Ecclesiastes 4:9-16

9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
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!
11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, 1but 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.
13 Better was 2a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how 3to take advice.
14 For he went 4from prison to the throne, though in his own kingdom he had been born poor.
15 I saw all the living who move about under the sun, along with that[a] youth who was to stand in the king's[b] place.
16 There was no end of all the people, all of whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is 5vanity and a striving after wind.

Images for Ecclesiastes 4:9-16

Ecclesiastes 4:9-16 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO ECCLESIASTES 4

In this chapter the wise man reassumes the consideration of the case of the abuse of power, to show that there is no happiness in this world, in grandeur and authority enjoyed; since, as he had observed before, on the one hand, the oppressor shall be judged and condemned at the great day of account; so, on the other hand, the oppressed have their lives made so uncomfortable, that the dead are preferred unto them, and unborn persons to them both, Ec 4:1-3; Another vanity he observes, that whereas men expect to be happy by their diligence and industry, this brings upon them the envy of others, Ec 4:4; hence some, on the other hand, place their happiness in sloth and ease, which is another vanity, Ec 4:5,6; and others again in covetousness; who are described by their unsocial life, toilsome labour, unsatisfied desires, and withholding good things from themselves, Ec 4:7,8; upon which some things are said, to show the benefits of a social life, Ec 4:9-12. And the chapter is concluded with exposing the vanity of the highest instance of worldly power and grandeur, royal dignity, through the folly of a king; the effects of which are mentioned, Ec 4:13,14; and through the fickleness of the people, who are soon weary of a prince on the throne, and court his successor, Ec 4:15,16.

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Cross References 5

  • 1. See 1 Kings 1:1-4
  • 2. [Ecclesiastes 9:15, 16]
  • 3. [Proverbs 12:15]
  • 4. See Gen. 41:14, 41-43
  • 5. See Ecclesiastes 1:14

Footnotes 2

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.