Ecclesiastes 4
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1Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed-- and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors-- and they have no comforter.1Next I turned to consider all kinds of oppression that exists on earth. Look at the tears of the oppressed— there is no one to comfort them. Power is on the side of their oppressors; so they have no comforters.
2And I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive.2So I commended the dead who had already died as being happier than the living who are still alive.
3But better than both is the one who has never been born, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun.3Better than both of them is someone who has not yet been born, because he hasn't experienced evil on earth.
4And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person's envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.4Then I examined all sorts of work, including all kinds of excellent achievements that create envy in others. This also is pointless and chasing after the wind.
5Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves.5The fool crosses his arms and starves himself.
6Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.6It's better to have one handful of tranquility than to have two handfuls of trouble and to chase after the wind.
7Again I saw something meaningless under the sun:7Then I turned to re-examine something else that is pointless on earth:
8There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. "For whom am I toiling," he asked, "and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?" This too is meaningless-- a miserable business!8Consider someone who is alone, having neither son nor brother. There is no end to all of his work, and he is never satisfied with wealth. "So for whom do I work," he asks, "and deprive myself of pleasure?" This, too, is pointless and a terrible tragedy.
9Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:9Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.
10If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.10If they stumble, the first will lift up his friend—but woe to anyone who is alone when he falls and there is no one to help him get up.
11Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?11Again, if two lie close together, they will keep warm, but how can only one stay warm?
12Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.12If someone attacks one of them, the two of them together will resist. Furthermore, the tri-braided cord is not soon broken.
13Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed a warning.13A poor but wise youth is better than an old but foolish king who will no longer accept correction.
14The youth may have come from prison to the kingship, or he may have been born in poverty within his kingdom.14The former can come out of prison to reign, while the latter, even if born to kingship, may become poor.
15I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed the youth, the king's successor.15I observed everyone who lives and walks on earth, along with the youth who will take the king's place.
16There was no end to all the people who were before them. But those who came later were not pleased with the successor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.16There was no end to all of his subjects or to all of the people who had come before them. But those who come along afterward will not be happy with him. This is also pointless and a chasing after wind.
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Ecclesiastes 3
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