To Everything There Is a Season
1 To everything there is a season,
and a time for every purpose under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to break down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to count as lost,
a time to keep and a time to discard,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
God’s Works Remain Forever
9 What does the worker gain from his toil? 10 I have seen the burden that God has laid upon the sons of men to occupy them. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom the work that God has done from beginning to end.
12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and do good while they live, 13 and also that every man should eat and drink and find satisfaction in all his labor—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God does it so that they should fear Him. 15 What exists has already been, and what will be has already been, for God will call to account what has passed.
From Dust to Dust
16 Furthermore, I saw under the sun that in the place of judgment there is wickedness, and in the place of righteousness there is wickedness. 17 I said in my heart, “God will judge the righteous and the wicked, since there is a time for every activity and every deed.”
18 I said to myself, “As for the sons of men, God tests them so that they may see for themselves that they are but beasts.” 19 For the fates of both men and beasts are the same: As one dies, so dies the other—they all have the same breath. a Man has no advantage over the animals, since everything is futile. 20 All go to one place; all come from dust, and all return to dust.
21 Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and the spirit of the animal descends into the earth? 22 I have seen that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will come after him?
19 a Or spirit