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Ecclesiastes 4 RSV/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 Again I saw all the oppressions that are practiced under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort 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 And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than 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 better than both is he who has not yet been, and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun. 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 saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man's envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after 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 folds his hands, and eats his own flesh. 5 The fool folds his hands and ruins himself.
6 Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind. 6 Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.
7 Again, I saw vanity under the sun: 7 Again I saw something meaningless under the sun:
8 a person who has no one, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, "For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?" This also is vanity and an unhappy 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 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up. 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 Again, if two lie together, they are warm; but how can one be warm alone? 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?
12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken. 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
13 Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king, who will no longer take advice, 13 Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to take warning.
14 even though he had gone from prison to the throne or in his own kingdom had been born poor. 14 The youth may have come from prison to the kingship, or he may have been born in poverty within his kingdom.
15 I saw all the living who move about under the sun, as well as that youth, who was to stand in his place; 15 I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed the youth, the king's successor.
16 there was no end of all the people; he was over all of them. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after 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.