What profit has the worker in the work which he does?
But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does?
What profit has the worker from that in which he labors?
What profit hath he that worketh in that in which he laboureth?
What do working people gain from their hard labor?
What benefit can a worker* gain from his toil?*
3:9 What benefit can a worker214
tn The term הָעוֹשֶׂה (ha’oseh, article + Qal active participle ms from עָשַׂה, ’asah, “to do”) functions substantively (“the worker”); see BDB 794 s.v. עָשַׂה II.1. This is a figurative description of man (metonymy of association), and plays on the repetition of עָשַׂה (verb: “to do,” noun: “work”) throughout the passage. In the light of God’s orchestration of human affairs, man’s efforts cannot change anything. It refers to man in general with the article functioning in a generic sense (see IBHS 244-45 §13.5.1f; Joüon 2:511 §137.m).
gain from his toil?215
sn This rhetorical question is an example of negative affirmation, expecting a negative answer: “Man gains nothing from his toil!” (see E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 949-51). Any advantage that man might gain from his toil is nullified by his ignorance of divine providence.