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.
Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.
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.
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.
Heb. all the rightness of work, that this is the envy of man from his neighbour.
The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.
That is, with envy, (see ver. 4,) though too idle to follow his neighbour's example.
Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.
Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun.
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.
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.
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.
Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
This is well illustrated by the fable of the dying father, who, to shew his sons the advantages of union, gave them a bundle of twigs, which could not be broken when bound together, but were easily snapped asunder one by one.
Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.
is a poor
will no more be
Heb. knoweth not to be.
For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.
This is probably an allusion to some fact with which we are unacquainted. History furnishes many instances of mean persons raised to sovereign authority, and of kings being reduced to the meanest offices, and to a morsel. Agrippa mounted the throne of Israel after having been long in prison; and similar instances are not wanting in modern times.
I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead.
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 spirit.