1There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:2a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,3a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,4a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,6a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,7a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,8a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.9What do workers gain from their toil?10I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.11He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.12I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.13That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.14I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.15Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account.16And I saw something else under the sun: In the place of judgment—wickedness was there, in the place of justice—wickedness was there.17I said to myself, “God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.”18I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals.19Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless.20All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.21Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”22So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?
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)