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Look at what I have seen,

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that it is good and beautiful

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to eat

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and drink and perceive

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the good of all his troublesome toil in which he toils

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under the sun

all the days of his life which

ELOHIM has given him, for it is

his portion.

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Observe life carefully and I think you will see what I have seen, that it is best, moreover, it is a beautiful thing for someone to enjoy the provision of simple things and while doing so to understand the benefits you have reaped from all your hard, difficult, frustrating work in which you have struggled here on earth during your entire life which, by the way, has been given to you by THE CREATOR AND RULER OF ALL THINGS. Such simple pleasures are what you were intended to receive and enjoy.


1: “what I have seen”

There are two verbs used in this first clause that mean “to see.”  The first word of this verse means “Look!” It is rendered by the King James as “Behold.” Since we no longer use the word behold, I strive to find ways to express it as some form of amazement. The second verb is another word for “see.” The writer is asking his readers to look at what he is looking at and see what he has seen. We could put it this way, “If you look carefully at life, I’m sure you will observe the same realities I have observed.”


This word means “beautiful or fair.” It is a strong word given its context in this verse. Solomon is saying that we should consider God’s provision of “just enough” as something special, wonderful and beautiful.

3: “to eat”

Notice that the Hebrew does not include a subject to this sentence, rather it is assumed. I do include a subject in the paraphrase column to make it sound correct in English.

4: “perceive”

This is the same word used above for “see,” just in a different form. It means that, as one eats and drinks, he will come to comprehend the good things that have come from his arduous labors.

5: “he toils”

What we have seen several times now in Ecclesiastes is that Solomon likes to use the same word twice in close proximity to each other as a form of emphasis. Here it is the word that emphasizes the difficulty of the hardship of our daily work. While it is a strong word already, the double use of it indicates that he is increasing its force, saying that our daily work is really, really tough.

6: “his portion”

There are several Hebrew words that can mean “inheritance,” this is one of them. The idea is that this is what you will receive based on a decision that is not your own. Their traditions were such that the giving of an inheritance often took place before the father was dead. The emphasis here is on taking control of something and making something happen with what you have been given.