Ecclesiastes 4
International Standard VersionEnglish Standard Version
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.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.
2So I commended the dead who had already died as being 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.
3Better than both of them is someone who has not yet been born, because he hasn't experienced evil on earth. 3But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.
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. 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.
5The fool crosses his arms and starves himself.5The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh.
6It's better to have one handful of tranquility than to have two handfuls of trouble and to chase after the wind.6Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.
7Then I turned to re-examine something else that is pointless on earth: 7Again, I saw vanity under the sun:
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.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 return for their labor. 9Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
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. 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 close together, they will keep warm, but how can only one stay warm? 11Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?
12If someone attacks one of them, the two of them together will resist. Furthermore, the tri-braided cord is not soon broken.12And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
13A poor but wise youth is better than an old but foolish king who will no longer accept correction.13Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice.
14The former can come out of prison to reign, while the latter, even if born to kingship, may become poor.14For he went from prison to the throne, though in his own kingdom he had been born poor.
15I observed everyone who lives and walks on earth, along with the youth who will take the king's place. 15I saw all the living who move about under the sun, along with that youth who was to stand in the king’s place.
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.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.
The Holy Bible: International Standard Version® Release 2.1 Copyright © 1996-2012 The ISV Foundation
ESV Text Edition: 2016. The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. The ESV® text has been reproduced in cooperation with and by permission of Good News Publishers. Unauthorized reproduction of this publication is prohibited. All rights reserved.
Ecclesiastes 3
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