Ecclesiastes 3

A Time for All Events in Life

3:1 For everything1 there is an appointed time,2

and an appropriate time3 for every activity4 on earth:5

3:2 A time to be born,6 and a time to die;7

a time to plant, and a time to uproot what was planted;

3:3 A time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

3:5 A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

3:6 A time to search, and a time to give something up as lost;8

a time to keep, and a time to throw away;

3:7 A time to rip, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silent, and a time to speak.

3:8 A time to love, and a time to hate;

a time for war, and a time for peace.

Man is Ignorant of God’s Timing

3:9 What benefit can a worker9 gain from his toil?10

3:10 I have observed the burden

that God has given to people11 to keep them occupied.

3:11 God has made everything fit beautifully12 in its appropriate time,

but13 he has also placed ignorance14 in the human heart15

so that16 people17 cannot discover what God has ordained,18

from the beginning to the end19 of their lives.20

Enjoy Life in the Present

3:12 I have concluded21 that there is nothing better for people22

than23 to be happy and to enjoy

themselves24 as long as they live,

3:13 and also that everyone should eat and drink, and find enjoyment in all his toil,

for these things25 are a gift from God.

God’s Sovereignty

3:14 I also know that whatever God does will endure forever;

nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken away from it.

God has made it this way, so that men will fear him.

3:15 Whatever exists now has already been, and whatever will be has already been;

for God will seek to do again26 what has occurred27 in the past.28

The Problem of Injustice and Oppression

3:16 I saw something else on earth:29

In the place of justice, there was wickedness,

and in the place of fairness,30 there was wickedness.

3:17 I thought to myself, “God will judge both the righteous and the wicked;

for there is an appropriate time for every activity,

and there is a time of judgment31 for every deed.

3:18 I also thought to myself, “It is32 for the sake of people,33

so God can clearly34 show35 them that they are like animals.

3:19 For the fate of humans36 and the fate of animals are the same:

As one dies, so dies the other; both have the same breath.

There is no advantage for humans over animals,

for both are fleeting.

3:20 Both go to the same place,

both come from the dust,

and to dust both return.

3:21 Who really knows if the human spirit37 ascends upward,

and the animal’s spirit descends into the earth?

3:22 So I perceived there is nothing better than for people38 to enjoy their work,39

because that is their40 reward;

for who can show them what the future holds?41

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