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Ecclesiastes 3 (Today's New International Version)

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A Time for Everything

1 There is a time1 for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: 2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,2 3 a time to kill3 and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent4 and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. 9 What do workers gain from their toil?5 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.6 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time.7 He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom8 what God has done from beginning to end.9 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink,10 and find satisfaction11 in all their toil--this is the gift of God.12 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.13 15 Whatever is has already been,14 and what will be has been before;15 and God will call the past to account.a 16 And I saw something else under the sun: In the place of judgment--wickedness was there, in the place of justice--wickedness was there. 17 I said to myself, "God will bring into judgment16 both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed."17 18 I also said to myself, "As for human beings, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals.18 19 Surely the fate of human beings19 is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breathb; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.20 21 Who knows if the human spirit rises upward21 and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?" 22 So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to enjoy their work,22 because that is their lot.23 For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?
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