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Ecclesiastes 4 :: English Standard Version (ESV)

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Evil Under the Sun

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 4:1 - Again I saw all the oppressions that are done 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.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 4:2 - And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 4:3 - But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 4:4 - Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity[fn] and a striving after wind.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 4:5 - The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 4:6 - Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 4:7 - Again, I saw vanity under the sun:
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 4:8 - one person who has no other, 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.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 4:9 - Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 4:10 - 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!
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 4:11 - Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 4:12 - And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 4:13 - Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 4:14 - For he went from prison to the throne, though in his own kingdom he had been born poor.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 4:15 - I saw all the living who move about under the sun, along with that[fn] youth who was to stand in the king’s[fn] place.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 4:16 - 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 vanity and a striving after wind.
ESV Footnotes
The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath”; also verses 7, 8, 16 (see note on 1:2)
Hebrew the second
Hebrew his

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001, 2007, 2011, 2016 by Crossway Books and Bibles, a Publishing Ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

See detailed copyright information.

For more information on this translation, see the ESV Preface.

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