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ESV — Ecclesiastes 3

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season, and la time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to mdie;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal;

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

a time to nweep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to odance;

a time to pcast away stones, and a time to qgather stones together;

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

a time to seek, and a time to slose;

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

a time to utear, and a time to sew;

a time to vkeep silence, and a time to speak;

a time to love, and a time to whate;

a time for war, and a time for peace.

The God-Given Task

What xgain has the worker from his toil? 10 I have seen ythe business that zGod has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has amade everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot bfind out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is cnothing better for them than to be joyful and to ddo good as long as they live; 13 also ethat everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is fGod's gift to man.

14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; gnothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15 That which is, halready has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God iseeks what has been driven away.1

From Dust to Dust

16 Moreover, jI saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even kthere was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. 17 I said in my heart, lGod will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is ma time for every matter and for every work. 18 I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but nbeasts. 19 oFor what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity.2 20 All go to one place. All are from pthe dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows whether qthe spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? 22 So I saw that there is rnothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for sthat is his lot. Who can bring him to see twhat will be after him?

Footnotes

[1] 3:15 Hebrew what has been pursued
[2] 3:19 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (see note on 1:2)