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Ecclesiastes 4:7–12

uAgain, I saw vanity under the sun: one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his feyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, g“For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy hbusiness.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, ibut how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

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Ecclesiastes 4:7–12 — The New International Version (NIV)

Again I saw something meaningless under the sun:

There was a man all alone;

he had neither son nor brother.

There was no end to his toil,

yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.

“For whom am I toiling,” he asked,

“and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?”

This too is meaningless—

a miserable business!

Two are better than one,

because they have a good return for their labor:

10 If either of them falls down,

one can help the other up.

But pity anyone who falls

and has no one to help them up.

11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.

But how can one keep warm alone?

12 Though one may be overpowered,

two can defend themselves.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:7–12 — King James Version (KJV 1900)

Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun. There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labour, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail. Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath 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 prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:7–12 — New Living Translation (NLT)

I observed yet another example of something meaningless under the sun. 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.

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.

Ecclesiastes 4:7–12 — The New King James Version (NKJV)

Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun:

There is one alone, without companion:

He has neither son nor brother.

Yet there is no end to all his labors,

Nor is his eye satisfied with riches.

But he never asks,

“For whom do I toil and deprive myself of good?”

This also is vanity and a grave misfortune.

Two are better than one,

Because they have a good reward for their labor.

10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.

But woe to him who is alone when he falls,

For he has no one to help him up.

11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;

But how can one be warm alone?

12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.

And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:7–12 — New Century Version (NCV)

Again I saw something here on earth that was useless:

I saw a man who had no family,

no son or brother.

He always worked hard

but was never satisfied with what he had.

He never asked himself, “For whom am I working so hard?

Why don’t I let myself enjoy life?”

This also is very sad and useless.

Two people are better than one,

because they get more done by working together.

10 If one falls down,

the other can help him up.

But it is bad for the person who is alone and falls,

because no one is there to help.

11 If two lie down together, they will be warm,

but a person alone will not be warm.

12 An enemy might defeat one person,

but two people together can defend themselves;

a rope that is woven of three strings is hard to break.

Ecclesiastes 4:7–12 — American Standard Version (ASV 1901)

Then I returned and saw vanity under the sun. There is one that is alone, and he hath not a second; yea, he hath neither son nor brother; yet is there no end of all his labor, neither are his eyes satisfied with riches. For whom then, saith he, do I labor, and deprive my soul of good? This also is vanity, yea, it is a sore travail. 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 falleth, and hath not another to lift him up. 11 Again, if two lie together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if a man prevail against him that is alone, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:7–12 — 1890 Darby Bible (DARBY)

And I returned and saw vanity under the sun. There is one alone and without a second; also he hath neither son nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labour, neither is his eye satisfied with riches, and he saith not, For whom then am I labouring, and depriving my soul of good? This also is vanity and a grievous occupation. Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, and who hath not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, then they have warmth; but how can one alone be warm? 12 And if a man overpower the one, the two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:7–12 — GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Next, I turned to look at something pointless under the sun: There are people who are all alone. They have no children or other family members. So there is no end to all the hard work they have to do. Their eyes are never satisfied with riches. But ⸤they never ask themselves⸥ why they are working so hard and depriving themselves of good things. Even this is pointless and a terrible tragedy. 

Two people are better than one because ⸤together⸥ they have a good reward for their hard work. 10 If one falls, the other can help his friend get up. But how tragic it is for the one who is ⸤all⸥ alone when he falls. There is no one to help him get up. 11 Again, if two people lie down together, they can keep warm, but how can one person keep warm? 12 Though one person may be overpowered by another, two people can resist one opponent. A triple-braided rope is not easily broken. 

Ecclesiastes 4:7–12 — The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Again, I saw futility under the sun: There is a person without a companion, without even a son or brother, and though there is no end to all his struggles, his eyes are still not content with riches. “So who am I struggling for,” he asks, “and depriving myself from good?” This too is futile and a miserable task.

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. 10 For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? 12 And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:7–12 — The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Again, I saw vanity under the sun: the case of solitary individuals, without sons or brothers; yet there is no end to all their toil, and their eyes are never satisfied with riches. “For whom am I toiling,” they ask, “and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:7–12 — The Lexham English Bible (LEB)

I turned again and saw another vanity under the sun. Sometimes a man is all alone with no companion; he also has neither son nor brother. Yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eye is not satisfied with wealth. He laments, “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity—it is an unhappy business!

Two are better than the one, for they enjoy a better reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will help up his companion. But pity the one who falls and there is no one to help him up. 11 Also if two lie together, they can keep each other warm. But how can one person be warm? 12 Although an assailant may overpower one person, two may withstand him. A threefold cord is not easily broken!

Ecclesiastes 4:7–12 — New International Reader’s Version (1998) (NIrV)

Again I saw something on earth that didn’t mean anything.

A man lived all by himself.

He didn’t have any sons or brothers.

His hard work never ended.

But he wasn’t happy with what he had.

“Who am I working so hard for?” he asked.

“Why don’t I get the things I enjoy?”

That doesn’t have any meaning either.

In fact, it’s a very bad deal!

Two people are better than one.

They can help each other in everything they do.

10 Suppose someone falls down.

Then his friend can help him up.

But suppose the man who falls down doesn’t have anyone to help him up.

Then feel sorry for him!

11 Or suppose two people lie down together.

Then they’ll keep warm.

But how can one person keep warm alone?

12 One person could be overpowered.

But two people can stand up for themselves.

And a rope made out of three cords isn’t easily broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:7–12 — New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (NASB95)

Then I looked again at vanity under the sun.

There was a certain man without a dependent, having neither a son nor a brother, yet there was no end to all his labor. Indeed, his eyes were not satisfied with riches and he never asked, “And for whom am I laboring and depriving myself of pleasure?” This too is vanity and it is a grievous task.

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.

10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.

11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?

12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.


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