Ecclesiastes 4 – “Reflections”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Qohelet reflects upon the futility of existence, toil, loneliness, and kingship.

II. Photo
Friendship is praised: “Two are better off than one, in that they have greater benefit from their earnings.” (v. 9)

III. Select Verses    
1-3:  I further observed all the oppression that goes on under the sun: the tears of the oppressed, with none to comfort them; and the power of their oppressors — with none to comfort them. Then I accounted those who died long since more fortunate than those who are still living; and happier than either are those who have not yet come into being and have never witnessed the miseries that go on under the sun.
9-12: Two are better off than one, in that they have greater benefit from their earnings.  For should they fall, one can raise the other; but woe betide him who is alone and falls with no companion to raise him!  Further, when two lie together they are warm; but how can he who is alone get warm?  Also, if one attacks, two can stand up to him. A threefold cord is not readily broken!
13: Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer has the sense to heed warnings.

IV. Outline
1-3. Better to not be born
4-6. Envious toil
7-8. Lonely toil
9-12. The benefits of comraderie
13-16. Kingship
17. Sacrifice

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
C. L. Seow, Ecclesiastes (Anchor Yale Bible 18C; New Haven: Yale, 1997).
Photo copied from