English Standard Version
Evil Under the Sun
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. 2And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. 3But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.
5The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh.
6Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.
7Again, I saw vanity under the sun: 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.
9Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 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! 11Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
13Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice. 14For he went from prison to the throne, though in his own kingdom he had been born poor. 15I saw all the living who move about under the sun, along with thatb youth who was to stand in the king’sc place. 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.
a 4 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a "vapor" or "mere breath"; also verses 7, 8, 16 (see note on 1:2)
b 15 Hebrew the second
c 15 Hebrew his
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