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Look with pleasure

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as you live with the wife whom you love all the days of your vapor-like

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life which He has given you under the sun – all your vapor-like days, for this is your portion

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in life and in the labor in which you suffer

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under the sun.


Live joyfully with the wife whom you love during your entire life here on earth even though it is short-lived like a vapor, yes, do this all of the days of your short life, for this is what you have been provided with and what will keep you going through the hardships of

working constantly to pay bills which is part of everyone’s life as long as they live here on earth.  


1: “look with pleasure”

Although the use of this word in this passage is usually translated with an adverb such as “joyfully,” I wanted you to see that the original Hebrew uses a verb form of “to look.” One of its meanings is “to look upon something or someone with favor or with pleasure.” That idea of pleasure gives rise to this verb being used as an adverb meaning, “joyfully, with rejoicing, with joy, happily, with pleasure.” So the translations that render this clause “live joyfully with the wife you love” are correct, but the way the Hebrew language arrives at that meaning is interesting and I wanted you to see it. Therefore I put the literal meaning in the translation column and the intended reading in the paraphrase column.


“Vapor-like” is used twice in this verse, in each case they refer to the following letters from our acrostic PASSES: P: Not Predictable; S: short-lived; and S: not Solid, not firm. This is true of the individual days of our lives as well as our life as a whole, with the primary characteristic being that they are Short-lived.

3: “portion”

We have seen this word before as “share, or inheritance.” In the paraphrase column I have chosen to render it as “what you have been provided with” in order to show a wider meaning of provision in general. It is referring to “the wife whom you love.”


This is the word for “labor, or work” that has been used numerous times in Ecclesiastes, but one of its other uses is that of “to suffer” due to the hard work and toil. Here the idea of suffering seems to fit better than just simple “work.”