4 Then I returned and considered all the oppressions that are practiced under the sun: And I beheld the tears of the oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they [too] had no comforter.
2 So I praised and thought more fortunate those who have been long dead than the living, who are still alive.
3 But better than them both [I thought] is he who has not yet been born, who has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.
4 Then I saw that all painful effort in labor and all skill in work comes from man’s rivalry with his neighbor. This is also vanity, a vain striving after the wind and a feeding on it.
5 The fool folds his hands together and eats his own flesh [destroying himself by indolence].
6 Better is a handful with quietness than both hands full with painful effort, a vain striving after the wind and a feeding on it.
7 Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun [in one of its peculiar forms].
8 Here is one alone—no one with him; he neither has child nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his labor, neither is his eye satisfied with riches, neither does he ask, For whom do I labor and deprive myself of good? This is also vanity (emptiness, falsity, and futility); yes, it is a painful effort and an unhappy business.
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good [more satisfying] reward for their labor;
10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
11 Again, if two lie down together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm alone?
12 And though a man might prevail against him who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.
13 Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who [a]no longer knows how to receive counsel (friendly reproof and warning)—
14 Even though [the youth] comes out of prison to reign, while the other, born a king, becomes needy.
15 I saw all the living who walk under the sun with the youth who was to stand up in the king’s stead.
16 There was no end to all the people; he was over all of them. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity (emptiness, falsity, vainglory) and a striving after the wind and a feeding on it.
Ecclesiastes 4:13“Christianity calls upon us to make our old age into an aspect of youth. There is to be no old age in the sense of spiritual exhaustion or moral decrepitude or misanthropic isolation; old age is to be equivalent to increase of kingliness and bounty and holy influence.” “The path of the righteous is as the dawning light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Prov. 4:18 asv).
You'll get this book and many others when you join Bible Gateway Plus. Learn more
You must be logged in to view your newly purchased content. Please log in below or if you don't have an account, creating one is easy and only takes a few moments. After you log in your content will be available in your library.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
For the best Bible Gateway experience, upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus. For less than the cost of a latte each month, you'll gain access to a vast digital Bible study library and reduced banner ads to minimize distractions from God's Word. Try it free for 30 days!