Ecclesiastes 4
New American Standard Bible 1995NET Bible
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 again considered all the oppression that continually occurs on earth. This is what I saw: The oppressed were in tears, but no one was comforting them; no one delivers them from the power of their oppressors.
2So I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living.2So I considered those who are dead and gone more fortunate than those who are still alive.
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.3But better than both is the one who has not been born and has not seen the evil things that are done on earth.
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.4Then I considered all the skillful work that is done: Surely it is nothing more than competition between one person and another. This also is profitless--like chasing the wind.
5The fool folds his hands and consumes his own flesh.5The fool folds his hands and does no work, so he has nothing to eat but his own flesh.
6One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.6Better is one handful with some rest than two hands full of toil and chasing the wind.
7Then I looked again at vanity under the sun.7So I again considered another futile thing on earth:
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.8A man who is all alone with no companion, he has no children nor siblings; yet there is no end to all his toil, and he is never satisfied with riches. He laments, "For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?" This also is futile and a burdensome task!
9Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.9Two people are better than one, because they can reap more benefit from their labor.
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, one will help his companion up, but pity the person who falls down and has no one to help him up.
11Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?11Furthermore, if two lie down together, they can keep each other warm, but how can one person keep warm by himself?
12And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.12Although an assailant may overpower one person, two can withstand him. Moreover, a three-stranded cord is not quickly broken.
13A poor yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive instruction.13A poor but wise youth is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive advice.
14For he has come out of prison to become king, even though he was born poor in his kingdom.14For he came out of prison to become king, even though he had been born poor in what would become his kingdom.
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 who walk on earth, as well as the successor who would arise in his place.
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 to all the people nor to the past generations, yet future generations will not rejoice in him. This also is profitless and like chasing the wind.
New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. For Permission to Quote Information visit //www.lockman.orgNET Bible copyright © 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. // Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Ecclesiastes 3
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