NASB — Ecclesiastes 4 — KJV

The Evils of Oppression

1 Then I looked again at all the acts of aoppression which were being done under the sun. And behold [I saw] the tears of the oppressed and [that] they had bno one to comfort [them]; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort [them]. 2 So aI congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living. 3 But abetter [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.

[1] aJb 35:9; Ps 12:5; Ec 3:16; 5:8; Is 5:7 bJr 16:7; Lm 1:9
[2] aJb 3:11-26; Ec 2:17; 7:1
[3] aJb 3:11-22; Ec 6:3; Lk 23:29

4 ¶ I have seen that every labor and every askill which is done is [the result of] rivalry between a man and his neighbor. This too is Ibvanity and striving after wind. 5 The fool afolds his hands and bconsumes his own flesh. 6 One hand full of rest is abetter than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.

[4] IOr futility, and so throughout the ch aEc 2:21 bEc 1:14
[5] aPv 6:10; 24:33 bIs 9:20
[6] aPv 15:16, 17; 16:8

7 ¶ Then I looked again at vanity under the sun. 8 There was a certain man without a Idependent, having neither a son nor a brother, yet there was no end to all his labor. Indeed, ahis eyes were not satisfied with riches [and he never asked], “And bfor whom am I laboring and depriving myself of pleasure?” This too is vanity and it is a cgrievous task.

[8] ILit second aPv 27:20; Ec 1:8; 5:10 bEc 2:21 cEc 1:13

9 ¶ Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. 10 For if Ieither of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not IIanother to lift him up. 11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they Ikeep warm, but ahow can one be warm [alone]? 12 And if Ione can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three [strands] is not quickly torn apart.

[10] ILit they fall IILit a second
[11] ILit have warmth a1K 1:1-4
[12] ILit he

13 ¶ A apoor yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows [how] to receive Iinstruction. 14 For he has come aout 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 Ireplaces 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 avanity and striving after wind.

[13] IOr warning aEc 7:19; 9:15
[14] aGn 41:14, 41-43
[15] ILit stands in his stead
[16] aEc 1:14


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Vanity is increased unto men by oppression,

1 ¶ So I returned, and considered 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. 2 Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive. 3 Yea, better [is he] than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

[1] Ex 1:13, 16, 22; 2:23; 5:16; Dt 28:33, 48; Jg 4:3; 10:7; Ne 5:1; Jb 6:29; 16:4; 19:21; 24:7; Ps 10:9; 42:3, 9; 69:20; 80:5; 102:8; 142:4; Pv 19:7; 28:3, 15; Ec 3:16; 5:8; 7:7; Is 5:7; 51:23; 59:7, 13; Lm 1:2, 9; Mal 2:13; 3:5, 18; Mt 26:56; 2Ti 4:16; Jm 5:4.
[2] Jb 3:17; Ec 2:17; 9:4.
[3] Jb 3:10; 10:18; Ps 55:6; Ec 1:14; 2:17; 6:3; Jr 9:2; 20:17; Mt 24:19; Lk 23:29.

by envy,

4 ¶ Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This [is] also vanity and vexation of spirit.

[4] Gn 4:4; 37:2, 4, 11; 1S 18:8, 14, 29; Pv 27:4; Ec 1:14; 2:21, 26; 4:16; 6:9, 11; Mt 27:18; Ac 7:9; Jm 4:5; 1Jn 3:12.

by idleness,

5 The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh. 6 Better [is] an handful [with] quietness, than both the hands full [with] travail and vexation of spirit.

[5] Jb 13:14; Pv 6:10; 11:17; 12:27; 13:4; 20:4; 24:33; Ec 4:4; Is 9:20.
[6] Ps 37:16; Pv 15:16; 16:8; 17:1.

by covetousness,

7 ¶ Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun. 8 There is one [alone], and [there is] not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet [is there] no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither [saith he], For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This [is] also vanity, yea, it [is] a sore travail.

[7] Ps 78:33; Ec 4:1; Zc 1:6.
[8] Gn 2:18; 15:2; Ps 39:6; Pv 27:20; Ec 1:8, 13; 2:23; 4:9; 5:10; Is 5:8; 44:19; 55:2; 56:3; Hab 2:5; Mt 11:28; Lk 12:20; 1Jn 2:16.

by solitariness,

9 ¶ Two [are] better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him [that is] alone when he falleth; for [he hath] not another to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm [alone]? 12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

[9] Gn 2:18; Ex 4:14; Nu 11:14; Ru 2:12; Pv 27:17; Hg 1:14; Mk 6:7; Jn 4:36; Ac 13:2; 15:39; 1Co 12:18; 2Jn 1:8.
[10] Gn 4:8; Ex 32:2, 21; Dt 9:19; 1S 23:16; 2S 11:27; 12:7; 14:6; Jb 4:3; Is 35:3; Lk 22:31; Ga 2:11; 6:1; 1Th 4:18; 5:11.
[11] 1K 1:1.
[12] 2S 23:9, 16, 18, 23; Dn 3:16; Ep 4:3.

by wilfulness.

13 ¶ Better [is] a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished. 14 For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also [he that is] born in his kingdom becometh poor. 15 I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead. 16 [There is] no end of all the people, [even] of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also [is] vanity and vexation of spirit.

[13] Gn 37:2; 1K 22:8; 2Ch 16:9; 24:20; 25:16; Pv 19:1; 28:6, 15; Ec 9:15.
[14] Gn 41:14, 33; 1K 14:26; 2K 23:31; 24:1, 6, 12; 25:7, 27; Jb 5:11; Ps 113:7; Lm 4:20; Dn 4:31.
[15] 2S 15:6.
[16] Jg 9:19; 2S 15:12; 18:7; 19:9; 1K 1:5, 40; 12:10; Ec 1:14; 2:11, 17, 26.


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