Ecclesiastes 3 (Lexham English Bible)

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God Has Ordained the Ebb and Flow of Human Activities

1 For everything there [is] an appointed time, a time for every matter under heaven: 2 a time to beara and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to root up [what is] planted; 3 a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; 5 a time to throw away stones and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 a time to seek and a time to lose; a time to keep and a time to throw away; 7 a time to tear and a time to sew; a time to be silent and a time to speak; 8 a time to love and a time to hate; a time [for] war and a time [for] peace. 9 What does the worker gain in his toil?

No One Understands God’s Mysterious Plan

10 I have seen the busyness God gives to {humans}b to preoccupyc them. 11 He has made everything suitable in its time. He also has put {the past}d in their hearts, yet no one can grasp what God does from the beginning to the end. 12 So I realized that there is {nothing better}e for them than to {rejoice and enjoy themselves}f during their lives. 13 And for anyone to eat and drink, that is, {to enjoy the fruit of all his toil},g this also is a gift of God. 14 I know everything God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, and nothing can be taken from it, for God so acts that humansh might stand in awe before him. 15 What is--it already was, and what will be--it already is, for {God will do what he has done.}i

God’s Mysterious Plan Allows Injustice to Exist in the World

16 I saw something else under the sun: instead of justice [there was] evil; instead of righteousness [there was] wickedness. 17 So I said {to myself},j "God will surely judge the righteous and the wicked, for he has appointedk a time [of judgment] for every deed and every work." 18 I said to myself concerning {humans},l "God siftsm them in order to shown them that they are like beasts." 19 For the fate of {humans}o and the fate of the beast is {the same}.p The death of the one is like the death of the other, for {both are mortal}.q Man has no advantage over the beast, for both are fleeting. 20 Both go to one place--both came from dust and both return to dust. 21 For no one knows [whether] the spirit of a human ascends [to heaven] and [whether] the spirit of the beast descends to the ground! 22 So I concluded that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy [the fruit of] his labor, for this is his lot in life. {For no one knows what will happen in the future.}r
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