Ecclesiastes 3
Contemporary English Version

Everything Has Its Time

1Everything on earth

has its own time

and its own season.

2There is a time

for birth and death,

planting and reaping,

3for killing and healing,

destroying and building,

4for crying and laughing,

weeping and dancing,

5for throwing stones

and gathering stones,

embracing and parting.

6There is a time

for finding and losing,

keeping and giving,

7for tearing and sewing,

listening and speaking.

8There is also a time

for love and hate,

for war and peace.

What God Has Given Us To Do

9What do we gain by all our hard work? 10I have seen what difficult things God demands of us. 11God makes everything happen at the right time. Yet none of us can ever fully understand all he has done, and he puts questions in our minds about the past and the future. 12I know the best thing we can do is to always enjoy life, 13because God's gift to us is the happiness we get from our food and drink and from the work we do. 14Everything God has done will last forever; nothing he does can ever be changed. God has done all this, so that we will worship him.

15Everything that happens

has happened before,

and all that will be

has already been—

God does everything

over and over again.+

The Future Is Known Only to God

16Everywhere on earth I saw violence and injustice instead of fairness and justice. 17So I told myself that God has set a time and a place for everything. He will judge everyone, both the wicked and the good. 18I know God is testing us to show us that we are merely animals. 19Like animals we breathe and die, and we are no better off than they are. It just doesn't make sense. 20All living creatures go to the same place. We are made from earth, and we return to earth. 21Who really knows if our spirits go up and the spirits of animals go down into the earth? 22We were meant to enjoy our work, and that's the best thing we can do. We can never know the future.


3.15 God does … again: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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