A Time for Everything
1Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses.
2He sets the time for birth and the time for death,
the time for planting and the time for pulling up,
3the time for killing and the time for healing,
the time for tearing down and the time for building.
4He sets the time for sorrow and the time for joy,
the time for mourning and the time for dancing,
5the time for making love and the time for not making love,
the time for kissing and the time for not kissing.
6He sets the time for finding and the time for losing,
the time for saving and the time for throwing away,
7the time for tearing and the time for mending,
the time for silence and the time for talk.
8He sets the time for love and the time for hate,
the time for war and the time for peace.
9What do we gain from all our work? 10I know the heavy burdens that God has laid on us. 11He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what he does. 12So I realized that all we can do is be happy and do the best we can while we are still alive. 13All of us should eat and drink and enjoy what we have worked for. It is God's gift.
14I know that everything God does will last forever. You can't add anything to it or take anything away from it. And one thing God does is to make us stand in awe of him. 15Whatever happens or can happen has already happened before. God makes the same thing happen again and again.
Injustice in the World
16In addition, I have also noticed that in this world you find wickedness where justice and right ought to be. 17I told myself, “God is going to judge the righteous and the evil alike, because every thing, every action, will happen at its own set time.”#3.17: Probable text its own set time; Hebrew its own set time there. 18I decided that God is testing us, to show us that we are no better than animals. 19After all, the same fate awaits human beings and animals alike. One dies just like the other. They are the same kind of creature. A human being is no better off than an animal, because life has no meaning for either. 20They are both going to the same place—the dust. They both came from it; they will both go back to it. 21How can anyone be sure that the human spirit goes upward while an animal's spirit goes down into the ground? 22So I realized then that the best thing we can do is enjoy what we have worked for. There is nothing else we can do.#3.22: what we have … do; or our work, because we are going to have to do it anyway. There is no way for us to know what will happen after we die.