A Time for Everything
3 There is a season (a time appointed) for everything and a time for every delight and event or purpose under heaven—
A time to be born and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.(A)
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to throw away stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to [a]tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to keep silent and a time to speak.(B)
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.(C)
9 What profit is there for the worker from that in which he labors? 10 I have seen the task which God has given to the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.
God Set Eternity in the Heart of Man
11 He has made everything beautiful and appropriate in its time. He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God]—yet man cannot find out (comprehend, grasp) what God has done (His overall plan) from the beginning to the end.
12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good as long as they live; 13 and also that every man should eat and drink and see and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God. 14 I know that whatever God does, it endures forever; nothing can be added to it nor can anything be taken from it, for God does it so that men will fear and worship Him [with awe-filled reverence, knowing that He is God].(D) 15 That which is has already been, and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by [so that history repeats itself].
16 Moreover, I have seen under the sun that in the place of justice there is wickedness, and in the place of righteousness there is wickedness. 17 I said to myself, “God will judge both the righteous and the wicked,” for there is a time [appointed] for every matter and for every deed. 18 I said to myself regarding the sons of men, “God is surely testing them in order for them to see that [by themselves, without God] they are [only] animals.” 19 For the [earthly] fate of the sons of men and the fate of animals is the same. As one dies, so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no preeminence or advantage for man [in and of himself] over an animal, for all is vanity. 20 All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust. 21 Who knows if the spirit of man ascends upward and the spirit of the animal descends downward to the earth? 22 So I have seen that there is nothing better than that a man should be happy in his own works and activities, for that is his portion (share). For who will bring him [back] to see what will happen after he is gone?
- Ecclesiastes 3:7 This may be a reference to the practice of tearing one’s clothes as a sign of mourning which began early among the Hebrews. Cf Gen 37:29. There are many references to this in the Old Testament. Solomon was no doubt familiar with this practice as his own father engaged in it with his contemporaries. Cf 2 Sam 3:31.