Ecclesiastes 4

Evil Under the Sun

1 Then I returned and considered all the a oppression that is done under the sun:
And look! The tears of the oppressed,
But they have no comforter -
1 On the side of their oppressors there is power,
But they have no comforter.
2 b Therefore I praised the dead who were already dead,
More than the living who are still alive.
3 c Yet, better than both is he who has never existed,
Who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

4 Again, I saw that for all toil and every skillful work a man is envied by his neighbor. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

5 d The fool folds his hands
And consumes his own flesh.

6 e Better a handful with quietness
Than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind.

7 Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun: 8 There is one alone, without 2 companion:
He has neither son nor brother.
Yet there is no end to all his labors,
Nor is his f eye satisfied with riches.
But g he never asks,
"For whom do I toil and deprive myself of h good?"
This also is vanity and a 3 grave misfortune.

9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

13 Better a poor and wise youth
Than an old and foolish king who will be admonished no more.
14 For he comes out of prison to be king,
Although 4 he was born poor in his kingdom.
15 I saw all the living who walk under the sun;
They were with the second youth who stands in his place.
16 There was no end of all the people 5 over whom he was made king;
Yet those who come afterward will not rejoice in him.
Surely this also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

  1. Cross References
    Job 35:9
    Because of the multitude of oppressions they cry out; They cry out for help because of the arm of the mighty.
    Psalms 12:5
    "For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, Now I will arise," says the LORD; "I will set him in the safety for which he yearns."
    Ecclesiastes 3:16
    Moreover I saw under the sun: In the place of judgment, Wickedness was there; And in the place of righteousness, Iniquity was there.
    Ecclesiastes 5:8
    If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them.
    Isaiah 5:7
    For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, And the men of Judah are His pleasant plant. He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; For righteousness, but behold, a cry for help.
  2. Cross References
    Job 3:17
    There the wicked cease from troubling, And there the weary are at rest.
    Job 3:18
    There the prisoners rest together; They do not hear the voice of the oppressor.
  3. Cross References
    Job 3:11 - 22
    Why did I not die at birth? Why did I not perish when I came from the womb?
    Ecclesiastes 6:3
    If a man begets a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with goodness, or indeed he has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better than he -
    Luke 23:29
    "For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!'
  4. Cross References
    Proverbs 6:10
    A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep -
    Proverbs 24:33
    A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest.
  5. Cross References
    Proverbs 15:16
    Better is a little with the fear of the LORD, Than great treasure with trouble.
    Proverbs 15:17
    Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, Than a fatted calf with hatred.
    Proverbs 16:8
    Better is a little with righteousness, Than vast revenues without justice.
  6. Cross References
    Proverbs 27:20
    Hell and Destruction are never full; So the eyes of man are never satisfied.
    Ecclesiastes 5:10
    He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity.
    1 John 2:16
    For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world.
  7. Cross References
    Psalms 39:6
    Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches, And does not know who will gather them.
  8. Cross References
    Ecclesiastes 2:18 - 21
    Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me.
New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
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