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June 19 - Chronological Order


Ecclesiastes 1-6

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Chapter 1

Everything is Futile

1 The words of the Teacher,[a](a) son of David, king in Jerusalem.(b)

2 "Absolute futility," says the Teacher.
"Absolute futility. Everything is futile."(c)
3 What does a man gain for all his efforts
that he labors at under the sun?(d)
4 A generation goes and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.(e)
5 The sun rises and the sun sets;
panting, it returns to its place(f)
where it rises.
6 Gusting to the south,
turning to the north,
turning, turning, goes the wind,(g)
and the wind returns in its cycles.
7 All the streams flow to the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
The streams are flowing to the place,
and they flow there again.
8 All things[b] are wearisome;
man is unable to speak.
The eye is not satisfied by seeing(h)
or the ear filled with hearing.
9 What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done;
there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Can one say about anything,
"Look, this is new"?
It has already existed in the ages before us.
11 There is no remembrance of those who[c] came before;(i)
and of those who[d] will come after
there will also be no remembrance
by those who follow them.

The Limitations of Wisdom

12 I, the Teacher,(j) have been[e] king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I applied my mind to seek(k) and explore through wisdom all that is done under heaven.(l) God has given people this miserable task to keep them occupied.(m) 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun and have found everything to be futile, a pursuit of the wind.[f](n)

15 What is crooked cannot be straightened;(o)
what is lacking cannot be counted.

16 I said to myself,[g] "Look, I have amassed wisdom far beyond all those who were over Jerusalem before me,(p) and my mind has thoroughly grasped[h] wisdom and knowledge." 17 I applied my mind to know wisdom and knowledge,(q) madness and folly;(r) I learned that this too is a pursuit of the wind.[i](s)

18 For with much wisdom is much sorrow;(t)
as knowledge increases, grief increases.

Chapter 2

The Emptiness of Pleasure

1 I said to myself, "Go ahead, I will test you with pleasure;(a) enjoy what is good." But it turned out to be futile. 2 I said about laughter,(b) "It is madness," and about pleasure, "What does this accomplish?" 3 I explored with my mind how to let my body enjoy life[a] with wine(c) and how to grasp folly(d)—my mind still guiding me with wisdom—until I could see what is good for people to do under heaven[b] during the few days of their lives.(e)

The Emptiness of Possessions

4 I increased my achievements. I built houses(f) and planted vineyards(g) for myself. 5 I made gardens(h) and parks for myself and planted every kind of fruit tree in them. 6 I constructed reservoirs of water for myself from which to irrigate a grove of flourishing trees.(i) 7 I acquired male and female servants and had slaves who were born in my house.(j) I also owned many herds of cattle and flocks, more than all who were before me in Jerusalem.(k) 8 I also amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces.(l) I gathered male and female singers for myself,(m) and many concubines, the delights of men.[c][d] 9 So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem;(n) my wisdom also remained with me. 10 All that my eyes desired, I did not deny them.(o) I did not refuse myself any pleasure, for I took pleasure in all my struggles. This was my reward for all my struggles.(p) 11 When I considered all that I had accomplished[e] and what I had labored to achieve, I found everything to be futile and a pursuit of the wind.(q) There was nothing to be gained under the sun.(r)

The Relative Value of Wisdom

12 Then I turned to consider wisdom,(s) madness, and folly, for what will the man be like who comes after the king? He[f] will do what has already been done.(t) 13 And I realized that there is an advantage to wisdom over folly, like the advantage of light over darkness.(u)

14 The wise man has eyes in his head,
but the fool walks in darkness.(v)

Yet I also knew that one fate comes to them both.(w) 15 So I said to myself, "What happens to the fool will also happen to me. Why then have I been overly wise?"(x) And I said to myself that this is also futile. 16 For, just like the fool, there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man,(y) since in the days to come both will be forgotten. How is it that the wise man dies just like the fool? 17 Therefore, I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me. For everything is futile and a pursuit of the wind.

