Old Testament

Ecclesiastes 4
41I looked again, and I saw all the acts of oppression being done under the sun. Just look at the tears of the oppressed, who have no one to comfort them! Their violent oppressors had the upper hand, and there was no one to comfort them.
2So I congratulate the dead, who already have died, more than the living, who are still alive. 3But better than either of them is the one who has never existed, who has never seen the evil done under the sun.
4I also saw that all hard work and all accomplishment are the result of a person's envy of his neighbor. This too is vapor and chasing the wind.
5The fool idly folds his hands and eats his own flesh. 6Better one handful with relaxation than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.
7I looked again and saw another example of meaningless vapor under the sun: 8There was a single person all alone, without even a son or a brother, and there was no end to all his hard work. His eyes also were not satisfied with wealth. “So for whom am I working so hard,” he asks, “and depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is vapor and a miserable task.
9Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their hard work. 10If one of them falls, his companion can lift him up. Pity the person who falls and has no one else to lift him up. 11What's more, if two lie down, they can keep warm, but how can one person keep warm alone? 12Though an attacker can overpower one person, two people together can stand up against him. A rope with three strands is not quickly snapped.
13Better a poor but wise child than an old but foolish king, who no longer knows enough to pay attention to a warning, 14for he came out of prison to rule as king, even though he had been born poor in the land that became his kingdom.[] 15I saw that all the living, all those people walking under the sun, sided with the king's successor, the child who took his place. 16There was no end to all the people who were before them. Yet people who come later will not be pleased with him. This too is vapor and chasing the wind.


  • 4:14 Or but the one born to be king becomes poor. The exact sequence of events in verses 13 to 16 is uncertain.