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verse are proverbial ; the former part of it, by the word handful, signifying a small estate, as Ps. lxxii. 16; Ezek. xiii. 19; the latter, by the term hands full, denoting a larger and more plentiful, acquired with all the strength and labour of the whole man, Mic. vii. 3.
7. Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun.
Another vanity, and quite contrary to the former; as fools, in avoiding one extreme, fall into another.
8. There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother : yet is there no end of all his labour, neither is his eye satisfied with riches, neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave
my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.
“ There is one alone,” &c. One by himself, as Gen. xix. 9; and not a second, that is, either no companion, or member in his family, to provide for, or no heir to succeed him in his possessions ; no one of whom he can say, It is this man for whom I labour, see ver. 15.« Yea, he hath neither child nor brother.” lis Labour is not founded in any natural love of those for whom he is bound to provide, 1 Tim. v. 8; Gen. xlvii. 12; Prov. xvii. 17; but merely on the inordinate love of riches themselves. This covetous wretch is here described, first, by his solitariness; he lives alone, he cannot endure two mouths in one house. Secondly, by his excessive labour; “ there is no end of all his labour:” he toils infinitely and without measure, Isai. ii. 7; Job xxii. 5, Some by labour understand wealth acquired by labour. He has a vast estate, and yet is as greedy as if he had nothing. Thirdly, by his insatiable desires ; “ neither is his eye satisfied with riches.” He has enough for food, for raiment, for his calling, for the decency of his state and condition, but he has not enough for his eye. Though he can only see it, but not use it, yet he is displeased that he sees no
The eye is the instrument of coveting, 1 John ii. 16; Josh. vii. 21; ch. i. 8. and ii. 10. A covetous man, notwithstanding he has as much as his eye can see, would still have much more, Isai, v. 8 ; Hab. ii. 5; Prov. xxx. 15; Job xl. 23, 24. Fourthly, by his folly and inconsideration; he weighs not the absurdity of such a manner of life, he still goes out of hinself to labour after riches, but never returns to himself to reason and argue the case, or to call himself to an account of his doings, Jer. viii. 6; Luke xv. 17; Ps. w. 4. Fifthly, by his inhumanity and cruelty to his own flesh; denying himself those comforts which God has given him, treating himself worse than the Jaw prescribes for the ox, Deut. xxv. 4; muzzling his own mouth whilst treading out the corn for others, ch. vi. 2. Sixthly, by the groundlessness of this cruelty; he has no one dear to him, for whom he toils, and when he dies, he leaves no heir or kinsman to enjoy it; but undergoes all this fatigue, and deprives himself of all comfort, for one of whom he is utterly ignorant, Ps. xxxix. 6. This justifies the severest censure, of its being not only vanity, but a very sore and grievous affliction.
9. Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
“ Two are better than one;"_" good more than one :” so it is usual to express the comparative, as ch. vii. 1, 2, 3, 5, 8; Prov. viii. 11. From the solitary life of this miser, he takes occasion to shew the benefit of society, and the mutual help which one person affords to another: on this account God created the woman
for a companion and helpmate to the man, Gen. ii. 18: and Christ sent forth his disciples by two and two, Mark vi. 7; Luke x, 1; not only that they might be joyful witnesses of the truth they were to deliver, as Moses and Aa. ron, Joshua and Zerubbabel (in reference to which we read of two witnesses, Rev. xi. 3, 4; and so the apostle usually joins one or two more to himself in the inscription of his epistles, as joint witnesses of the truth of the doctrine contained in them, 1 Cor. i. 1; 2 Cor. i. 1; Phil, i. 1; 1 and 2 Thess. i. 1.), but that they might carry on their ministry with greater ease and success, and thus mutually strengthen, encourage, and comfort one another.-" Because they have a good reward for their labour;” or a benefit from each other in their labour; by counsel, by consolation, by assistance and cooperation, by supplying any want, or bearing any burden which may befal the one or the other, 1 Sam. xxiii. 16, 17; 2 Cor. viii. 18, 19, 22; Acts xiii. 2, 5; Prov. xxvii. 17; Acts xix. 29; Phil. iv. 3. They unitedly promote the common good, more easily attain it, and more sweetly enjoy it. This reciprocal bene. fit is further illustrated in some particulars of mutual danger, mutual rest, and mutual de. fence.
10. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
If they fall;" that is, if one or either of them fall : the plural is used distributively or partatively to either of the singulars, as Prov. xxviii. 1; 1 Tim. ii. 15. Falling may be understood in all senses; literally, for corporeal falls into a pit and from a house; metaphorically, for falling into diseases, dangers, and disgraces ; and spiritually, for falling into sins or errors. In any adversity, the society of friends is useful; to pity, to restore, to support, to convince, and to comfort. As on the contrary, such a solitary worldling as the character before described, is forsaken by all, and has no friend to adhere to him. This is sometimes the lot of the saints under trouble, but then God stands by them, and upholds them, Ps. xxii. 11; 2 Tim. iv. 16, 17.-"But woe to him that is alone.” Woe to him is in the original one word compounded of two, as is observed by Kimchi. It is here an interjection of grieving, denouncing some evil that is approaching a man: it is once more used in this book, ch. x. 16; and scarcely any where else,