9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
John Gill–Commentary on Ecclesiastes 1:9:
The thing that hath been, it [is that] which shall be
The thing that has been seen and heard is no other than what shall be seen and heard again; so that what is now seen and heard is only what has been seen and heard before; it is but the same thing over again; and that is the reason why the eye and ear are never satisfied; the same objects, as the visible heavens and earth, and all therein, which have been from the beginning, these are they which shall be, and there is nothing else to be seen and heard, and enjoyed; and that which is done, [is] that which shall be done;
what is done in the present age, nay, in this year, month, or day, shall be done over again in the next; and [there is] no new [thing] under the sun;
which is to be understood of things natural, as the works of creation, which were finished from the beginning of the world, and continue as they were ever since, ( Hebrews 4:3 ) ( 2 Peter 3:4 ) ; the various seasons of day and night, of summer and winter, of spring and autumn, of heat and cold, of seed time and harvest, come in course, as they always did; these ordinances never fail, ( Genesis 8:22 ) ( Jeremiah 31:35 Jeremiah 31:36 ) ( Jeremiah 33:20 Jeremiah 33:21 ) . The things before mentioned, the constant succession of men on earth, who are born into the world and die out of it, just as they always did; the sun rises and sets at its appointed time, as it did almost six thousand years ago; the winds whirl about all the points of the compass now as formerly; the rivers have the same course and recourse, and the sea its ebbing and flowing, they ever had; the same arts and sciences, trades and manufactures, obtained formerly as now, though in some circumstances there may be an improvement, and in others they grow worse; see ( Genesis 4:2 Genesis 4:20-22 ) ( Exodus 31:3-5 ) ; and even such things as are thought of new invention, it may be only owing to the ignorance of former times, history failing to give us an account of them; thus the art of printing, the making of gunpowder, and the use of guns and bombs, and of the lodestone and mariner’s compass, were thought to be of no long standing; and yet, according to the Chinese histories, that people were in possession of these things hundreds of years before; the circulation of the blood, supposed to be first found out by a countryman of ours in the last century, was known by Solomon, and is thought to be designed by him in ( Ecclesiastes 12:6 ) ; and the like may be observed of other things. The emperor Mark Antonine F6 has the very phrase (ouden kainon) , “nothing new”: so Seneca F7,
“nothing new I see, nothing new I do.”