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For all things

there is an appointed time,

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and an appropriate time for everything wished for and planned out

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under heaven,

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Dreaming and making plans are not inherently wrong, however, for everything there is an appointed time,

and a right time

for everything man may desire

and plan to do under the watchful eye of God Himself.



The focus of this word is that it is a set time, an appointed time. It comes from a root word that means “appointed.” The emphasis is more on the “appointed” part, than on time.

2: “Planned out”

The word used here usually points to something like “delight, wish, or desire.” It can also mean “a purpose or a plan.” The translation and paraphrase above tie the two ideas together because our plans are based on our desires.


Much of Solomon’s discourse so far has focused on work and accomplishments, and one may get the impression that all dreaming, striving, planning and doing are bad. Here he seems to be clarifying that it is not always wrong to strive for and plan for something, but we must do those things at the proper time, meaning that there will be a time to stop doing one thing and change to something else. We should not get carried away with our plans and efforts. We should also carry out our plans in God’s way, i.e. without selfishness and pride. It is so easy to allow our accomplishments to become a source of pride, but when we do so they will become nothing more than a huge frustration.


Here the phrase “under heaven” is used in place of “under the sun.” The emphasis is on God and it seems to be employed to remind the reader to always keep in mind that God is watching everything we do. While Ecclesiastes does not strike us as a deeply spiritual book, there is a backbone of spiritual content that permeates it. This idea of God’s watchfulness, communicated by the word “heaven,” is an example.