John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary

Verse 14 (Ecclesiastes 7:14)

In the day of prosperity be joyful ,.... Or, "in a good day" F17 ביום טובה "in die bono", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Gejerus. . When things go well in the commonwealth, in a man's family, and with himself, health, peace, and plenty, are enjoyed, a man's circumstances are thriving and flourishing; it becomes him to be thankful to God, freely and cheerfully to enjoy what is bestowed on him, and do good with it: or, "be in good" F18 היה בטוב "esto in bono", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Rambachius. ; in good heart, in good spirits, cheerful and lively; or, "enjoy good", as the Vulgate Latin version; for what God gives to men is given them richly to enjoy, to make use of themselves, and be beneficial unto others; so the Targum,

"in the day the Lord does well to thee be thou also in goodness, and do good to all the world;'

see Galatians 6:10 ; Jarchi's paraphrase is,

"when it is in thine hand to do good, be among those that do good;'

but in the day of adversity consider ; or, "in the day of evil" F19 ביום רעה "in die mala", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus. ; consider from whence affliction comes; not out of the dust, nor by chance, but from God, and by his wise appointment; and for what it comes, that sin is the cause of it, and what that is; and also for what ends it is sent, to bring to a sense of sin, and confession of it, and humiliation for it; to take it away, and make good men more partakers of holiness: or, "look for the day of adversity" F20 ראה "praecave", V. L. "praevide, aut provide ac prospice", Drusius; so Gussetius, p. 766. ; even in the day of prosperity it should be expected; for there is no firmness and stability in any state; there are continual vicissitudes and changes. The Targum is,

"that the evil day may not come upon thee, see and behold;'

be careful and circumspect, and behave in a wise manner, that so it may be prevented. Jarchi's note is,

"when evil comes upon the wicked, be among those that see, and not among those that are seen;'

and compares it with Isaiah 66:24 ; It may be observed, that there is a set time for each of these, prosperity and adversity; and that the time is short, and therefore called a day; and the one is good, and the other is evil; which characters they have according to the outward appearance, and according to the judgment and esteem of men; otherwise, prosperity is oftentimes hurtful, and destroys fools, and adversity is useful to the souls of good men;

God also hath set the one over against the other ; they are both by his appointment, and are set in their proper place, and come in their proper time; succeed each other, and answer to one another, as day and night, summer and winter, and work, together for the good of men;

to the end that man should find nothing after him ; should not be able to know what will be hereafter; what his case and circumstances will be, whether prosperous or adverse; since things are so uncertain, and so subject to change, and nothing permanent; and therefore can find nothing to trust in and depend upon, nothing that he can be sure of: and things are so wisely managed and disposed, that a man can find no fault with them, nor just reason to complain of them; so the Vulgate Latin version, "not find just complaints against him"; and to the same purpose the Syriac version, "that he may complain of him"; the Targum is,

"not find any evil in this world.'

- John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary