Ecclesiastes 4 GNT/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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Good News Translation (GNT) New International Version (NIV)
1 Then I looked again at all the injustice that goes on in this world. The oppressed were crying, and no one would help them. No one would help them, because their oppressors had power on their side. 1 Again I looked and saw all the oppression 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 I envy those who are dead and gone; they are better off than those who are still alive. 2 And I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive.
3 But better off than either are those who have never been born, who have never seen the injustice that goes on in this world. 3 But better than both is he who has not yet been, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun.
4 I have also learned why people work so hard to succeed: it is because they envy the things their neighbors have. But it is useless. It is like chasing the wind. 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.
5 They say that we would be fools to fold our hands and let ourselves starve to death. 5 The fool folds his hands and ruins himself.
6 Maybe so, but it is better to have only a little, with peace of mind, than be busy all the time with both hands, trying to catch the wind. 6 Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.
7 I have noticed something else in life that is useless. 7 Again I saw something meaningless under the sun:
8 Here is someone who lives alone. He has no son, no brother, yet he is always working, never satisfied with the wealth he has. For whom is he working so hard and denying himself any pleasure? This is useless, too - and a miserable way to live. 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 content 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 off than one, because together they can work more effectively. 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:
10 If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone and falls, it's just too bad, because there is no one to help him. 10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
11 If it is cold, two can sleep together and stay warm, but how can you keep warm by yourself? 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Two people can resist an attack that would defeat one person alone. A rope made of three cords is hard to break. 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
13 Someone may rise from poverty to become king of his country, or go from prison to the throne, but if in his old age he is too foolish to take advice, he is not as well off as a young man who is poor but intelligent. 13 Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to take warning.
15 I thought about all the people who live in this world, and I realized that somewhere among them there is a young man who will take the king's place. 15 The youth may have come from prison to the kingship, or he may have been born in poverty within his kingdom.
16 There may be no limit to the number of people a king rules; when he is gone, no one will be grateful for what he has done. It is useless. It is like chasing the wind. 16 I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed the youth, the king's successor.
16 16 There was no end to all the people who were before them. But those who came later were not pleased with the successor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.