Ecclesiastes Chapter 4 |
1I further observed all the oppression that goes on under the sun: the tears of the oppressed, with none to comfort them; and the power of their oppressors—with none to comfort them. 2Then I accounted those who died long since more fortunate than those who are still living; 3and happier than either are those who have not yet come into being and have never witnessed the miseries that go on under the sun.
4I have also noted that all labor and skillful enterprise come from men’s envy of each other—another futility and pursuit of wind!
The fool folds his hands together
And has to eat his own flesh.
6[But no less truly,]
Better is a handful of gratification
Than two fistfuls of labor which is pursuit of wind.
7And I have noted this further futility under the sun: 8the case of the man who is alone, with no companion, who has neither son nor brother; yet he amasses wealth without limit, and his eye is never sated with riches. For whom, now, is he amassing it while denying himself enjoyment? That too is a futility and an unhappy business.
9Two are better off than one, in that they have greater benefit from their earnings. 10For should they fall, one can raise the other; but woe betide him who is alone and falls with no companion to raise him! 11Further, when two lie together they are warm; but how can he who is alone get warm? 12Also, if one attacks, two can stand up to him. A threefold cord is not readily broken!
13Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer has the sense to heed warnings. 14For the former can emerge from a dungeon to become king; while the latter, even if born to kingship, can become a pauper. 15[However,] I reflected about all the living who walk under the sun with that youthful successor who steps into his place. 16Unnumbered are the multitudes of all those who preceded them; and later generations will not acclaim him either. For that too is futile and pursuit of wind.
17Be not overeager to go to the House of God: more acceptable is obedience than the offering of fools, for they know nothing [but] to do wrong.