Ecclesiastes 3 Lexham English Bible (LEB)
God Has Ordained the Ebb and Flow of Human Activities
3 For everything there is an appointed time, a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to bear[a] and a time to die;
9 What does the worker gain in his toil?
No One Understands God’s Mysterious Plan
10 I have seen the busyness God gives to humans[b] to preoccupy[c] them. 11 He has made everything suitable in its time. He also has put the past[d] in their hearts, yet no one can grasp what God does from the beginning to the end. 12 So I realized that there is nothing better[e] for them than to rejoice and enjoy themselves[f] during their lives. 13 And for anyone to eat and drink, that is, to enjoy the fruit of all his toil,[g] this also is a gift of God.
14 I know everything God does endures forever;
God’s Mysterious Plan Allows Injustice to Exist in the World
16 I saw something else under the sun: instead of justice there was evil; instead of righteousness there was wickedness. 17 So I said to myself,[j] “God will surely judge the righteous and the wicked, for he has appointed[k] a time of judgment for every deed and every work.”
18 I said to myself concerning humans,[l] “God sifts[m] them in order to show[n] them that they are like beasts.” 19 For the fate of humans[o] and the fate of the beast is the same.[p] The death of the one is like the death of the other, for both are mortal.[q] Man has no advantage over the beast, for both are fleeting. 20 Both go to one place—both came from dust and both return to dust. 21 For no one knows whether the spirit of a human ascends to heaven and whether the spirit of the beast descends to the ground!
22 So I concluded that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy the fruit of his labor, for this is his lot in life. For no one knows what will happen in the future.[r]