Evil Under the Sun
4 Again I saw all types of oppression that are done under the sun:
Look! The tears of the oppressed,
and no one was there to comfort them.
And there was force from the hand of the oppressors,
and no one was there to comfort them.
2 And I thought that fortunate were the dead
who had already died,
even more than the living
who were still alive.
3 And still better than both
is he who has not been,
who has not seen the evil deeds
that are done under the sun.
4 Then I saw that all toil and every skillful work come from one man’s envy of another. This also is vanity and like chasing the wind.
5 The fool folds his hands
and eats his own flesh.
6 Better is a full hand of quietness
than handfuls of toil and chasing the wind.
7 Again, I saw vanity under the sun:
8 There is a man who is alone,
neither having son or brother,
and there is not an end to all his toil,
and his eyes are not satisfied with riches to say,
“For whom do I labor
and cause my life to lack good things?”
Also this is vanity
and a burdensome task.
9 Two are better than one,
because there is a good reward for their labor together.
10 For if they fall,
then one will help up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls
and has no one to help him up.
11 Also if two lie down together, then they will keep warm;
but how can one keep warm by himself?
12 And if someone might overpower another by himself,
two together can withstand him.
A threefold cord is not quickly broken.
The Vanity of Status
13 Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who will no longer be admonished. 14 For out of prison he has come to reign, even though he was born poor in the kingdom. 15 Then I saw all those who live and walk under the sun, along with the next youth who will arise in the king’s place. 16 There is no end of all the people, to all who were before them. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and chasing the wind.
5 Guard your steps when you enter the house of God, and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil.[a]
2 Do not be quick to speak with your mouth,
nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word
For God is in heaven,
and you are on the earth;
therefore may your words be few.
3 For a dream comes when there is a great burden,
and a foolish voice when there are many words.
4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it because He has no pleasure in fools. Fulfill what you have vowed. 5 Better it is that you do not make a vow than you make a vow and not fulfill it. 6 Do not let your mouth cause you to sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was an error. Why should God be angry with your words and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For when there is an abundance of dreams and futilities, then words increase too. Therefore it is God you should fear.
The Vanity of Loving Money
8 If you see in a district the oppression of the poor and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness, do not be astounded at the matter; for the high official is watched over by an even higher official, and there are even higher officials over them. 9 But this is an advantage to the land in every way, like a king committed to a cultivated field.
10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money;
nor he who loves abundance with increase.
This also is vanity.
11 When there is an increase of good things,
then there is an increase of those who devour them.
And what profit have the owners
except to see them with their eyes?
12 Sweet is the sleep of a laboring man,
whether he eats a little or much;
but the abundance of the rich
will not let him sleep.
13 There is a grave misery that I have seen under the sun:
when riches were kept by an owner to his hurt,
14 and those riches were lost in a misfortunate business deal;
and although he has a son,
there is nothing at all to put in his hand.
15 As he came from his mother’s womb,
naked shall he return, to go as he came;
he shall take nothing from his labor
which he may carry away in his hands.
16 This also is a grievous evil:
Just as he came,
so shall he go.
And what profit is there to him who toils for the wind?
17 Moreover, in all his days he eats in darkness,
while he is greatly irritated in sickness and anger.
18 This is what I have seen to be good: It is fitting to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life, which God has given to him; for this is his reward. 19 And also everyone to whom God has given wealth and possessions, and given him power to enjoy them, and to receive his reward and to rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.
6 There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind: 2 a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor so that there is no want in his life from among anything that he desires; yet God does not give him ability to eat from them because another man eats and enjoys from his possessions. This is vanity and a tormenting injustice.
3 If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with life’s good things, and he has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he— 4 for it comes in vanity and departs in darkness, and in darkness its name is covered up. 5 Moreover, it has not seen the sun or known anything, yet it finds rest rather than he. 6 Though the man may live a thousand years, twice over, yet he does not see the good things. Does not everyone go to the same place?
7 All the labor of man is for his mouth,
yet his appetite is not satisfied.
8 For what benefit is there for the wise
over the fool?
And what more does the poor man know
who walks before others?
9 Better to be content with the sight of eyes
than to have a wandering appetite.
This is vanity
and like chasing the wind.
10 Whatever happens, it has already been given a name,
and it is known what man is;
he cannot contend with Him who is stronger than he.
11 The more words,
the more vanity,
so what profit is there to mankind?
12 For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life which pass like a shadow? For who can tell men what will be after them under the sun?
- Ecclesiastes 5:1 4:17 in the Heb. text.
2 Corinthians 6:14-7:7
The Temple of the Living God
14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? What communion has light with darkness? 15 What agreement has Christ with Belial? Or what part has he who believes with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will live in them
and walk in them.
I will be their God,
and they shall be My people.”[a]
“Come out from among them
and be separate,
says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
and I will receive you.”[b]
18 “I will be a Father to you,
and you shall be My sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”[c]
7 Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Paul’s Joy at the Church’s Repentance
2 Accept us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, and we have defrauded no one. 3 I do not say this to condemn you, for I have said before that you are in our hearts, so that we would die or live with you. 4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you; great is my boasting of you. I am filled with comfort, and I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.
5 For when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, and we were troubled on every side. On the outside were conflicts; on the inside were fears. 6 Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us through the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, when he told us about your sincere desire, your mourning, and your zeal toward me, so that I rejoiced even more.
For the Music Director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.
1 Clap your hands, all you people!
Shout to God with a joyful voice.
2 For the Lord Most High is awesome;
He is a great King over all the earth.
3 He subdued peoples under us,
and nations under our feet.
4 He chose our inheritance for us,
the excellency of Jacob whom He loved. Selah
5 God went up with a shout,
the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7 For God is the King of all the earth;
sing praises with understanding.
8 God reigns over the nations;
God sits on His holy throne.
9 The princes of peoples are gathered together,
even the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
He is greatly exalted.
16 He who oppresses the poor to increase his riches,
and he who gives to the rich, will surely come to want.