A time for everything
1There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9What do workers gain from their toil? 10I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet#3:11 Or also placed ignorance in the human heart, so that no-one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil – this is the gift of God. 14I know that everything God does will endure for ever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.
15Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account.#3:15 Or God calls back the past
16And I saw something else under the sun:
in the place of judgment – wickedness was there,
in the place of justice – wickedness was there.
17I said to myself,
‘God will bring into judgment
both the righteous and the wicked,
for there will be a time for every activity,
a time to judge every deed.’
18I also said to myself, ‘As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: as one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath#3:19 Or spirit; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. 20All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?’
22So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?