Ecclesiastes 4
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1So I again considered all the oppression that continually occurs on earth. This is what I saw: The oppressed were in tears, but no one was comforting them; no one delivers them from the power of their oppressors. 1Again I looked, and I considered all the oppression taking place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, and they had no comforter; the power lay in the hands of their oppressors, and there was no comforter.
2So I considered those who are dead and gone more fortunate than those who are still alive. 2So I admired the dead, who had already died, above the living, who are still alive.
3But better than both is the one who has not been born and has not seen the evil things that are done on earth. 3But better than both is he who has not yet existed, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun.
4Then I considered all the skillful work that is done: Surely it is nothing more than competition between one person and another. This also is profitless--like chasing the wind. 4I saw that all labor and success spring from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.
5The fool folds his hands and does no work, so he has nothing to eat but his own flesh. 5The fool folds his hands and consumes his own flesh.
6Better is one handful with some rest than two hands full of toil and chasing the wind. 6Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and pursuit of the wind.
7So I again considered another futile thing on earth: 7Again, I saw futility under the sun.
8A man who is all alone with no companion, he has no children nor siblings; yet there is no end to all his toil, and he is never satisfied with riches. He laments, "For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?" This also is futile and a burdensome task! 8There is a man all alone, without even a son or brother. And though there is no end to his labor, his eyes are still not content with his wealth: “For whom do I toil and bereave my soul of enjoyment?” This too is futile—a miserable task.
9Two people are better than one, because they can reap more benefit from their labor. 9Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.
10For if they fall, one will help his companion up, but pity the person who falls down and has no one to help him up. 10For if one falls down, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to help him up!
11Furthermore, if two lie down together, they can keep each other warm, but how can one person keep warm by himself? 11Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone?
12Although an assailant may overpower one person, two can withstand him. Moreover, a three-stranded cord is not quickly broken. 12And though one may be overpowered, two can resist. Moreover, a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
13A poor but wise youth is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive advice. 13Better is a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to take a warning.
14For he came out of prison to become king, even though he had been born poor in what would become his kingdom. 14For the youth has come from the prison to the kingship, though he was born poor in his own kingdom.
15I considered all the living who walk on earth, as well as the successor who would arise in his place. 15I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed this second one, the youth who succeeded the king.
16There is no end to all the people nor to the past generations, yet future generations will not rejoice in him. This also is profitless and like chasing the wind. 16There is no limit to all the people who were before them. Yet the successor will not be celebrated by those who come even later. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.
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Ecclesiastes 3
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