Ecclesiastes - Chapter 4 | New International Version

  • 1. Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed-- and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors-- and they have no comforter.
  • 2. And I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive.
  • 3. But better than both is he who has not yet been, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun.
  • 4. And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man's envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
  • 5. The fool folds his hands and ruins himself.
  • 6. Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.
  • 7. Again I saw something meaningless under the sun:
  • 8. There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. "For whom am I toiling," he asked, "and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?" This too is meaningless-- a miserable business!
  • 9. Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:
  • 10. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
  • 11. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
  • 12. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
  • 13. Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to take warning.
  • 14. The youth may have come from prison to the kingship, or he may have been born in poverty within his kingdom.
  • 15. I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed the youth, the king's successor.
  • 16. There was no end to all the people who were before them. But those who came later were not pleased with the successor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.