

5 He that keepeth the commandement, shall knowe none euill thing, and the heart of the wise shall knowe the [Note: [e] That is, when time is to obey, and howe farre he should obey. ] time and iudgement.

6 For to euery purpose there is a time and iudgement, because the [Note: [f] Man of himselfe is miserable, and therefore ought to doe nothing to increase the same, but to worke al things by wisedome and counsell. ] miserie of man is great vpon him.

7 For he knoweth not that which shalbe: for who can tell him when it shalbe?

8 Man is not lorde [Note: [g] Man hath no power to saue his owne life, and therefore must not rashly cast him selfe into danger. ] ouer the spirit to retaine the spirite: neither hath hee power in the day of death, nor deliuerance in the battell, neither shall wickednesse deliuer the possessers thereof.

9 All this haue I seene, and haue giuen mine heart to euery worke, which is wrought vnder the sunne, and I sawe a time that man ruleth ouer man to his owne [Note: [h] As commeth oft times to tyrants, and wicked rulers. ] hurt.

10 And likewise I sawe the wicked buried, and [Note: [i] That is, others as wicked as they. ] they returned, and they that came from the holy [Note: [k] They that feared God, and worshipped him according as he had appointed. ] place, were yet forgotten in the citie where they had done right: this also is vanitie.

11 Because sentence against an euill worke is not [Note: [l] Where iustice is delayed, there sinne reigneth. ] executed speedily, therefore the heart of the children of men is fully set in them to doe euill.

12 Though a sinner doe euill an hundreth times, and God prolongeth his dayes, yet I knowe that it shalbe well with them that feare the Lord, and doe reuerence before him.

13 But it shall not be well to the wicked, neither shall he prolong his dayes: he shall be like a shadowe, because he feareth not before God.

14 There is a vanitie, which is done vpon the earth, that there be righteous men to whom it commeth according to the [Note: [m] Which are pvnished as though they were wicked, as Chap. 7.17. ] worke of the wicked: and there be wicked men to whom it commeth according to the worke of the iust: I thought also that this is vanitie.

15 And I praysed ioy: for there is no goodnesse to man vnder the sunne, saue [Note: [n] Reade Chap. 3.22. ] to eate and to drinke and to reioyce: for this is adioyned to his labour, the dayes of his life that God hath giuen him vnder the sunne.

16 When I applied mine heart to knowe wisedome, and to behold the busines that is done on earth, that neither day nor night the eyes of man take sleepe,

17 Then I behelde the whole worke of God, that man cannot finde out ye worke yt is wrought vnder the sunne: for the which man laboureth to seeke it, and cannot finde it: yea, and though the wise man thinke to knowe it, he cannot finde it.


CHAP. IX.


1 By no outward thing can man knowe whom God loueth or hateth. 12 No man knoweth his ende. 16 Wisedome excelleth strength.

1 I haue surely giuen mine heart to all this, and to declare all this, that the iust, and the wise, and

[The state of good and bad.]



their workes are in the hand of God: and no man knoweth eyther loue or [Note: [a] Meaning, what things he ought to chuse or refuse: or man knoweth not by these outwarde things, that is, by prosperitie or aduersitie, who God doeth fauour or hate: for he sendeth them aswell to the wicked as to the godly. ] hatred of all that is before them.

2 All things come alike to all: and the same condition is to the iust and to the wicked, to the good and to the pure, and to the polluted, and to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner, he that sweareth, as he that feareth an othe.

3 This is euill among all that is done vnder the sunne, that there is one [Note: [b] In outwarde things, as riches and pouertie, sicknesse and health, there is no difference betweene the godly and the wicked: but the difference is that the godly are assured by faith of Gods fauour and assistance. ] condition to all, and also the heart of the sonnes of men is full of euill, and madnes is in their heartes whiles they liue, and after that, they goe to the dead.

