Again I saw all the oppressions that are practiced under the sun. Look, the tears of the oppressed—with no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power—with no one to comfort them.
And I thought the dead, who have already died, more fortunate than the living, who are still alive;
but better than both is the one who has not yet been, and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.
Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from one person's envy of another. This also is vanity and a chasing after wind. a5
Fools fold their hands and consume their own flesh.
Better is a handful with quiet than two handfuls with toil, and a chasing after wind. b7
Again, I saw vanity under the sun:
the case of solitary individuals, without sons or brothers; yet there is no end to all their toil, and their eyes are never satisfied with riches. "For whom am I toiling," they ask, "and depriving myself of pleasure?" This also is vanity and an unhappy business.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (New Revised Standard Bible Version Online)