Ecclesiastes 4:1-16

4  And I myself returned that I might see all the acts of oppression+ that are being done under the sun, and, look! the tears of those being oppressed,+ but they had no comforter;+ and on the side of their oppressors there was power, so that they had no comforter.  And I congratulated the dead who had already died rather than the living who were still alive.+  So better than both of them [is] the one who has not yet come to be,+ who has not seen the calamitous work that is being done under the sun.+  And I myself have seen all the hard work and all the proficiency in work,+ that it means the rivalry of one* toward another;+ this also is vanity and a striving after the wind.  The stupid one is folding his hands+ and is eating his own flesh.+  Better is a handful of rest than a double handful of hard work and striving after the wind.+  I myself returned that I might see the vanity under the sun:  There exists one, but not a second one;+ also no son or brother does he have,+ but there is no end to all his hard work. Also, his eyes themselves are not satisfied with riches:+ “And for whom am I working hard and causing my soul to lack in good things?”+ This too is vanity, and it is a calamitous occupation.+  Two are better than one,+ because they have a good reward for their hard work.+ 10  For if one of them should fall, the other one can raise his partner up.+ But how will it be with just the one* who falls when there is not another to raise him up?+ 11  Moreover, if two lie down together, they also will certainly get warm; but how can just one keep warm?+ 12  And if somebody could overpower one alone, two together could make a stand against him.+ And a threefold cord cannot quickly be torn in two. 13  Better is a needy but wise child+ than an old but stupid king,+ who has not come to know enough to be warned any longer.+ 14  For he has gone forth from the prison house itself to become king,+ although in the kingship of this one he had been born as one of little means.+ 15  I have seen all those alive who are walking about under the sun, [how it goes] with the child, who is second, that stands up in the other one’s place.+ 16  There is no end to all the people, to all those before whom he* happened to be;+ neither will people afterward rejoice in him,+ for this too is vanity and a striving after the wind.+


“One.” Heb., ʼish.
Or, “But woe to just the one!”
Or, “they,” that is, “the people.”