New Living Translation
But most fortunate of all are those who are not yet born. For they have not seen all the evil that is done under the sun.
King James Bible
Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
Darby Bible Translation
and more fortunate than both is he who hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
World English Bible
Yes, better than them both is him who has not yet been, who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
Young's Literal Translation
And better than both of them is he who hath not yet been, in that he hath not seen the evil work that hath been done under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 4:3 Parallel
CommentaryWesley's Notes on the Bible
4:3 Better is he - Who was never born. Not seen - Not felt: for as seeing good is put for enjoying it, so seeing evil is put for suffering it.
It is not surprising that the book of Ecclesiastes had a struggle to maintain its place in the canon, and it was probably only its reputed Solomonic authorship and the last two verses of the book that permanently secured its position at the synod of Jamnia in 90 A.D. The Jewish scholars of the first century A.D. were struck by the manner in which it contradicted itself: e.g., "I praised the dead more than the living," iv. 2, "A living dog is better than a dead lion," ix. 4; but they were still more …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
For the days are coming when they will say, 'Fortunate indeed are the women who are childless, the wombs that have not borne a child and the breasts that have never nursed.'
"Why wasn't I born dead? Why didn't I die as I came from the womb?
So I came to hate life because everything done here under the sun is so troubling. Everything is meaningless--like chasing the wind.
A man might have a hundred children and live to be very old. But if he finds no satisfaction in life and doesn't even get a decent burial, it would have been better for him to be born dead.
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