3 To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven:
2 A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted,
3 A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up,
4 A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 A time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away,
7 A time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak,
8 A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What profit remains for the worker from his toil?
10 I have seen the painful labor and exertion and miserable business which God has given to the sons of men with which to exercise and busy themselves.
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to be glad and to get and do good as long as they live;
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, it endures forever; nothing can be added to it nor anything taken from it. And God does it so that men will [reverently] fear Him [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is].
15 That which is now already has been, and that which is to be already has been; and God seeks that which has passed by [so that history repeats itself].
16 Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice there was wickedness, and that in the place of righteousness wickedness was there also.
17 I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time [appointed] for every matter and purpose and for every work.
18 I said in my heart regarding the subject of the sons of men, God is trying (separating and sifting) them, that they may see that by themselves [under the sun, without God] they are but like beasts.
19 For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts; even [in the end] one thing befalls them both. As the one dies, so dies the other. Yes, they all have one breath and spirit, so that a [a]man has no preeminence over a beast; for all is vanity (emptiness, falsity, and futility)!
20 All go to one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
21 Who knows the spirit of man, whether it goes upward, and the spirit of the beast, whether it goes downward to the earth?
22 So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his portion. For who shall bring him back to see what will happen after he is gone?
Ecclesiastes 3:19Does the Bible really teach that “a man has no preeminence over a beast”? No! The Bible only records that the book of Ecclesiastes says it. Then why is this book in the Bible? Can it possibly be called inspired by God when it makes such “under the sun” pronouncements, some only partially true, others entirely false? Here is the tested answer: “Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching ... reproof... correction, for instruction... in righteousness.” (II Tim. 3:16 asv.) The divine purpose in including Ecclesiastes in the Bible is obvious. It gives a startling picture of how fatal it is for even the wisest of men to substitute man’s “wisdom” for God’s wisdom, and to attempt to live by it. Solomon’s reign began with God, gold, and glory. It ended with bafflement, brass, and bewildered acceptance of man’s having “no preeminence over a beast”!—man, who was made “in the image and likeness of God” (Gen. 1:27) and “but little lower than God [or heavenly beings]”! (Ps. 8:5.)
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