The Emptiness of Work

18 I hated all my work that I labored at under the sun(z) because I must leave it to the man who comes after me.(aa) 19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool?(ab) Yet he will take over all my work that I labored at skillfully under the sun. This too is futile. 20 So I began to give myself over[g] to despair concerning all my work that I had labored at under the sun. 21 When there is a man whose work was done with wisdom, knowledge, and skill,(ac) and he must give his portion to a man who has not worked for it, this too is futile and a great wrong. 22 For what does a man get with all his work and all his efforts(ad) that he labors at under the sun? 23 For all his days are filled with grief, and his occupation is sorrowful;(ae) even at night, his mind does not rest.(af) This too is futile.

24 There is nothing better for man than to eat, drink, and enjoy[h][i] his work.(ag) I have seen that even this is from God's hand,(ah) 25 because who can eat and who can enjoy life[j] apart from Him?[k] 26 For to the man who is pleasing in His sight, He gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy,(ai) but to the sinner He gives the task of gathering and accumulating in order to give to the one who is pleasing in God's sight.(aj) This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.(ak)

Chapter 3

The Mystery of Time

1 There is an occasion for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven:(a)
2 a time to give birth and a time to die;(b)
a time to plant and a time to uproot;[a]
3 a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to tear down and a time to build;
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh;(c)
a time to mourn and a time to dance;(d)
5 a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;(e)
a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing;(f)
6 a time to search and a time to count as lost;
a time to keep and a time to throw away;
7 a time to tear and a time to sew;
a time to be silent and a time to speak;(g)
8 a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.(h)

9 What does the worker gain from his struggles?(i) 10 I have seen the task that God has given people to keep them occupied.(j) 11 He has made everything appropriate[b] in its time.(k) He has also put eternity in their hearts,[c] but man cannot discover the work God has done from beginning to end.(l) 12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and enjoy the[d] good life. 13 It is also the gift of God whenever anyone eats, drinks, and enjoys all his efforts.(m) 14 I know that all God does will last forever; there is no adding to it or taking from it.(n) God works so that people will be in awe of Him.(o) 15 Whatever is, has already been,(p) and whatever will be, already is. God repeats what has passed.[e]

The Mystery of Injustice and Death

16 I also observed under the sun: there is wickedness at the place of judgment and there is wickedness at the place of righteousness.(q) 17 I said to myself, "God will judge the righteous and the wicked,(r) since there is a time for every activity and every work."(s) 18 I said to myself, "This happens concerning people, so that God may test them and they may see for themselves that they are like animals."(t) 19 For the fate of people and the fate of animals is the same.(u) As one dies, so dies the other; they all have the same breath. People have no advantage over animals since everything is futile. 20 All are going to the same place; all come from dust, and all return to dust.(v) 21 Who knows if the spirit of people rises upward and the spirit of animals goes downward to the earth? 22 I have seen that there is nothing better than for a person to enjoy his activities(w) because that is his reward. For who can enable him to see what will happen after he dies?[f](x)

Chapter 4

1 Again, I observed all the acts of oppression being done under the sun.(a) Look at the tears of those who are oppressed; they have no one to comfort them. Power is with those who oppress them; they have no one to comfort them. 2 So I admired the dead,(b) who have already died, more than the living, who are still alive. 3 But better than either of them is the one who has not yet existed,(c) who has not seen the evil activity that is done under the sun.

The Loneliness of Wealth

4 I saw that all labor and all skillful work is due to a man's jealousy of his friend.(d) This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.(e)

5 The fool folds his arms(f)
and consumes his own flesh.(g)
6 Better one handful with rest
than two handfuls with effort and a pursuit of the wind.(h)

7 Again, I saw futility under the sun: 8 There is a person without a companion,[a] without even a son or brother, and though there is no end to all his struggles, his eyes are still not content with riches.(i) "So who am I struggling for," he asks, "and depriving myself from good?" This too is futile and a miserable task.

