A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season, and (A)a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to (B)die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to (C)weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to (D)dance;
a time to (E)cast away stones, and a time to (F)gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to (G)refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to (H)lose;
a time to keep, and a time to (I)cast away;
a time to (J)tear, and a time to sew;
a time to (K)keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to (L)hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

The God-Given Task

What (M)gain has the worker from his toil? 10 I have seen (N)the business that (O)God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has (P)made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot (Q)find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is (R)nothing better for them than to be joyful and to (S)do good as long as they live; 13 also (T)that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is (U)God's gift to man.

14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; (V)nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15 That which is, (W)already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God (X)seeks what has been driven away.[a]

From Dust to Dust

16 Moreover, (Y)I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even (Z)there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. 17 I said in my heart, (AA)God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is (AB)a time for every matter and for every work. 18 I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but (AC)beasts. 19 (AD)For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity.[b] 20 All go to one place. All are from (AE)the dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows whether (AF)the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? 22 So I saw that there is (AG)nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for (AH)that is his lot. Who can bring him to see (AI)what will be after him?


  1. Ecclesiastes 3:15 Hebrew what has been pursued
  2. Ecclesiastes 3:19 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (see note on 1:2)

Keep the King's Command

Who is like the wise?
    And who knows the interpretation of a thing?
(A)A man's wisdom makes his face shine,
    and (B)the hardness of his face is changed.

I say:[a] Keep the king's command, because of (C)God's oath to him.[b] Be not hasty to (D)go from his presence. Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases. For the word of the king is supreme, and (E)who may say to him, “What are you doing?” Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and the just way.[c] For there is a time and a way (F)for everything, although man's trouble[d] lies heavy on him. For he (G)does not know what is to be, for (H)who can tell him how it will be? No man has power to (I)retain the spirit, (J)or power over the day of death. There is no (K)discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it. (L)All this I observed while applying my heart to all that is done under the sun, when man had power over man to his hurt.

Those Who Fear God Will Do Well

10 Then I saw the wicked buried. They used to go in and out of (M)the holy place and were (N)praised[e] in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity.[f] 11 Because (O)the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, (P)the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. 12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and (Q)prolongs his life, yet I know that (R)it will be well with (S)those who fear God, because they fear before him. 13 But it will (T)not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like (U)a shadow, because he does not fear before God.

Man Cannot Know God's Ways

14 There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people (V)to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people (W)to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. 15 And I commend joy, for man (X)has nothing better under the sun but to (Y)eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.

16 When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see (Z)the business that is done on earth, how neither (AA)day nor night do one's eyes see sleep, 17 then I saw all the work of God, that (AB)man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, (AC)he cannot find it out.

Death Comes to All

But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, (AD)how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are (AE)in the hand of God. Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before him. (AF)It is the same for all, since (AG)the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil,[g] to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who (AH)swears is as he who shuns an oath. This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that (AI)the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and (AJ)madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die, but (AK)the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for (AL)the memory of them is forgotten. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun.

Enjoy Life with the One You Love

Go, (AM)eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.

(AN)Let your garments be always white. Let not (AO)oil be lacking on your head.

Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your (AP)vain[h] life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your (AQ)portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, (AR)do it with your might,[i] (AS)for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

Wisdom Better Than Folly

11 (AT)Again I saw that under the sun (AU)the race is not to the swift, nor (AV)the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and (AW)chance (AX)happen to them all. 12 For man (AY)does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and (AZ)like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are (BA)snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.

13 I have also seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great to me. 14 There was a little city with few men in it, and a great king came against it and besieged it, building great siegeworks against it. 15 But there was found in it (BB)a poor, wise man, and he by his (BC)wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man. 16 But I say that (BD)wisdom is better than might, though (BE)the poor man's wisdom is despised and his words are not heard.

17 The words of the wise heard in (BF)quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools. 18 (BG)Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but (BH)one sinner destroys much good.


  1. Ecclesiastes 8:2 Hebrew lacks say
  2. Ecclesiastes 8:2 Or because of your oath to God
  3. Ecclesiastes 8:5 Or and judgment
  4. Ecclesiastes 8:6 Or evil
  5. Ecclesiastes 8:10 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Vulgate; most Hebrew manuscripts forgotten
  6. Ecclesiastes 8:10 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath”; also twice in verse 14 (see note on 1:2)
  7. Ecclesiastes 9:2 Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate; Hebrew lacks and the evil
  8. Ecclesiastes 9:9 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (see note on 1:2)
  9. Ecclesiastes 9:10 Or finds to do with your might, do it

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