Ecclesiastes 4 MSG/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 Next I turned my attention to all the outrageous violence that takes place on this planet - the tears of the victims, no one to comfort them; the iron grip of oppressors, no one to rescue the victims from them. 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 So I congratulated the dead who are already dead instead of the living 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 luckier than the dead or the living is the person who has never even been, who has never seen the bad business that takes place on this earth. 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 Then I observed all the work and ambition motivated by envy. What a waste! Smoke. And spitting into 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 The fool sits back and takes it easy, His sloth is slow suicide. 5 The fool folds his hands and ruins himself.
6 One handful of peaceful repose Is better than two fistfuls of worried work - More spitting into the wind. 6 Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.
7 I turned my head and saw yet another wisp of smoke on its way to nothingness: 7 Again I saw something meaningless under the sun:
8 a solitary person, completely alone - no children, no family, no friends - yet working obsessively late into the night, compulsively greedy for more and more, never bothering to ask, "Why am I working like a dog, never having any fun? And who cares?" More smoke. A bad business. 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 It's better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:
10 And if one falls down, the other helps, But if there's no one to help, tough! 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 Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
12 By yourself you're unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn't easily snapped. 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
13 A poor youngster with some wisdom is better off than an old but foolish king who doesn't know which end is up. 13 Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to take warning.
14 I saw a youth just like this start with nothing and go from rags to riches, 14 The youth may have come from prison to the kingship, or he may have been born in poverty within his kingdom.
15 and I saw everyone rally to the rule of this young successor to the king. 15 I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed the youth, the king's successor.
16 Even so, the excitement died quickly, the throngs of people soon lost interest. Can't you see it's only smoke? And spitting into the wind? 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.