Ecclesiastes 1:4

Hebrew Bible

2 “Futile! Futile!” laments the Teacher. “Absolutely futile! Everything is futile!” 3 What benefit do people get from all the effortwhich they expend on earth? 4 A generation comes and a generation goes, but the earth remains the same through the ages. 5 The sun rises and the sun sets; it hurries away to a place from which it rises again. 6 The wind goes to the south and circles around to the north;round and round the wind goes and on its rounds it returns.

Sirach 14:18

Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus

16 Give, and take, and indulge yourself, because in Hades one cannot look for luxury. 17 All living beings become old like a garment, for the decree from of old is, "You must die!" 18 Like abundant leaves on a spreading tree that sheds some and puts forth others, so are the generations of flesh and blood: one dies and another is born. 19 Every work decays and ceases to exist, and the one who made it will pass away with it. 20 Happy is the person who meditates on wisdom and reasons intelligently,

 Notes and References

"... Ecclesiastes 1:4 ... This verse affirms the ephemeral character of humankind, against the background of the ever-standing earth. One should not press the “eternity of the world” here, since as Zimmerli remarks, “the permanence of the earth is merely the foil against which the restless coming and going of human beings is outlined.” It is the “dance of the dead” with which Qoheleth is concerned. The constant repetition, the coming and going, is brought out in the metaphors of verses 4-7. The image of generation stands for repetition, ongoing and relentless, always monotonous, and this is reinforced by the succeeding examples. The comparison of human generations to tree leaves is found in Sirach 14:18 and, as pointed out by R. Braun, seems to go back to Homer (Iliad, 6.146ff.). Podechard remarks that verse 4 has nothing to do with the supposed immobility of the earth, as alleged in the case against Galileo ..."

Murphy, Roland E. Word Biblical Commentary: Ecclesiastes (p. 7) Zondervan, 2018

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