New International Version

Ecclesiastes 3

A Time for Everything

1There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

15 Whatever is has already been,
    and what will be has been before;
    and God will call the past to account.[b]

16 And I saw something else under the sun:

In the place of judgment—wickedness was there,
    in the place of justice—wickedness was there.

17 I said to myself,

“God will bring into judgment
    both the righteous and the wicked,
for there will be a time for every activity,
    a time to judge every deed.”

18 I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19 Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath[c]; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”

22 So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?

Footnotes

  1. Ecclesiastes 3:11 Or also placed ignorance in the human heart, so that
  2. Ecclesiastes 3:15 Or God calls back the past
  3. Ecclesiastes 3:19 Or spirit

New International Reader's Version

Ecclesiastes 3

There Is a Time for Everything

1There is a time for everything.
    There’s a time for everything that is done on earth.

There is a time to be born.
    And there’s a time to die.
There is a time to plant.
    And there’s a time to pull up what is planted.
There is a time to kill.
    And there’s a time to heal.
There is a time to tear down.
    And there’s a time to build up.
There is a time to weep.
    And there’s a time to laugh.
There is a time to be sad.
    And there’s a time to dance.
There is a time to scatter stones.
    And there’s a time to gather them.
There is a time to embrace someone.
    And there’s a time not to embrace.
There is a time to search.
    And there’s a time to stop searching.
There is a time to keep.
    And there’s a time to throw away.
There is a time to tear.
    And there’s a time to mend.
There is a time to be silent.
    And there’s a time to speak.
There is a time to love.
    And there’s a time to hate.
There is a time for war.
    And there’s a time for peace.

What do workers get for their hard work? 10 I’ve seen the heavy load God has put on human beings. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also given people a sense of who he is. But they can’t completely understand what God has done from beginning to end. 12 People should be happy and do good while they live. I know there’s nothing better for them to do than that. 13 Each of them should eat and drink. People should be satisfied with all their hard work. That is God’s gift to them. 14 I know that everything God does will last forever. Nothing can be added to it. And nothing can be taken from it. God does that so people will have respect for him.

15 Everything that now exists has already been.
    And what is coming has existed before.
    God will judge those who treat others badly.

16 Here’s something else I saw on earth.

Where people should be treated right,
    they are treated wrong.
Where people should be treated fairly,
    they are treated unfairly.

17 I said to myself,

“God will judge
    godly and sinful people alike.
He has a time for every act.
    He has a time to judge everything that is done.”

18 I also said to myself, “God tests human beings. He does this so they can see that in certain ways they are like animals. 19 Surely what happens to animals happens to people too. Death waits for people and animals alike. People die, just as animals do. All of them have the same breath. People don’t have any advantage over animals. Nothing has any meaning. 20 People and animals go to the same place. All of them come from dust. And all of them return to dust. 21 Who can know whether the spirit of a person goes up? Who can tell whether the spirit of an animal goes down into the earth?”

22 So a person should enjoy their work. That’s what God made them for. I saw that there’s nothing better for them to do than that. After all, who can show them what will happen after they are gone?