Ecclesiastes 4:4-16 NLT/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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New Living Translation (NLT) New International Version (NIV)
4 Then I observed that most people are motivated to success by their envy of their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless, 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 Foolish people refuse to work and almost starve. 5 The fool folds his hands and ruins himself.
6 They feel it is better to be lazy and barely survive than to work hard, especially when in the long run everything is so futile. 6 Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.
7 I observed yet another example of meaninglessness in our world. 7 Again I saw something meaningless under the sun:
8 This is the case of a man who is all alone, without a child or a brother, yet who works hard to gain as much wealth as he can. But then he asks himself, "Who am I working for? Why am I giving up so much pleasure now?" It is all so meaningless and depressing. 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 people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:
10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble. 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 And on a cold night, two under the same blanket can gain warmth from each other. 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 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
13 It is better to be a poor but wise youth than to be an old and foolish king who refuses all advice. 13 Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to take warning.
14 Such a youth could come from prison and succeed. He might even become king, though he was born in poverty. 14 The youth may have come from prison to the kingship, or he may have been born in poverty within his kingdom.
15 Everyone is eager to help such a youth, even to help him take the throne. 15 I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed the youth, the king's successor.
16 He might become the leader of millions and be very popular. But then the next generation grows up and rejects him! So again, it is all meaningless, like chasing 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.