Ecclesiastes - Chapter 4


The King James Version Basic English Version (BBE)

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.

1 And again I saw all the cruel things which are done under the sun; there was the weeping of those who have evil done to them, and they had no comforter: and from the hands of the evil-doers there went out power, but they had no comforter.

2 Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.

2 So my praise was for the dead who have gone to their death, more than for the living who still have life.

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.

3 Yes, happier than the dead or the living seemed he who has not ever been, who has not seen the evil which is done under the sun.

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 And I saw that the cause of all the work and of everything which is done well was man's envy of his neighbour. This again is to no purpose and a desire for wind.

5 The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.

5 The foolish man, folding his hands, takes the flesh of his body for food.

6 Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.

6 One hand full of rest is better than two hands full of trouble and desire for wind.

7 Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun.

7 Then I came back, and I saw an example of what is to no purpose 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.

8 It is one who is by himself, without a second, and without son or brother; but there is no end to all his work, and he has never enough of wealth. For whom, then, am I working and keeping myself from pleasure? This again is to no purpose, and a bitter work.

9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.

9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their work.

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.

10 And if one has a fall, the other will give him a hand; but unhappy is the man who is by himself, because he has no helper.

11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?

11 So again, if two are sleeping together they are warm, but how may one be warm by himself?

12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

12 And two attacked by one would be safe, and three cords twisted together are not quickly broken.

13 Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.

13 A young man who is poor and wise is better than a king who is old and foolish and will not be guided by the wisdom of others.

14 For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.

14 Because out of a prison the young man comes to be king, though by birth he was only a poor man in the kingdom.

15 I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead.

15 I saw all the living under the sun round the young man who was to be ruler in place of the king.

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.

16 There was no end of all the people, of all those whose head he was, but they who come later will have no delight in him. This again is to no purpose and desire for wind.




Rights in the Authorized Version are vested in the Crown. Published in the United Kingdom by permission of the Crown"s patentee, Cambridge University Press.

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