9 Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. 10 For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm?(j) 12 And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

13 Better is a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer pays attention to warnings.(k) 14 For he came from prison to be king,(l) even though he was born poor in his kingdom. 15 I saw all the living, who move about under the sun, follow[b] a second youth who succeeds him. 16 There is no limit to all the people who were before them, yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.(m)

Chapter 5

Caution in God's Presence

1 [a]Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Better to draw near in obedience than to offer the sacrifice as fools do,(a) for they ignorantly do wrong. 2 [b]Do not be hasty to speak, and do not be impulsive to make a speech before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.(b) 3 For dreams result from much work and a fool's voice from many words.(c) 4 When you make a vow to God,(d) don't delay fulfilling it, because He does not delight in fools. Fulfill what you vow. 5 Better that you do not vow than that you vow and not fulfill it.(e) 6 Do not let your mouth bring guilt on you,(f) and do not say in the presence of the messenger that it was a mistake.(g) Why should God be angry with your words and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For many dreams bring futility, so do many words.(h) Therefore, fear God.

The Realities of Wealth

8 If you see oppression of the poor(i) and perversion of justice and righteousness in the province, don't be astonished at the situation,(j) because one official protects another official, and higher officials protect them. 9 The profit from the land is taken by all; the king is served by the field.[c](k)

10 The one who loves money is never satisfied with money, and whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with income. This too is futile. 11 When good things increase, the ones who consume them multiply; what, then, is the profit to the owner, except to gaze at them with his eyes? 12 The sleep of the worker is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of the rich permits him no sleep.

13 There is a sickening tragedy I have seen under the sun: wealth kept by its owner to his harm.(l) 14 That wealth was lost in a bad venture, so when he fathered a son, he was empty-handed. 15 As he came from his mother's womb, so he will go again, naked as he came;(m) he will take nothing for his efforts that he can carry in his hands. 16 This too is a sickening tragedy: exactly as he comes, so he will go. What does the one gain(n) who struggles for the wind?(o) 17 What is more, he eats in darkness all his days,(p) with much sorrow, sickness, and anger.

18 Here is what I have seen to be good:(q) it is appropriate to eat, drink, and experience good in all the labor one does under the sun during the few days of his life God has given him, because that is his reward.(r) 19 God has also given riches and wealth to every man,(s) and He has allowed him to enjoy them, take his reward, and rejoice in his labor.(t) This is a gift of God,(u) 20 for he does not often consider the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with the joy of his heart.

Chapter 6

1 Here is a tragedy I have observed under the sun,(a) and it weighs heavily on humanity:[a] 2 God gives a man riches, wealth, and honor(b) so that he lacks nothing of all he desires for himself,(c) but God does not allow him to enjoy them. Instead, a stranger will enjoy them. This is futile and a sickening tragedy. 3 A man may father a hundred children and live many years. No matter how long he lives,[b] if he is not satisfied by good things and does not even have a proper burial,(d) I say that a stillborn child is better off than he.(e) 4 For he comes in futility and he goes in darkness, and his name is shrouded in darkness. 5 Though a stillborn child does not see the sun and is not conscious, it has more rest than he. 6 And if he lives a thousand years twice, but does not experience happiness, do not both go to the same place?

7 All man's labor is for his stomach,[c](f)
yet the appetite is never satisfied.

8 What advantage then does the wise man have over the fool?(g) What advantage is there for the poor person who knows how to conduct himself before others? 9 Better what the eyes see than wandering desire.(h) This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.(i)

10 Whatever exists was given its name long ago,[d](j) and it is known what man is. But he is not able to contend with the One stronger than he.(k) 11 For when there are many words, they increase futility.(l) What is the advantage for man? 12 For who knows what is good for man in life, in the few days of his futile life that he spends like a shadow?(m) Who can tell man what will happen after him under the sun?

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