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:

References for Ecclesiastes 3:1

      2 a time to bear and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to root up [what is] planted;

      References for Ecclesiastes 3:2

        • a 3:2 - Or "a time to be born"; MT reads the active form "to bear [children]"
          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} to preoccupy them.

          References for Ecclesiastes 3:10

            • b 3:10 - Literally "the sons of the man"
            • c 3:10 - Or "to be busy"
              11 He has made everything suitable in its time. He also has put {the past} in their hearts, yet no one can grasp what God does from the beginning to the end.

              References for Ecclesiastes 3:11

                • d 3:11 - Literally "eternity"
                  12 So I realized that there is {nothing better} for them than to {rejoice and enjoy themselves} during their lives.

                  References for Ecclesiastes 3:12

                    • e 3:12 - Literally "no good"
                    • f 3:12 - Literally "to rejoice and to do good"
                      13 And for anyone to eat and drink, that is, {to enjoy the fruit of all his toil}, this also is a gift of God.

                      References for Ecclesiastes 3:13

                        • g 3:13 - Literally "to see good in all his toil"
                          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 humans might stand in awe before him.

                          References for Ecclesiastes 3:14

                            • h 3:14 - Or "they"
                              15 What is--it already was, and what will be--it already is, for {God will do what he has done.}

                              References for Ecclesiastes 3:15

                                • i 3:15 - Literally "God seeks [what] is pursued"

                                  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.

                                  References for Ecclesiastes 3:16

                                      17 So I said {to myself}, "God will surely judge the righteous and the wicked, for he has appointed a time [of judgment] for every deed and every work."

                                      References for Ecclesiastes 3:17

                                        • j 3:17 - Literally "in my heart"
                                        • k 3:17 - The MT reads ???? "there," but repointing to ????, "he has appointed," makes better sense
                                          18 I said to myself concerning {humans}, "God sifts them in order to show them that they are like beasts."

                                          References for Ecclesiastes 3:18

                                            • l 3:18 - Literally "the sons of the man"
                                            • m 3:18 - Or "tests"
                                            • n 3:18 - The MT reads active "to see," but causative "to show" is reflected by LXX, Syriac Peshitta, and Latin Vulgate
                                              19 For the fate of {humans} and the fate of the beast is {the same}. The death of the one is like the death of the other, for {both are mortal}. Man has no advantage over the beast, for both are fleeting.

                                              References for Ecclesiastes 3:19

                                                • o 3:19 - Literally "the sons of the man"
                                                • p 3:19 - Literally "[is] one"
                                                • q 3:19 - Literally "and one breath [is] for all"
                                                  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.}

                                                  References for Ecclesiastes 3:22

                                                    • r 3:22 - Literally "For who can bring him to see in what will be after him?"