Everything in God’s Own Time
1 Everything has its own time, and there is a specific time for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and
a time to die,
a time to plant and
a time to pull out what was planted,
3 a time to kill and
a time to heal,
a time to tear down and
a time to build up,
4 a time to cry and
a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and
a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and
a time to gather them,#Hebrew meaning of these two lines uncertain.
a time to hug and
a time to stop hugging,
6 a time to start looking and
a time to stop looking,
a time to keep and
a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear apart and
a time to sew together,
a time to keep quiet and
a time to speak out,
8 a time to love and
a time to hate,
a time for war and
a time for peace.
God Gives Mortals a Sense of Eternity
9 What do working people gain from their hard labor? 10 I have seen mortals weighed down with a burden that God has placed on them. 11 It is beautiful how God has done everything at the right time. He has put a sense of eternity in people’s minds. Yet, mortals still can’t grasp what God is doing from the beginning to the end ⌊of time⌋.
12 I realize that there’s nothing better for them to do than to be cheerful and enjoy what is good in their lives. 13 It is a gift from God to be able to eat and drink and experience the good that comes from every kind of hard work.
14 I realize that whatever God does will last forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing can be taken away from it. God does this so that people will fear him.
15 Whatever has happened ⌊in the past⌋ is present now. Whatever is going to happen ⌊in the future⌋ has already happened ⌊in the past⌋. God will call the past to account.#Hebrew meaning of this sentence uncertain.
Humans and Animals Meet the Same End
16 I saw something else under the sun:
There is wickedness where justice should be found.
There is wickedness where righteousness should be found.
17 I thought to myself, “God will judge righteous people as well as wicked people, because there is a specific time for every activity and every work that is done.” 18 I thought to myself, “God is going to test humans in order to show them that they are ⌊like⌋ animals.” 19 Humans and animals have the same destiny. One dies just like the other. All of them have the same breath ⌊of life⌋. Humans have no advantage over animals. All ⌊of life⌋ is pointless. 20 All ⌊life⌋ goes to the same place. All ⌊life⌋ comes from the ground, and all of it goes back to the ground. 21 Who knows whether a human spirit goes upward or whether an animal spirit goes downward to the earth?
22 I saw that there’s nothing better for people to do than to enjoy their work because that is their lot ⌊in life⌋. Who will allow them to see what will happen after them?