Summary: This is a verse by verse look at Ecclesiastes chapter six.
Ecclesiastes Chapter Six
Ecclesiastes 6:1 (NASB) There is an evil which I have seen under the sun and it is prevalent among men—
Here seems a condition which is common to all men. This verse needs to be considered with verse two. The condition is that man gains riches, wealth and honor – yet he is not able to enjoy it.
Matthew Henry said: “A man often has all he needs for outward enjoyment; yet the Lord leaves him so to covetousness or evil dispositions, that he makes no good or comfortable use of what he has. By one means or other his possessions come to strangers; this is vanity, and an evil disease. A numerous family was a matter of fond desire and of high honour among the Hebrews; and long life is the desire of mankind in general. Even with these additions a man may not be able to enjoy his riches, family, and life. Such a man, in his passage through life, seems to have been born for no end or use. And he who has entered on life only for one moment, to quit it the next, has a preferable lot to him who has lived long, but only to suffer.”
Ecclesiastes 6:2 (NASB) a man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor so that his soul lacks nothing of all that he desires; yet God has not empowered him to eat from them, for a foreigner enjoys them. This is vanity and a severe affliction.
This person has died without being able to enjoy his wealth and honor. Everyone dies, and both rich and poor end up in the grave. Many people work hard to prolong life and improve their physical condition. Yet people spend little time or effort on their spiritual health. How shortsighted it is to work hard to extend this life and not take the time to prepare for eternity.
Ecclesiastes 6:3 (NASB) If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, however many they be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things and he does not even have a proper burial, then I say, "Better the miscarriage than he,
From all outward appearances this man should be “happy” yet that is far from the case. His soul is not satisfied. His deepest needs have not been met. Because of this – the writer says – it is better that he not even have been born.
Ecclesiastes 6:4 (NASB) for it comes in futility and goes into obscurity; and its name is covered in obscurity.
The word “for” shows that this verse is connected to verse three. It does not matter how many children you have – it does not matter how long you live – it does not matter how many good things a person has – it does not even matter if he has a good burial – there is more to life than any of these things if God is left out of a person’s life. It is better that he had never been born.
Ecclesiastes 6:5 (NASB) "It never sees the sun and it never knows anything; it is better off than he.
A child who has miscarried is better off than this man. It has never seen the sun. It does not know anything yet – but this man who has lived a godless life and will go down in the dust miserable.
Ecclesiastes 6:6 (NASB) "Even if the other man lives a thousand years twice and does not enjoy good things--do not all go to one place?"
It does not matter how long a man may live – even if he lives 2000 years – he will die just like everyone else and will go to the same place as everyone else.
Gill said, “Yea, though he live a thousand years twice told,.... Or two thousand years, which no man ever did, nor even one thousand years; Methuselah, the oldest man, did not live so long as that; this is than twice the age of the oldest man.”
Who would want to live this long if your life was nothing but vanity?
Ecclesiastes 6:7 (NASB) All a man's labor is for his mouth and yet the appetite is not satisfied.
All of man’s labor is to feed himself – and when he has eaten his full – he will have to eat again. What use is that? He is never satisfied.
Benson has said, “All the labour of man is for his mouth — For meat and other necessary provisions of this life; and yet the appetite is not filled — Although all that a man can obtain by his labours is but a provision for his bodily wants, which the meanest sort of men commonly enjoy, yet such is the vanity of the world, and the folly of mankind, that men are insatiable in their desires, and restless in their endeavours after more and more, and never say they have enough.”