Ecclesiastes 12:13

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter,.... Or "the end" {o} of it. The sum and substance of it, what it all tends to and issues in; even the whole of what is contained in this book, and in all offer divinely inspired writings of Solomon or others; of all that were now written, or before, or since: this the preacher calls upon himself, as well as his hearers, to attend unto. Or it may be rendered, "the end of the whole matter is heard" {p}; here ends this book; and you have heard the whole of what deserves regard, and it lies in these few words,

Fear God, and keep his commandments: "the fear of God" includes the whole of internal religion, or powerful godliness; all the graces of the Spirit, and the exercise of them; reverence of God, love to him, faith in him, and in his Son Jesus Christ; hope of eternal life from him; humility of soul, patience and submission to his will, with every other grace; so the Heathens call religion "metum Deorum" {q}, the fear of God: and "keeping of the commandments", or obedience to the whole will of God, is the fruit, effect, and evidence of the former; and takes in all the commands of God, moral and positive, whether under the former or present dispensation; and an observance of them in faith, from a principle of love, and with a view to the glory of God;

for this is the whole duty of man; or, "this is the whole man" {r}; and makes a man a whole man, perfect, entire, and wanting nothing; whereas, without this, he is nothing, let him have ever so much of the wisdom, wealth, honour, and profits of this world. Or, "this is the whole of every man" {s}; either, as we supply it, the duty, work, and business of every man, of every son of Adam, be he what he will, high or low, rich or poor, of every age, sex, and condition; or this is the happiness of every man, or that leads to it; this is the whole of it; this is the "summum bonum", or chief happiness of men: Lactantius {t} says, the "summum bonum" of a man lies in religion only; it lies in this, and not in any outward thing, as is abundantly proved in this book: and this should be the concern of everyone, this being the chief end of man, and what, as Jarchi says, he is born unto; or, as the Targum, such should be the life of every man. The Masoretes begin this verse with a larger letter than usual, and repeat it at the end of the book, though not accentuated, to raise the attention of the reader {u}; that he may make a particular observation of what is said in it, as being of the greatest moment and importance.

{o} lkh rbd Pwo "finis verbi omnis", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus; "finis universi negotii", Tigurine version, so Vatablus.
{p} emvn "auditus est", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Tigurine version, Mercerus.
{q} Horat. Carmin. l. 1. Ode 35. v. 36.
{r} Mdah lk hz "hoc (est) omnis homo", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Mercerus; "omnium hominum perfectio", Tigurine version; "hoc est totus homo", Cocceius; "this is all the man", Broughton.
{s} "Hoc est omnium hominum", Piscator, Gejerus; "hoc est totum hominis", Junius & Tremellius.
{t} De Fals. Sap. l. 3, c. 10.
{u} Vid. Buxtorf. Tiberius, c. 14. p. 38.