1於是，我又觀察日光之下的一切欺壓之事。我看見受欺壓的淚流滿面，無人安慰。因為欺壓者有權有勢，所以無人安慰他們。 2 我為那已死的人慶幸，因為他們比活著的人幸福。 3 不過，比以上兩種人更幸運的是那從未出生的人，他們從未見過日光之下各樣的惡行。 4 我又看見人的一切勞碌和成就原是出於爭強好勝。這也是虛空，如同捕風。 5 愚人遊手好閒，最後只能餓死。 6 擁有不多，心裡安寧，勝過擁有很多，仍勞碌捕風。 7 我又看見日光之下一件虛空的事： 8 有一個人孤孤單單，沒有兒子也沒有兄弟，卻終身勞碌。他雖然家道豐裕，仍不滿足，從未想過「我不停地勞碌，放棄一切享受，究竟是為了誰？」這也是虛空，是一種悲哀。 9 兩個人總比一個人好，因為二人勞碌同得美好的成果。 10 一人跌倒，總有同伴相扶。但孤身一人、跌倒了無人相扶的真悲慘！ 11 還有，二人同睡會暖和，一人獨睡怎能暖和呢？ 12 遭遇攻擊，一人獨自不能抵擋，二人並肩就能對付。三股擰成的繩子不容易斷。 13 貧窮但有智慧的青年，勝過年老、愚昧、不再納諫的君王。 14 雖然這青年在本國出身貧寒，卻能從囚犯成為君王。 15 我看見所有日光之下的人都起來擁護這位代替老君王的青年。 16 擁護他的人不計其數，以後的世代卻對他不滿。這也是虛空，如同捕風。
11-3 Next I turned my attention to all the outrageous violence that takes place on this planet—the tears of the victims, no one to comfort them; the iron grip of oppressors, no one to rescue the victims from them. So I congratulated the dead who are already dead instead of the living who are still alive. But luckier than the dead or the living is the person who has never even been, who has never seen the bad business that takes place on this earth.
4 Then I observed all the work and ambition motivated by envy. What a waste! Smoke. And spitting into the wind.
5 The fool sits back and takes it easy,
His sloth is slow suicide.
6 One handful of peaceful repose
Is better than two fistfuls of worried work—
More spitting into the wind.
Why Am I Working Like a Dog?
7-8 I turned my head and saw yet another wisp of smoke on its way to nothingness: a solitary person, completely alone—no children, no family, no friends—yet working obsessively late into the night, compulsively greedy for more and more, never bothering to ask, “Why am I working like a dog, never having any fun? And who cares?” More smoke. A bad business.
9-10 It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there’s no one to help, tough!
11 Two in a bed warm each other.
Alone, you shiver all night.
12 By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.
13-16 A poor youngster with some wisdom is better off than an old but foolish king who doesn’t know which end is up. I saw a youth just like this start with nothing and go from rags to riches, and I saw everyone rally to the rule of this young successor to the king. Even so, the excitement died quickly, the throngs of people soon lost interest. Can’t you see it’s only smoke? And spitting into the wind?