Ecclesiastes Chapter 4 to 6 : American Standard Version
1Then I returned and saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and, behold, the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter. 2Wherefore I praised the dead that have been long dead more than the living that are yet alive; 3yea, better than them both did I esteem him that hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
4Then I saw all labor and every skilful work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. 5The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh. 6Better is a handful, with quietness, than two handfuls with labor and striving after wind.
7Then I returned and saw vanity under the sun. 8There is one that is alone, and he hath not a second; yea, he hath neither son nor brother; yet is there no end of all his labor, neither are his eyes satisfied with riches. For whom then, saith he, do I labor, and deprive my soul of good? This also is vanity, yea, it is a sore travail. 9Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. 10For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, and hath not another to lift him up. 11Again, if two lie together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm alone? 12And if a man prevail against him that is alone, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
13Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king, who knoweth not how to receive admonition any more. 14For out of prison he came forth to be king; yea, even in his kingdom he was born poor. 15I saw all the living that walk under the sun, that they were with the youth, the second, that stood up in his stead. 16There was no end of all the people, even of all them over whom he was: yet they that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind.
5 Ecclesiastes 5
1Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God; for to draw nigh to hear is better than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they know not that they do evil. 2Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thy heart be hasty to utter anything before God; for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. 3For a dream cometh with a multitude of business, and a fool's voice with a multitude of words. 4When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou vowest. 5Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. 6Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that is was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thy hands? 7For in the multitude of dreams there are vanities, and in many words: but fear thou God.
8If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and the violent taking away of justice and righteousness in a province, marvel not at the matter: for one higher than the high regardeth; and there are higher than they. 9Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.
10He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance, with increase: this also is vanity. 11When goods increase, they are increased that eat them; and what advantage is there to the owner thereof, save the beholding of them with his eyes? 12The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much; but the fulness of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.
13There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept by the owner thereof to his hurt: 14and those riches perish by evil adventure; and if he hath begotten a son, there is nothing in his hand. 15As he came forth from his mother's womb, naked shall he go again as he came, and shall take nothing for his labor, which he may carry away in his hand. 16And this also is a grievous evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that he laboreth for the wind? 17All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he is sore vexed, and hath sickness and wrath.
18Behold, that which I have seen to be good and to be comely is for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy good in all his labor, wherein he laboreth under the sun, all the days of his life which God hath given him: for this is his portion. 19Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labor-this is the gift of God. 20For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.
6 Ecclesiastes 6
1There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is heavy upon men: 2a man to whom God giveth riches, wealth, and honor, so that he lacketh nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but an alien eateth it; this is vanity, and it is an evil disease. 3If a man beget a hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul be not filled with good, and moreover he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he: 4for it cometh in vanity, and departeth in darkness, and the name thereof is covered with darkness; 5moreover it hath not seen the sun nor known it; this hath rest rather than the other: 6yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, and yet enjoy no good, do not all go to one place?
7All the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled. 8For what advantage hath the wise more than the fool? or what hath the poor man, that knoweth how to walk before the living? 9Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this also is vanity and a striving after wind.
10Whatsoever hath been, the name thereof was given long ago; and it is know what man is; neither can he contend with him that is mightier than he. 11Seeing there are many things that increase vanity, what is man the better? 12For who knoweth what is good for man in his life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?