Advice on Social Matters
The Vanity of Living in a State of Oppression (4:1-3)
1 And I returned and saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors was power, and they had no comforter. 2 Then I praised the dead who are already dead more than the living who are yet alive; 3 and more fortunate than both is he who hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
The Vanity of Toil and Skillful Work (4:4-6)
4 And I saw all labour, and all success of work, that it is man’s jealousy of his neighbour. This also is vanity and pursuit of the wind. 5 The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh. 6 Better is a handful with quietness, than both hands full with labour and pursuit of the wind.
The Vanity of Isolation (4:7-12)
7 And I returned and saw vanity under the sun. 8 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. 9 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.
The Vanity of Popularity (4:13-16)
13 Better is a poor but wise youth than an old and foolish king, who knoweth no more how to be admonished. 14 For out of the prison-house he came forth to reign, although he was born poor in his kingdom. 15 I saw all the living that walk under the sun, with the child, the second, that should stand up in his stead. 16 There is no end of all the people, of all that stood before them; those however that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after the wind.