4 Surely whosoeuer is ioyned to all ye liuing, there is hope: for it is better to a [Note: [c] He noteth the Epicures, and carnall men, which made their bellie their god, and had no pleasure but in this life, wishing rather to be an abiect, and vile person in this life, then a man of authoritie, and so to die which is meant by the dog and lyon. ] liuing dog, then to a dead lyon.

5 For the liuing knowe that they shall dye, but the dead knowe nothing at all: neither haue they any more a rewarde: for their remembrance is forgotten.

6 Also their loue, and their hatred, and their enuie is now perished, and they haue no more portion for euer, in all that is done vnder the sunne.

7 Goe, eate thy bread with ioy, & drinke thy wine with a cheerefull heart: for God nowe [Note: [d] They flatter themselues to be in Gods fauour, because they haue all things in abundance. ] accepteth thy workes.

8 At all times let thy garments be [Note: [e] Reioyce, be merie, and spare for no cost. thus spake the wicked belly gods. ] white, and let not oyle be lacking vpon thine head.

9 [Note: Ebr. regarde the life. ] [Note: Chap. 5.18. ] Reioyce with the wife whom thou hast loued all the dayes of the life of thy vanitie, which God hath giuen thee vnder the sunne all the dayes of thy vanitie: for this is thy portion in the life, and in thy trauaile wherein thou labourest vnder the sunne.

10 All that thine hand shall finde to doe, doe it with all thy power: for there is neither worke nor inuention, nor knowledge, nor wisedome in the graue whither thou goest.

11 I returned, and I sawe vnder the sunne that the race is not to the swift, nor the battell to the strong, nor yet bread to the wise, nor also riches to men of vnderstanding, neither yet fauour to men of knowledge: but time and [Note: [f] Thus the worldlings say to proue that all things are lawfull for them, and attribute that to chance and fortune, which is done by the prouidence of God. ] chance commeth to them all.

12 For neither doth man knowe his [Note: [g] That is, he doeth not foresee what shall come. ] time, but as the fishes which are taken in an euill net, and as the birdes that are caught in the snare: so are the children of men snared in the euill time when it falleth vpon them suddenly.

13 I haue also seene this wisedome vnder the sunne, and it is great vnto me.

14 A litle citie and fewe men in it, and a great King came against it, and compassed it about, and builded fortes against it.

15 And there was founde therein a poore and wise man, and he deliuered the citie by his wisedome: but none remembred this poore man.

16 Then said I, Better is wisdome then stregth: yet the wisedome of the poore is despised, and his wordes are not heard.

17 The wordes of the wise are more heard in quietnes, then the crye of him that ruleth among fooles.

18 Better is wisedome then weapons of warre: but one sinner destroyeth much good.


CHAP. X.


1 The difference of foolishnesse and wisedome. 11 A slanderer is like a serpent that cannot be charmed. 16 Of foolish Kings, and drunken princes, 17 And of good Kings and princes.


[Page 38]

[To be liberall to the poore.]




1 Dead flies cause to stinke, & putrifie the ointment of the apoticarie: so doeth a litle follie him that is in estimation for wisedome, and for glorie.

2 The heart of a [Note: [a] So that he doeth all things well and iustly, where as the foole doeth the contrarie. ] wise man is at his right hand: but the heart of a foole is at his left hand.

3 And also when the foole goeth by the way, his heart faileth, and he [Note: [b] By his doings he bewraieth himself. ] telleth vnto all that he is a foole.

4 If the [Note: [c] If thy superiour be angry wt thee, be thou discrete, and not mooued. ] spirite of him that ruleth, rise vp against thee, leaue not thy place: for gentlenes pacifieth great sinnes.

5 There is an euil that I haue seene vnder the sunne, as an [Note: [d] Meaning, that it is an euill thing when they that are in autoritie, faile, and doe not their duetie. ] error that proceedeth from the face of him that ruleth.

6 Follie is set in great excellencie, and the [Note: [e] They that are rich in wisedome and vertue. ] riche set in the lowe place.

7 I haue seene seruants on horses, and princes walking as seruants on the ground.

8 [Note: Psal.7.16. prou.26.27. ecclus 27.26. ] He that diggeth a pit, shall fal into it, and he yt breaketh the hedge, a serpent shall bite him.

