1 So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side (Heb. hand, put for the violence proceeding from it) of their oppressors there was power; but they (i.e. the oppressed) had no comforter.
2 Wherefore I commended (or pronounced happy) the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.
3 Yes, better is he than both they, which has not yet been, who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
4 Again, I considered all toil (as connected with trouble, sorrow), and all the dexterity in work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbor. This is also vanity and feeding on wind.
5 The fool (= fat, and then dense, or stupid, which comes of it, showing itself in impiety) folds his hands together, and eats his own flesh.
6 Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with toil and feeding on wind.
7 Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun.
8 There is one alone, and there is not a second; yes, he has neither son nor brother: yet is there no end of all his toil; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither says he, 'For whom do I labor, and bereave myself of good?' This is also vanity, yes, it is a sore fatigue from toil.
9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falls; for he has not another to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
12 And if one overpower him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Cp. Num. 6:24-26. Mic. 6;8. Titus 2:12,13. 1 Thess. 1:3 with 1:9,10.)
13 Better is a poor (= strained in means, not able to profit others) and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.
14 For out of prison he comes to reign (cp. Joseph [Gen. 41:40]; Daniel [Dan. 5:29; 6:1-3]); whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becomes needy. (Cp. Rehoboam, robbed by Shishak [1 Kings 14:25-25].)
15 I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead.
16 There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.