Ecclesiastes 3 Common English Bible (CEB)
A season for everything
3 There’s a season for everything
9 What do workers gain from all their hard work? 10 I have observed the task that God has given human beings. 11 God has made everything fitting in its time, but has also placed eternity in their hearts, without enabling them to discover what God has done from beginning to end.
12 I know that there’s nothing better for them but to enjoy themselves and do what’s good while they live. 13 Moreover, this is the gift of God: that all people should eat, drink, and enjoy the results of their hard work. 14 I know that whatever God does will last forever; it’s impossible to add to it or take away from it. God has done this so that people are reverent before him.[a] 15 Whatever happens has already happened, and whatever will happen has already happened before. And God looks after what is driven away.[b]
Enjoy what you do now
16 I saw something else under the sun: in the place of justice, there was wickedness; and in the place of what was right, there was wickedness again! 17 I thought to myself, God will judge both righteous and wicked people, because there’s a time for every matter and every deed. 18 I also thought, Where human beings are concerned, God tests them to show them that they are but animals 19 because human beings and animals share the same fate. One dies just like the other—both have the same life-breath. Humans are no better off than animals because everything is pointless.
20 All go to the same place:
21 Who knows if a human being’s life-breath rises upward while an animal’s life-breath descends into the earth? 22 So I perceived that there was nothing better for human beings but to enjoy what they do because that’s what they’re allotted in life. Who, really, is able to see what will happen in the future?
Ecclesiastes 3 Living Bible (TLB)
3 There is a right time for everything:
2 A time to be born;
9 What does one really get from hard work? 10 I have thought about this in connection with all the various kinds of work God has given to mankind. 11 Everything is appropriate in its own time. But though God has planted eternity in the hearts of men, even so, many cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I conclude that, first, there is nothing better for a man than to be happy and to enjoy himself as long as he can; 13 and second, that he should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of his labors, for these are gifts from God.
14 And I know this, that whatever God does is final—nothing can be added or taken from it; God’s purpose in this is that man should fear the all-powerful God.[a]
15 Whatever is has been long ago; and whatever is going to be has been before; God brings to pass again what was in the distant past and disappeared.[b]
16 Moreover, I notice that throughout the earth justice is giving way to crime, and even the police courts are corrupt. 17 I said to myself, “In due season God will judge everything man does, both good and bad.”
18 And then I realized that God is letting the world go on its sinful way so that he can test mankind, and so that men themselves will see that they are no better than beasts. 19 For men and animals both breathe the same air, and both die. So mankind has no real advantage over the beasts; what an absurdity! 20 All go to one place—the dust from which they came and to which they must return. 21 For who can prove that the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of animals goes downward into dust? 22 So I saw that there is nothing better for men than that they should be happy in their work, for that is what they are here for, and no one can bring them back to life to enjoy what will be in the future, so let them enjoy it now.