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Home > Study Desk
Passage Display[Printer-friendly Verses]   
 Ecclesiastes 4
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The New American Standard Bible
   Book of EcclesiastesClick Verse Reference for Study Notes
    4:1-16 - Study Chapter  - Click for Chapter Audio

The Evils of Oppression

1 Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression R89 which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no R90 one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them. 2 So I R91 congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living. 3 But better R92 off than both of them is the one who has never existed, who has never seen the evil activity that is done under the sun.

4 I have seen that every labor and every skill R93 which is done is the result of rivalry between a man and his neighbor. This too is vanity R94 F45 and striving after wind. 5 The fool folds R95 his hands and consumes R96 his own flesh. 6 One hand full of rest is better R97 than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.

7 Then I looked again at vanity under the sun. 8 There was a certain man without a dependent, F46 having neither a son nor a brother, yet there was no end to all his labor. Indeed, his R98 eyes were not satisfied with riches and he never asked, "And for R99 whom am I laboring and depriving myself of pleasure?" This too is vanity and it is a grievous R100 task.

9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. 10 For if either F47 of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another F48 to lift him up. 11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep F49 warm, but how R101 can one be warm alone? 12 And if one F50 can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

13 A poor R102 yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive instruction. F51 14 For he has come out R103 of prison to become king, even though he was born poor in his kingdom. 15 I have seen all the living under the sun throng to the side of the second lad who replaces F52 him. 16 There is no end to all the people, to all who were before them, and even the ones who will come later will not be happy with him, for this too is vanity R104 and striving after wind.

F45: Or futility, and so throughout the ch
F46: Lit second
F47: Lit they fall
F48: Lit a second
F49: Lit have warmth
F50: Lit he
F51: Or warning
F52: Lit stands in his stead

R89: Job 1:35:9; Psalms 12:5; Ecclesiastes 3:16; 5:8; Isaiah 5:7
R90: Jeremiah 16:7; Lamentations 1:9
R91: Job 1:3:11-26; Ecclesiastes 2:17; 7:1
R92: Job 1:3:11-22; Ecclesiastes 6:3; Luke 23:29
R93: Ecclesiastes 2:21
R94: Ecclesiastes 1:14
R95: Proverbs 6:10; 24:33
R96: Isaiah 9:20
R97: Proverbs 15:16,17; 16:8
R98: Proverbs 27:20; Ecclesiastes 1:8; 5:10
R99: Ecclesiastes 2:21
R100: Ecclesiastes 1:13
R101: 1 Kings 1:1-4
R102: Ecclesiastes 7:19; 9:15
R103: Genesis 41:14,41-43
R104: Ecclesiastes 1:14


Copyright Statement: The New American Standard Bible
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995; Audio Recording Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, (P) 1989 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
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