Ecclesiastes 4

The Evil of Oppression

1 Again, I observed all the oppression taking place under the sun. [I] saw the tears of the oppressed, and they had no comforter; the power [lay] in the hands [of their oppressors] , and there was no comforter. 2 So I admired the dead, who had already died, above the living, who are still alive. 3 But better than both is he who has not yet existed, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun. 4 I 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. 5 The fool folds his hands and consumes his own flesh. 6 Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and pursuit of the wind. 7 Again, I saw futility under the sun. 8 There is a man all alone, without even a son or brother. And though there is no end to his labor, his eyes are still not content with his wealth: “For whom do I toil and bereave my soul of enjoyment?” This too is futile— a miserable task. 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. 10 For if one falls down, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to help him up! 11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one keep warm {alone} ? 12 And though one may be overpowered, two can resist. Moreover, a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

The Futility of Power

13 Better is a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to take a warning. 14 For [the youth] came from prison to be king, even though he was born poor in his kingdom. 15 I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed this second child, who succeeded [the king] . 16 There is no limit to all the people who were before them, yet those who come later will not rejoice in [the successor] . This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.
Copyright information for BSB