Ecclesiastes 4

1 Again, I observed all the acts of oppression being done under the sun. a Look at the tears of those who are oppressed; they have no one to comfort them. Power is with those who oppress them; they have no one to comfort them. 2So I admired the dead, b who have already died, more than the living, who are still alive. 3But better than either of them is the one who has not yet existed, c who has not seen the evil activity that is done under the sun.

The Loneliness of Wealth

4 I saw that all labor and all skillful work is due to a man’s jealousy of his friend. d This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind. e

5 The fool folds his arms f
and consumes his own flesh. g
6 Better one handful with rest
than two handfuls with effort and a pursuit of the wind. h

7 Again, I saw futility under the sun: 8There is a person without a companion,
Lit person, but there is not a second,
without even a son or brother, and though there is no end to all his struggles, his eyes are still not content with riches. j “So who am I struggling for,” he asks, “and depriving myself from good?” This too is futile and a miserable task.

9 Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. 10 For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? k 12And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

13 Better is a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer pays attention to warnings. l 14 For he came from prison to be king, m even though he was born poor in his kingdom. 15I saw all the living, who move about under the sun, follow
Lit with
a second youth who succeeds him.
16There is no limit to all the
people: Literally sons of man or sons of Adam
people who were before them, yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind. p
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