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。
1Again, I observed all the oppression that takes place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and their victims are helpless. 2 So I concluded that the dead are better off than the living. 3 But most fortunate of all are those who are not yet born. For they have not seen all the evil that is done under the sun.
4 Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.
5 “Fools fold their idle hands,
leading them to ruin.”
6 And yet,
“Better to have one handful with quietness
than two handfuls with hard work
and chasing the wind.”
The Advantages of Companionship
7 I observed yet another example of something meaningless under the sun. 8 This is the case of a man who is all alone, without a child or a brother, yet who works hard to gain as much wealth as he can. But then he asks himself, “Who am I working for? Why am I giving up so much pleasure now?” It is all so meaningless and depressing.
9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
The Futility of Political Power
13 It is better to be a poor but wise youth than an old and foolish king who refuses all advice. 14 Such a youth could rise from poverty and succeed. He might even become king, though he has been in prison. 15 But then everyone rushes to the side of yet another youth[a] who replaces him. 16 Endless crowds stand around him,[b] but then another generation grows up and rejects him, too. So it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind.