A season for everything
1There’s a season for everything
and a time for every matter under the heavens:
2a time for giving birth and a time for dying,
a time for planting and a time for uprooting what was planted,
3a time for killing and a time for healing,
a time for tearing down and a time for building up,
4a time for crying and a time for laughing,
a time for mourning and a time for dancing,
5a time for throwing stones and a time for gathering stones,
a time for embracing and a time for avoiding embraces,
6a time for searching and a time for losing,
a time for keeping and a time for throwing away,
7a time for tearing and a time for repairing,
a time for keeping silent and a time for speaking,
8a time for loving and a time for hating,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9What do workers gain from all their hard work? 10I have observed the task that God has given human beings. 11God has made everything fitting in its time, but has also placed eternity in their hearts, without enabling them to discover what God has done from beginning to end.
12I know that there’s nothing better for them but to enjoy themselves and do what’s good while they live. 13Moreover, this is the gift of God: that all people should eat, drink, and enjoy the results of their hard work. 14I know that whatever God does will last forever; it’s impossible to add to it or take away from it. God has done this so that people are reverent before him.#Or to inspire awe before the divine 15Whatever happens has already happened, and whatever will happen has already happened before. And God looks after what is driven away.#Or God seeks out what is pursued, or God seeks what has gone by, or God seeks the pursued; Heb uncertain
Enjoy what you do now
16I saw something else under the sun: in the place of justice, there was wickedness; and in the place of what was right, there was wickedness again! 17I thought to myself, God will judge both righteous and wicked people, because there’s a time for every matter and every deed. 18I also thought, Where human beings are concerned, God tests them to show them that they are but animals 19because human beings and animals share the same fate. One dies just like the other—both have the same life-breath. Humans are no better off than animals because everything is pointless.
20All go to the same place:
all are from the dust;
all return to the dust.
21Who knows if a human being’s life-breath rises upward while an animal’s life-breath descends into the earth? 22So I perceived that there was nothing better for human beings but to enjoy what they do because that’s what they’re allotted in life. Who, really, is able to see what will happen in the future?