Ecclesiastes 4:1-16

4 * And I came back to seeing all the denials of justice that are committed under the sun: there were the tears of the oppressed and no comforter for them, and on the part of their oppressors power and no comforter for them; 2  and I congratulated the dead who have already died rather than the living who are still alive, 3  and, better than either of them, him who has not yet existed, who has not seen the bad work that is done under the sun. 4  And I saw all taking of trouble and all efficiency in work to be rivalry between man and man; this too is nonsense and chasing after wind. 5  —The fool folds his arms and eats his own flesh.— 6  Better a handful of rest than a double handful of trouble and chasing after wind. 7  And I came back to seeing a piece of nonsense under the sun: 8  there is one man and no second one, he has neither son nor brother; and there is no end to all the trouble he takes, nor do his eyes get their fill of riches, and for whom am I taking the trouble and depriving myself of good things? this too is nonsense and a bad business. 9 * Better two than one, because when they take trouble they get good pay. 10 * For if they fall, one will help his comrade to his feet; but woe to a single man who falls and has no second to help him up! 11  Also, if two are lying in bed they will be warm, but how is just one to be warm? 12  And if somebody would overpower the single man, the two will stand up to him. And a three-stranded cord is not quickly to be broken. 13  Better a destitute but wise lad than an old and foolish king who no longer knows enough to take warning, 14  because out of prison he came out to become king when in his very kingdom he had been born poor. 15 * I saw all the living, those who walk about under the sun, with the lad, the second, who was to stand in his place. 16 * There was no end of all the people, all at whose head he was; but neither were those who came after to be glad of him, because this too was nonsense and chasing after wind.


4:1 Conj. power and no avenger against them
4:9 Or get some good as pay
4:10 Or but if it is a single man that falls, he has no second to help him up.
4:15 Or with the second lad
4:16 Lit. all before whom he was