Ecclesiastes 4
Contemporary English Version

1I looked again and saw people being mistreated everywhere on earth. They were crying, but no one was there to offer comfort, and those who mistreated them were powerful. 2I said to myself, “The dead are better off than the living. 3But 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.”

4Then I realized that we work and do wonderful things just because we are jealous of others. This makes no more sense than chasing the wind.+

5Fools will fold their hands

and starve to death.

6Yet a very little food

eaten in peace

is better than twice as much

earned from overwork

and chasing the wind.+

7Once again I saw that nothing on earth makes sense. 8For example, some people don't have friends or family. But they are never satisfied with what they own, and they never stop working to get more. They should ask themselves, “Why am I always working to have more? Who will get what I leave behind?” What a senseless and miserable life!

It Is Better To Have a Friend

9You are better having a friend than to be all alone, because then you will get more enjoyment out of what you earn. 10If you fall, your friend can help you up. But if you fall without having a friend nearby, you are really in trouble. 11If you sleep alone, you won't have anyone to keep you warm on a cold night. 12Someone might be able to beat up one of you, but not both of you. As the saying goes, “A rope made from three strands of cord is hard to break.”

13You may be poor and young, but if you are wise, you are better off than a foolish old king who won't listen to advice. 14Even if you were not born into the royal family and have been a prisoner and poor, you can still be king. 15I once saw everyone in the world follow a young leader who came to power after the king was gone. 16His followers could not even be counted. But years from now, no one will praise him—this makes no more sense than chasing the wind.+


4.4 chasing the wind: See the note at 1.14.
4.6 chasing the wind: See the note at 1.14.
4.16 chasing the wind: See the note at 1.14.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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