Ecclesiastes 4:3
New International Version
But better than both is the one who has never been born, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun.

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.

English Standard Version
But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.

Berean Study Bible
But better than both is he who has not yet existed, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun.

New American Standard Bible
But 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.

New King James Version
Yet, better than both is he who has never existed, Who has not seen the evil work 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.

Christian Standard Bible
But 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.

Contemporary English Version
But those who have never been born are better off than anyone else, because they have never seen the terrible things that happen on this earth."

Good News Translation
But better off than either are those who have never been born, who have never seen the injustice that goes on in this world.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
But 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.

International Standard Version
Better than both of them is someone who has not yet been born, because he hasn't experienced evil on earth.

NET Bible
But better than both is the one who has not been born and has not seen the evil things that are done on earth.

New Heart 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.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
But the person who hasn't been born yet is better off than both of them. He hasn't seen the evil that is done under the sun.

JPS Tanakh 1917
but better than they both is he that hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

New American Standard 1977
But 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.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And I thought that better is he than both of them who has not yet been, who has not seen the evil works that are done under the sun.

King James 2000 Bible
Yea, better is he than both, who has not yet been, who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

American King James Version
Yes, better is he than both they, which has not yet been, who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

American Standard Version
yea, better than them both did I esteem him that hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

Brenton Septuagint Translation
Better also than both these is he who has not yet been, who has not seen all the evil work that is done under the sun.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And I judged him happier than them both, that is not yet born, nor hath seen the evils that are 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.

English Revised Version
yea, better than them both did I esteem him which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

Webster's Bible Translation
Yes, better is he than both they, 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.
Study Bible
The Evil of Oppression
2So I admired the dead, who had already died, above the living, who are still alive. 3But better than both is he who has not yet existed, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun. 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.…
Cross References
Luke 23:29
Look, the days are coming when people will say, 'Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore, and breasts that never nursed.'

Job 3:11
Why did I not perish at birth; why did I not die as I came from the womb?

Ecclesiastes 2:17
So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. For everything is futile and a pursuit of the wind.

Ecclesiastes 6:3
A man may father a hundred children and live for many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he is unsatisfied with his prosperity and does not even receive a proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he.

Treasury of Scripture

Yes, better is he than both they, which has not yet been, who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

better

Ecclesiastes 6:3-5
If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he…

Job 3:10-16
Because it shut not up the doors of my mother's womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes…

Job 10:18,19
Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me! …

who

Ecclesiastes 1:14
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

Ecclesiastes 2:17
Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

Psalm 55:6-11
And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest…







Lexicon
But better
וְטוֹב֙ (wə·ṭō·wḇ)
Conjunctive waw | Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2896: Pleasant, agreeable, good

than both
מִשְּׁנֵיהֶ֔ם (miš·šə·nê·hem)
Preposition-m | Number - mdc | third person masculine plural
Strong's Hebrew 8147: Two (a cardinal number)

is he who
אֲשֶׁר־ (’ă·šer-)
Pronoun - relative
Strong's Hebrew 834: Who, which, what, that, when, where, how, because, in order that

has not
לֹ֣א (lō)
Adverb - Negative particle
Strong's Hebrew 3808: Not, no

yet
עֲדֶ֖ן (‘ă·ḏen)
Adverb
Strong's Hebrew 5728: Hitherto, still

existed,
הָיָ֑ה (hā·yāh)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1961: To fall out, come to pass, become, be

who
אֲשֶׁ֤ר (’ă·šer)
Pronoun - relative
Strong's Hebrew 834: Who, which, what, that, when, where, how, because, in order that

has not
לֹֽא־ (lō-)
Adverb - Negative particle
Strong's Hebrew 3808: Not, no

seen
רָאָה֙ (rā·’āh)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 7200: To see

the evil
הָרָ֔ע (hā·rā‘)
Article | Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 7451: Bad, evil

that
אֲשֶׁ֥ר (’ă·šer)
Pronoun - relative
Strong's Hebrew 834: Who, which, what, that, when, where, how, because, in order that