9 He that remooueth stones, shall hurt himselfe thereby, and hee that cutteth wood, shall be in danger thereby.

10 If the yron be blunt, & one hath not whet the edge, he must then put to more [Note: [f] Without wisedom whatsoeuer a man taketh in had, turneth to his own hurt. ] strength: but the excellencie to direct a thing is wisedome.

11 If the serpent bite, when he is not charmed: no better is a babbler.

12 The words of ye mouth of a wise man haue grace: but the lippes of a foole deuoure himselfe.

13 The beginning of the wordes of his mouth is foolishnesse, and the latter ende of his mouth is wicked madnesse.

14 For the foole multiplieth woordes, saying, Man knoweth not what shall be: and who can tell him what shall be after him?

15 The labour of the foolish doeth wearie him: for he knoweth not to goe into the [Note: [g] The ignorance and beastlinesse of the wicked is such, that they knowe not common things, and yet wil they discusse hie matters. ] citie.

16 Woe to thee, O lande, when thy King is a [Note: [h] That is, without wisdome and counsell. ] childe, and thy princes [Note: [i] Are giue to their lusts & pleasures. ] eate in the morning.

17 Blessed art thou, O land, when thy King is the sonne [Note: [k] Meaning, when hee is noble for vertue and wisedom and with the gifts of God. ] of nobles, and thy princes eate in time, for strength and not for drunkennesse.

18 By slouthfulnes the roofe of the house goeth to decaie, and by the ydlenesse of the handes the house droppeth through.

19 They prepare bread for laughter, and wine comforteth the liuing, but siluer answereth to all.

20 Curse not the King, no not in thy thought, neither curse the rich in thy bed chamber: for the [Note: [l] Thou canst not woorke euill so secretely, but it shall be knowen. ] foule of the heauen shall carie the voice, & that which hath wings, shall declare the matter.


CHAP. XI.


1 To be liberall to the poore. 4 Not to doubt of Gods prouidence. 8 All worldly prosperitie is but vanitie. 9 God will iudge all.

1 Cast thy bread vpon the [Note: [a] That is, be liberall to the poore, & though it seeme to bee as a thing ventred on the sea, yet it shall bring thee profite. ] waters: for after many daies thou shalt finde it.

2 Giue a portion to seuen, & also to eight: for thou knowest not what euill shalbe vpon ye earth.

3 If the [Note: [b] As the cloudes that are ful, powre out raine, so the rich that haue abundance, must distribute it liberallie. ] clouds be full, they wil powre forth raine vpon the earth: and if the [Note: [c] He exhorteth to be liberall while we liue: for after there is no power. ] tree doe fall toward the South, or toward the North, in the place that the tree falleth, there it shalbe.

4 He that obserueth ye [Note: [d] He that feareth inconueniences, when necessity requireth, shall neuer doe his duetie. ] winde, shall not sow, and he that regardeth the cloudes, shall not reape.

5 As thou knowest not which is ye way of the

[The soule immortall.]



spirit, nor how the bones doe growe in the wombe of her that is with child: so thou knowest not the worke of God that worketh all.

6 In the morning sowe thy seede, and in the euening let not thine hand [Note: [e] Be not wearie of well doing. ] rest: for thou knowest not whither shall prosper, this or [Note: [f] That is, which of thy workes are most agreeable to God. ] that, or whether both shalbe a like good.

7 Surely the light is a pleasant thing: and it is a good thing to the eyes to see the sunne.

8 Though a man liue many yeeres, and in them all he reioyce, yet hee shall remember the daies of [Note: [g] That is, of affliction & trouble. ] darkenesse, because they are manie, all that commeth is vanitie.

9 [Note: [h] Hee derideth them that set their delite in worldly pleasures, as though God wold not cal them to an account. ] Reioyce, O yong man, in thy youth, and let thine heart cheere thee in the dayes of thy youth: and walke in the waies of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but knowe that for all these things, God wil bring thee to iudgement.

