There is a time for everything. Toil is meaningless. Power corrupts us humans.
For everything there is a season. In the verses that follow, the author illustrates this point by contrasting 14 pairs of opposites:
- Verse 2. born … die
- Verse 2. plant … uproot
- Verse 3. kill … heal
- Verse 3. break down … build up
- Verse 4. weep … laugh
- Verse 4. mourn … dance
- Verse 5. cast away … gather
- Verse 5. embrace … not embrace
- Verse 6. seek … lose
- Verse 6. keep … cast away
- Verse 7. tear … sew
- Verse 7. silence … speak
- Verse 8. love hate
- Verse 8. war … peace
VERSE 9. What profit has he who works in that in which he labors?
the burden. The Hebrew word is inyan. It means task.
VERSE 11. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in their hearts, yet so that man can’t find out the work that God has done from the beginning even to the end.
set eternity in their hearts. We humans have an inner desire to know the extratemporal significance of our existence.
VERSE 12. I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice, and to do good as long as they live.
nothing better for them than to rejoice. That is, to be happy.
VERSE 13. Also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy good in all his labor, is the gift of God.
VERSE 14. I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; and God has done it, that men should fear before him.
VERSE 15. That which is has been long ago, and that which is to be has been long ago: and God seeks again that which is passed away.
VERSE 16. Moreover I saw under the sun, in the place of justice, that wickedness was there; and in the place of righteousness, that wickedness was there.
NLT translation. I also noticed that under the sun there is evil in the courtroom. Yes, even the courts of law are corrupt!
the courts … are corrupt. Back in those days, the religious courts of were corrupt. And it is sometimes true even in our day.
VERSE 17. I said in my heart, “God will judge the righteous and the wicked; for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.”
VERSE 18. I said in my heart, “As for the sons of men, God tests them, so that they may see that they themselves are like animals.
VERSE 19. For that which happens to the sons of men happens to animals. Even one thing happens to them. As the one dies, so the other dies. Yes, they have all one breath; and man has no advantage over the animals: for all is vanity.
Psalm 104:29. You hide your face: they are troubled; you take away their breath: they die, and return to the dust.
Psalm 146:4. His spirit departs, and he returns to the earth. In that very day, his thoughts perish.
Ecclesiastes 3:20. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and all turn to dust again.
VERSE 21. Who knows the spirit of man, whether it goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, whether it goes downward to the earth?”
VERSE 22. Therefore I saw that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his works; for that is his portion: for who can bring him to see what will be after him?
rejoice in his works. The author recommends that we enjoy our work.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.