is done
נַעֲשָׂ֖ה (na·‘ă·śāh)
Verb - Nifal - Perfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 6213: To do, make

under
תַּ֥חַת (ta·ḥaṯ)
Preposition
Strong's Hebrew 8478: The bottom, below, in lieu of

the sun.
הַשָּֽׁמֶשׁ׃ (haš·šā·meš)
Article | Noun - common singular
Strong's Hebrew 8121: The sun, the east, a ray, a notched battlement
Verse 3. - Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been. Thus we have Job's passionate appeal (Job 3:11), "Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came forth," etc.? And in the Greek poets the sentiment of the text is re-echoed. Thus Theognis, 'Paroen.,' 425 -

Πάντων μὲν μὴ φῦναι ἐπιχθονίοισιν ἄριστον
Μηδ ἐσιδεῖν αὐγὰς ὀξέος ἠελίου
Φύντα δ ὅπως ὤκιστα πύλας Ἀι'´δαο περῆσαι
Καὶ κεῖσθαι πολλὴν γῆν ἐπαμησάμενον

"'Tis best for mortals never to be born,
Nor ever see the swift sun's burning rays;
Next best, when born, to pass the gates of death
Right speedily, and rest beneath the earth."
(Comp. Soph., '(Ed. Colossians,' 1225-1228.) Cicero, 'Tusc. Disp.,' 1:48, renders some lines from a lost play of Euripides to the same effect -

"Nam nos decebat, caetus celebrantes, domum
Lugere, ubi esset aliquis in lucern editus,
Humanae vitae varia reputantes mala;
At qui labores metre finisset graves,
Hunc omni amicos lauds et laetitia exsequi."
Herodotus (5. 4) relates how some of the Thracians had a custom of bemoaning a birth and rejoicing at a death. In our own Burial Service we thank God for delivering the departed "out of the miseries of this sinful world." Keble alludes to this barbarian custom in his poem on' The Third Sunday after Easter.' Speaking of a Christian mother's joy at a child's birth, he says -

"No need for her to weep
Like Thracian wives of yore,
Save when in rapture still and deep
Her thankful heart runs o'er.
They mourned to trust their treasure on the main,
Sure of the storm, unknowing of their guide:
Welcome to her the peril and the pain,
For well she knows the home where they may safely hide."
(See on Ecclesiastes 7:1; comp. Gray's ode 'On a Prospect of Eton College;' and for the classical notion concerning life and death, see Plato, 'Laches,' p. 195, 1), sqq.; 'Gorgias,' p. 512, A.) The Buddhist religion does not recommend suicide as an escape from the evils of life. It indeed regards man as master of his own life; but it considers suicide foolish, as it merely transfers a man's position, the thread of life having to be taken up again under less favorable circumstances. See 'A Buddhist Catechism,' by Subhadra Bhikshu (London: Redway, 1890). Who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun. He repeats the words, "under the sun," from ver. 1, in order to show that he is speaking of facts that came under his own regard - outward phenomena which any thoughtful observer might notice (so again ver. 7). 4:1-3 It grieved Solomon to see might prevail against right. Wherever we turn, we see melancholy proofs of the wickedness and misery of mankind, who try to create trouble to themselves and to each other. Being thus hardly used, men are tempted to hate and despise life. But a good man, though badly off while in this world, cannot have cause to wish he had never been born, since he is glorifying the Lord, even in the fires, and will be happy at last, for ever happy. Ungodly men have most cause to wish the continuance of life with all its vexations, as a far more miserable condition awaits them if they die in their sins. If human and worldly things were our chief good, not to exist would be preferable to life, considering the various oppressions here below.
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Alphabetical: activity been better both But done evil existed has he is never not of off one seen sun than that the them under who yet

OT Poetry: Ecclesiastes 4:3 Yes better than them both is him (Ecclesiast. Ec Ecc Eccles.) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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