Oppression, Toil, Friendlessness
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.
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.
5 The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own
6 Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands
full with travail and vexation of spirit.
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.
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.
Advancement Is Meaningless
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
References and notes
1. King James Authorized Version
John Gill's Exposition of the Bible - http://eword.gospelcom.net/comments/ecclesiastes/gill/ecclesiastes4.htm
In this chapter the wise man reassumes the consideration of
the case of the abuse of power, to show that there is no
happiness in this world, in grandeur and authority enjoyed;
since, as he had observed before, on the one hand, the
oppressor shall be judged and condemned at the great day of
account; so, on the other hand, the oppressed have their
lives made so uncomfortable, that the dead are preferred
unto them, and unborn persons to them both,
Another vanity he observes, that
whereas men expect to be happy by their diligence and
industry, this brings upon them the envy of others,
hence some, on the other hand, place
their happiness in sloth and ease, which is another vanity,
and others again in covetousness; who
are described by their unsocial life, toilsome labour,
unsatisfied desires, and withholding good things from
upon which some things are said, to
show the benefits of a social life,
And the chapter is concluded with
exposing the vanity of the highest instance of worldly power
and grandeur, royal dignity, through the folly of a king;
the effects of which are mentioned,
and through the fickleness of the
people, who are soon weary of a prince on the throne, and
court his successor,
The Index to Ecclesiastes is a great starting point for searching the Book of Ecclesiastes. The index page contains Daily Scriptures and easy links to chapters for the Book of Ecclesiastes. The pages may include song previews, background information, commentary, sermons, videos, and details of the Bible author.