Ecclesiastes 4
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The Evils of Oppression

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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.1Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them.1Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them.1So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.1Again, I observed all the acts of oppression being done under the sun. Look at the tears of those who are oppressed; they have no one to comfort them. Power is with those who oppress them; they have no one to comfort them.
2And I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive.2And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive.2So I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living.2Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.2So I admired the dead, who have already died, more 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.3But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.3But better off than both of them is the one who has never existed, who has never seen the evil activity that is done under the sun.3Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.3But better than either of them is the one who has not yet existed, who has not seen the evil activity that is done under the sun.
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 saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.4I have seen that every labor and every skill which is done is the result of rivalry between a man and his neighbor. This too is vanity and striving after wind.4Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.4I saw that all labor and all skillful work is due to a man's jealousy of his friend. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.
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5Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves.5The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh.5The fool folds his hands and consumes his own flesh.5The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.5The fool folds his arms and consumes his own flesh.
6Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.6Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.6One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.6Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.6Better one handful with rest than two handfuls with effort and a pursuit of the wind.
7Again I saw something meaningless under the sun:7Again, I saw vanity under the sun:7Then I looked again at vanity under the sun.7Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun.7Again, I saw futility under the sun:
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!8one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business.8There was a certain man without a dependent, having neither a son nor a brother, yet there was no end to all his labor. Indeed, his eyes were not satisfied with riches and he never asked, "And for whom am I laboring and depriving myself of pleasure?" This too is vanity and it is a grievous task.8There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.8There is a person without a companion, without even a son or brother, and though there is no end to all his struggles, his eyes are still not content with riches. "So who am I struggling for," he asks, "and depriving myself from good?" This too is futile and a miserable task.
9Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:9Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.9Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.9Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.9Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts.
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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.10For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!10For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.10For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.10For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.
11Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?11Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?11Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?11Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?11Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm?
12Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.12And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.12And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.12And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.12And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

The Futility of Power

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13Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed a warning.13Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice.13A poor yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive instruction.13Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.13Better is a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer pays attention to warnings.
14The youth may have come from prison to the kingship, or he may have been born in poverty within his kingdom.14For he went from prison to the throne, though in his own kingdom he had been born poor.14For he has come out of prison to become king, even though he was born poor in his kingdom.14For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.14For he came from prison to be king, even though he was born poor in his kingdom.
15I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed the youth, the king's successor.15I saw all the living who move about under the sun, along with that youth who was to stand in the king’s place.15I have seen all the living under the sun throng to the side of the second lad who replaces him.15I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead.15I saw all the living, who move about under the sun, follow a second youth who succeeds him.
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 of all the people, all of whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind.16There is no end to all the people, to all who were before them, and even the ones who will come later will not be happy with him, for this too is vanity and striving after wind.16There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.16There is no limit to all the people who were before them, yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.



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