10 Therefore take away [Note: [i] To wit, anger, and enuie. ] griefe out of thine heart, and cause euil [Note: [k] Meaning, carnal lusts whereunto youth is giuen. ] to depart from thy flesh: for childehoode and youth are vanitie.


CHAP. XII.


1 To thinke on God in youth & not to deferre till age. 7 The soule returneth to God. 11 Wisedome is the gift of God, and consisteth in fearing him and keeping his commandements.

1 Remember nowe thy Creator in the daies of thy youth, whiles the euill daies come not, nor the yeeres approche, wherein thou shalt say, I haue no pleasure in them:

2 Whiles the sunne is not darke, nor ye light, nor the moone, nor the starres, nor the [Note: [a] Before thou come to a continuall miserie: for when the cloudes remaine after the raine, mans griefe is increased. ] cloudes returne after the raine:

3 When the [Note: [b] The handes, which keepe the bodie. ] keepers of ye house shal tremble, & the [Note: [c] The legges. ] strong men shal bow them selues, and the [Note: [d] The teeth. ] grinders shal cease, because they are few, and they waxe darke that [Note: [e] The eyes. ] looke out by ye windowes:

4 And the [Note: [f] The lippes, or mouth. ] doores shall be shut without by the base sound of the [Note: [g] When the chawes shall scarse open and not bee able to chewe no more. ] grinding, and he shall rise vp at the voice of the [Note: [h] He shall not be able to sleepe. ] birde: and all the [Note: [i] That is, the winde pipes, or the eares shall be deafe and not able to heare singing. ] daughters of singing shall be abased.

5 Also they shalbe afraide of the [Note: [k] To climbe hie because of their weakenes, or they stoupe downe, as though they were afraied least any thing shoulde hit them. ] hie thing, and feare shalbe in [Note: [l] They shall tremble as they goe, as though they were afraide. ] the way, and the almond tree shall [Note: [m] Their head shalbe as white as the blossomes of an almond tree. ] flourish, and the [Note: [n] They shall be able to beare nothing. ] grassehopper shall be a burden, and concupiscence shall be driuen away: for man goeth to the house of his age, and the mourners goe about in the streete.

6 Whiles the [Note: [o] Meaning, the marowe of the backe bone and the sinewes. ] siluer coarde is not lengthened, nor the golden [Note: [p] The litle skin that couereth the braine, which is in colour like golde. ] ewer broken, nor the [Note: [q] That is, the veines. ] pitcher broken at the [Note: [r] Meaning the liuer. ] wel, nor the [Note: [s] Which is the head. ] wheele broken at the [Note: [t] That is, the heart, out of the which the head draweth the powers of life. ] cisterne:

7 And dust returne to the earth as it was, and the [Note: [u] The soule incontinently either goeth to ioy or torment, and sleepeth not as the wicked imagine. ] spirit returne to God that gaue it.

8 Vanitie of vanities, saieth the Preacher, all is vanitie.

9 And the more wise the Preacher was, the more he taught the people knowledge, and caused them to heare, and searched foorth, and prepared many parables.

10 The Preacher sought to finde out pleasant wordes, and an vpright writing, euen the wordes of trueth.

11 The wordes of the wise are like goads, and like nailes [Note: [x] Which are wel applied by the ministers, whome he calleth masters. ] fastened by the masters of the assemblies, which are giuen by one [Note: [y] That is, by God. ] pastour.

12 And of other things beside these, my sone, take thou heede: for there is none ende in making [Page]

[The Churches beautie.]



many [Note: [z] These things cannot be comprehended in bookes, or learned by studie, but God must instruct thy heart that thou mayest onely knowe that wisedome is the true felicitie, and the way thereunto is to feare God. ] bookes, and much reading is a wearines of the flesh.

13 Let vs heare the end of all: feare God and keepe his commandements: for this is the whole duetie of man.

14 For God will bring euery worke vnto iudgement, with euery secret thing, whether it be good or euill.