Ecclesiastes 3Expanded Bible (EXB)
There Is a Time for Everything
3 There is a ·time [season] for everything,
God Controls His World
9 ·Do [L What do] people really ·gain anything [profit] from their ·work [toil; 1:3]? 10 I saw the ·hard work [task] God has given people to ·do [keep them occupied; 1:13]. 11 God has ·given them a desire to know the future [L placed eternity/an awareness of time/or ignorance in their hearts]. He ·does everything just right and on time [L makes everything appropriate/beautiful in its time], but people can never ·completely understand what he is doing [L discover/find the work that God does from beginning to end; C humans cannot discern the “right time”]. 12 So I ·realize [know] that ·the best thing [L there is nothing better] for them is to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live. 13 God wants all people to eat and drink and be happy in their ·work [toil], which are gifts from God [2:24–26; 3:22; 5:18–20; 8:15; 9:7–10; C the little pleasures are distractions from the meaningless world]. 14 I know that everything God does will continue forever. People cannot add anything to what God has done, and they cannot take anything away from it. God does it this way to make people ·respect [or be afraid of; 5:7; 7:18; 8:12, 13] him.
15 What happens now has happened in the past,
Unfairness on Earth
16 I also saw this ·here on earth [L under the sun; 1:3]:
18 I ·decided [L said in my heart concerning the human race] that God ·leaves it the way it is to test people and [L tests them] to show them they are just like animals. 19 The ·same thing happens to animals and to people [L fate of people and the fate of animals are the same/one fate]; they both have the same breath, so they both die. People ·are no better off than [have no advantage over] the animals, because everything is useless [1:2]. 20 ·Both end up the same way [All go to the same place]; both came from dust and both will go back to dust. 21 Who ·can be sure [knows] that the human spirit goes up above and that the spirit of an animal goes down into the ground? 22 So I saw that ·the best thing people can do is [L there is nothing better for people than] to ·enjoy [rejoice in] their work, because that is ·all they have [L their reward; 2:24–26; 3:12–14; 5:18–20; 8:15; 9:7–10; C the little pleasures are distractions from the meaningless world]. ·No one can help another person [L Who can bring them to…?] see what will happen in the future.
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