New Life Version
4 Then I saw all the bad powers that were ruling under the sun. I saw the tears of the people who were suffering under these powers, with no one to comfort them. Those who made it hard for them had the power. But the people had no one to comfort them. 2 So I thought that those who are already dead are better off than those who are still living. 3 But better than both is the one who has never been, who has never seen the wrong that is done under the sun.
4 I have seen that all the work done is because a man wants what his neighbor has. This also is for nothing, like trying to catch the wind. 5 The fool folds his hands and has no food to eat. 6 One hand full of rest is better than two hands full of work and trying to catch the wind.
7 Then I looked again at what is of no use under the sun. 8 There was a certain man who lived alone. He did not have a son or a brother. Yet he worked all the time. His eyes were never happy with the riches he had, and he never asked, “For whom am I working and why am I keeping myself from happiness?” This also is for nothing. It is work that brings sorrow.
A True Friend
9 Two are better than one, because they have good pay for their work. 10 For if one of them falls, the other can help him up. But it is hard for the one who falls when there is no one to lift him up. 11 And if two lie down together, they keep warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 One man is able to have power over him who is alone, but two can stand against him. It is not easy to break a rope made of three strings.
13 A poor and wise boy is better than an old and foolish king who will no longer listen to words of wisdom. 14 A man can come out of prison to become king, even if he was born poor in his nation. 15 I have seen all the living under the sun gather to the side of the boy who becomes king in his place. 16 There was no end to all the people. He ruled over all of them. Yet those who come later will not be happy with him. For this also is for nothing, like trying to catch the wind.