The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Ecclesiastes
And then my thoughts would turn back to all the wrongs that are done under the sun’s eye. Innocent folk in tears, and who is to comfort them? Who is to comfort them, powerless against their oppressors?
The dead, it seemed, were more to be envied than the living;
better yet to be still unborn, never to have known the shameful deeds that are done, out here in the sunlight.
I thought, too, of human toil and striving; how much it owed to man’s rivalry with his fellows! All was frustration and lost labour here.
What wonder if the fool sits idle, and starves to death?
Better a handful (says he) quietly come by, than a whole armful that is all striving and labour lost.✻
And there was another kind of frustration I marked, here under the sun.
Here is one that works alone, partner nor son nor brother to aid him, yet still works on, never content with his bright hoard, never asking, as he toils and stints himself, who shall gain by it. Frustration and lost labour, here too.
Better to be in partnership with another, than alone; partnership brings advantage to both.
If one falls, the other will give support; with the lonely it goes hard; when he falls, there is none to raise him.
Sleep two in one bed, each shall warm the other; for the lonely, there is no warmth.
Two may withstand assault, where one is no match for it; a triple cord is not lightly broken.
There is more hope for a wise servant✻ that is in hard straits, than for a dotard king that foresight has none.
Men have risen to a throne that till now were bound in prison; men born to rule a kingdom have died of want.
I have seen the whole world, from east to west, take part with the young man, the usurper that rises in the old king’s stead.
The old king, that had an immemorial line of ancestors;✻ and now posterity shall take no pride in him! All is frustration, and labour lost.
Look well what thou art doing when thou goest into God’s house; present thyself there in a spirit of obedience. Obedience is far better than the sacrifice made by fools, that are guilty of unwitting sacrilege.✻
The Holy Bible