4 Again, I observed all the oppression that takes place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and their victims are helpless.2 So I concluded that the dead are better off than the living.3 But most fortunate of all are those who are not yet born. For they have not seen all the evil that is done under the sun.
4 Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.
5 “Fools fold their idle hands, leading them to ruin.”
6 And yet,
“Better to have one handful with quietness than two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.”
The Advantages of Companionship
7 I observed yet another example of something meaningless under the sun.8 This is the case of a man who is all alone, without a child or a brother, yet who works hard to gain as much wealth as he can. But then he asks himself, “Who am I working for? Why am I giving up so much pleasure now?” It is all so meaningless and depressing.
9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone?12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
The Futility of Political Power
13 It is better to be a poor but wise youth than an old and foolish king who refuses all advice.14 Such a youth could rise from poverty and succeed. He might even become king, though he has been in prison.15 But then everyone rushes to the side of yet another youth[a] who replaces him.16 Endless crowds stand around him,[b] but then another generation grows up and rejects him, too. So it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind.
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.
Upgrade to the best Bible Gateway experience! With Bible Gateway Plus, you gain instant access to a digital Bible study library, including complete notes from the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible and the New Bible Commentary. Try it free for 30 days!