1There is a time for everything. There’s a time for everything that is done on earth.2There is a time to be born. And there’s a time to die. There is a time to plant. And there’s a time to pull up what is planted.3There is a time to kill. And there’s a time to heal. There is a time to tear down. And there’s a time to build up.4There is a time to weep. And there’s a time to laugh. There is a time to be sad. And there’s a time to dance.5There is a time to scatter stones. And there’s a time to gather them. There is a time to embrace someone. And there’s a time not to embrace.6There is a time to search. And there’s a time to stop searching. There is a time to keep. And there’s a time to throw away.7There is a time to tear. And there’s a time to mend. There is a time to be silent. And there’s a time to speak.8There is a time to love. And there’s a time to hate. There is a time for war. And there’s a time for peace.9What do workers get for their hard work?10I’ve seen the heavy load God has put on human beings.11He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also given people a sense of who he is. But they can’t completely understand what God has done from beginning to end.12People should be happy and do good while they live. I know there’s nothing better for them to do than that.13Each of them should eat and drink. People should be satisfied with all their hard work. That is God’s gift to them.14I know that everything God does will last for ever. Nothing can be added to it. And nothing can be taken from it. God does that so people will have respect for him.15Everything that now exists has already been. And what is coming has existed before. God will judge those who treat others badly.16Here’s something else I saw on earth. Where people should be treated right, they are treated wrong. Where people should be treated fairly, they are treated unfairly.17I said to myself, ‘God will judge godly and sinful people alike. He has a time for every act. He has a time to judge everything that is done.’18I also said to myself, ‘God tests human beings. He does this so they can see that in certain ways they are like animals.19Surely what happens to animals happens to people too. Death waits for people and animals alike. People die, just as animals do. All of them have the same breath. People don’t have any advantage over animals. Nothing has any meaning.20People and animals go to the same place. All of them come from dust. And all of them return to dust.21Who can know whether the spirit of a person goes up? Who can tell whether the spirit of an animal goes down into the earth?’22So a person should enjoy their work. That’s what God made them for. I saw that there’s nothing better for them to do than that. After all, who can show them what will happen after they are gone?
English Standard Version
A Time for Everything
1For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: (Ec 3:17; Ec 8:6)2a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; (Heb 9:27)3a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;4a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; (Ex 15:20; 2Sa 6:14; Ro 12:15)5a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; (2Ki 3:25; Isa 5:2; Joe 2:16)6a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; (Pr 11:24; Mt 10:39)7a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; (Ge 37:29; Am 5:13)8a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. (Lu 14:26)
The God-Given Task
9What gain has the worker from his toil? (Ec 1:3)10I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. (Ge 3:17; Ec 1:13)11He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. (Ge 1:31; Job 5:9; Ec 8:17; Ro 11:33)12I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; (Ps 34:14; Ps 37:3; Ec 3:22)13also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man. (Ec 2:24; Ec 5:19)14I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. (Jas 1:17)15That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away. (Ec 1:9; Ec 12:14)
From Dust to Dust
16Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. (Ec 4:1; Ec 5:8)17I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work. (Ec 3:1; Ec 8:6; Mt 16:27; Ro 2:6; 2Co 5:10; 2Th 1:6)18I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but beasts. (Ps 49:12; Ps 49:20; Ps 73:22)19For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. (Ec 2:14)20All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return. (Ge 3:19; Ec 12:7)21Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? (Ec 12:7)22So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him? (Ec 2:10; Ec 2:19; Ec 2:24; Ec 6:12; Ec 8:7; Ec 10:14)