Tuesday of the 22nd week after Trinity: Ecclesiastes 3:16-end, Ecclesiastes 4.
“Therefore I praised the dead who were already dead,
More than the living who are still alive.
Yet, better than both is he who has never existed,
Who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 4:2, 3 NKJV)
David Daube, in his article “Black Hole”, points out that this is a peculiarly Hebraic wish, exceeding anything found in paganism. It is a wish not merely to die, but rather, never to have been born. The idea is found in Job (cursing the day of his birth) and from Jesus (“woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for him if he had not been born”).