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Ecclesiastes 4:1-9 (New International Version)

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Oppression, Toil, Friendlessness

1 Again I looked and saw all the oppression1 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 2 And I declared that the dead,3 who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive.4 3 But better than both is he who has not yet been,5 who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun.6 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.7 5 The fool folds his hands8 and ruins himself. 6 Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil9 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 content10 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:
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