Ecclesiastes 3-5 New King James Version (NKJV)
Everything Has Its Time
3 To everything there is a season,
2 A time [a]to be born,
The God-Given Task
9 What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? 10 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
12 I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, 13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.
14 I know that whatever God does,
Injustice Seems to Prevail
16 Moreover I saw under the sun:
17 I said in my heart,
“God shall judge the righteous and the wicked,
18 I said in my heart, “Concerning the condition of the sons of men, God tests them, that they may see that they themselves are like animals.” 19 For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. 20 All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust. 21 Who[g] knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth? 22 So I perceived that nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his [h]heritage. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?
The Uselessness of Selfish Toil
4 Then I returned and considered all the oppression that is done under the sun:
And look! The tears of the oppressed,
The Vanity of Selfish Toil
4 Again, I saw that for all toil and every skillful work a man is envied by his neighbor. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.
5 The fool folds his hands
7 Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun:
8 There is one alone, without [j]companion:
The Value of a Friend
9 Two are better than one,
Popularity Passes Away
13 Better a poor and wise youth
Fear God, Keep Your Vows
5 Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.
2 Do not be rash with your mouth,
4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it;
6 Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger of God that it was an error. Why should God be angry at your [n]excuse and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.
The Vanity of Gain and Honor
8 If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent [o]perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them.
9 Moreover the profit of the land is for all; even the king is served from the field.
10 He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver;
11 When goods increase,
12 The sleep of a laboring man is sweet,
13 There is a severe evil which I have seen under the sun:
16 And this also is a severe evil—
18 Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his [q]heritage. 19 As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his [r]heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.
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