A Time for Everything
1There is a right time for everything, and everything on earth will happen at the right time.
2There is a time to be born
and a time to die.
There is a time to plant
and a time to pull up plants.
3There is a time to kill
and a time to heal.
There is a time to destroy
and a time to build.
4There is a time to cry
and a time to laugh.
There is a time to be sad
and a time to dance with joy.
5There is a time to throw weapons down
and a time to pick them up.#3:5 Literally, “There is a time to throw stones away and a time to gather stones.”
There is a time to hug someone
and a time to stop holding so tightly.
6There is a time to look for something
and a time to consider it lost.
There is a time to keep things
and a time to throw things away.
7There is a time to tear cloth
and a time to sew it.
There is a time to be silent
and a time to speak.
8There is a time to love
and a time to hate.
There is a time for war
and a time for peace.
God Controls His World
9Do people really gain anything from their hard work? 10I saw all the hard work God gave us to do. 11God gave us the ability to think about his world,#3:11 the ability … world Or “a desire to know the future.” but we can never completely understand everything he does. And yet, he does everything at just the right time.
12I learned that the best thing for people to do is to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live. 13God wants everyone to eat, drink, and enjoy their work. These are gifts from God.
14I learned that anything God does will continue forever. People cannot add anything to the work of God, and they cannot take anything away from it. God did this so that people would respect him. 15What happened in the past has happened, and what will happen in the future will happen. But God wants to help those who have been treated badly.#3:15 Or “What happens now also happened in the past. What happens in the future has also happened before. God makes things happen again and again.”
16I also saw these things in this life#3:16 in this life Literally, “under the sun.”: I saw that the courts should be filled with goodness and fairness, but there is evil there now. 17So I said to myself, “God has planned a time for everything, and he has planned a time to judge everything people do. He will judge good people and bad people.”
Are People Like Animals?
18I thought about what people do to each other. And I said to myself, “God wants people to see that they are like animals. 19The same thing happens to animals and to people—they die. People and animals have the same ‘breath.’#3:19 breath Or “spirit.” Is a dead animal different from a dead person? It is all so senseless! 20The bodies of people and animals end the same way. They came from the earth, and, in the end, they will go back to the earth. 21Who knows what happens to a person’s spirit? Who knows if a human’s spirit goes up to God while an animal’s spirit goes down into the ground?”
22So I saw that the best thing people can do is to enjoy what they do, because that is all they have. Besides, no one can help another person see what will happen in the future.