Ecclesiastes 1–3; Psalm 78

All Is Vanity

The words of athe Preacher,1 the son of David, bking in Jerusalem.

cVanity2 of vanities, says athe Preacher,

cvanity of vanities! dAll is vanity.

eWhat fdoes man gain by all the toil

at which he toils under the sun?

A generation goes, and a generation comes,

but gthe earth remains forever.

hThe sun rises, and the sun goes down,

and hastens3 to the place where it rises.

iThe wind blows to the south

and goes around to the north;

around and around goes the wind,

and on its circuits the wind returns.

All jstreams run to the sea,

but the sea is not full;

to the place where the streams flow,

there they flow again.

All things are full of weariness;

a man cannot utter it;

kthe eye is not satisfied with seeing,

nor the ear filled with hearing.

lWhat has been is what will be,

and what has been done is what will be done,

and there is nothing new under the sun.

10  Is there a thing of which it is said,

See, this is new?

It has been malready

in the ages before us.

11  There is no nremembrance of former things,4

nor will there be any remembrance

of later things5 yet to be

among those who come after.

The Vanity of Wisdom

12 I othe Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I papplied my heart6 to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy qbusiness that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 14 I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is rvanity7 and a striving after wind.8

15  sWhat is crooked cannot be made straight,

and what is lacking cannot be counted.

16 I said in my heart, I have acquired great twisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. 17 And I uapplied my heart to know wisdom and to know vmadness and folly. I perceived that this also is but ra striving after wind.

18  For win much wisdom is much vexation,

and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

The Vanity of Self-Indulgence

I xsaid in my heart, Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself. But behold, this also was vanity.9 I ysaid of laughter, It is mad, and of pleasure, What use is it? I zsearched with my heart how to cheer my body with winemy heart still guiding me with wisdomand how to lay hold on afolly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. I made great works. I bbuilt houses and planted cvineyards for myself. I made myself dgardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and had eslaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of fherds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and ggold and the treasure of hkings and iprovinces. I got jsingers, both men and women, and many kconcubines,10 the delight of the sons of man.

So I became great and lsurpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my lwisdom remained with me. 10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart mfound pleasure in all my toil, and this was my nreward for all my toil. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was ovanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing pto be gained under the sun.

The Vanity of Living Wisely

12 qSo I turned to consider rwisdom and madness and folly. For what can the man do who comes after the king? Only swhat has already been done. 13 Then I saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness. 14 tThe wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the usame event happens to all of them. 15 Then I said in my heart, vWhat happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise? And I said in my heart that this also is vanity. 16 For of the wise as of the fool there is wno enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. xHow the wise dies just like the fool! 17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for oall is vanity and a striving after wind.

The Vanity of Toil

18 I hated yall my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must zleave it to the man who will come after me, 19 and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 So I aturned about and gave my heart up to despair bover all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21 because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 What has a man from call the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? 23 For dall his days are full of sorrow, and his ework is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.

24 fThere is nothing better for a person than that he should geat and drink and find enjoyment11 in his toil. This also, I saw, is hfrom the hand of God, 25 for apart from him12 who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 26 For to the one who pleases him iGod has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given ethe business of gathering and collecting, jonly to give to one who pleases God. kThis also is vanity and a striving after wind.

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season, and la time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to mdie;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to nweep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to odance;

a time to pcast away stones, and a time to qgather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to rrefrain from embracing;

a time to seek, and a time to slose;

a time to keep, and a time to tcast away;

a time to utear, and a time to sew;

a time to vkeep silence, and a time to speak;

a time to love, and a time to whate;

a time for war, and a time for peace.

The God-Given Task

What xgain has the worker from his toil? 10 I have seen ythe business that zGod has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has amade everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot bfind out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is cnothing better for them than to be joyful and to ddo good as long as they live; 13 also ethat everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toilthis is fGod’s gift to man.

14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; gnothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. 15 That which is, halready has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God iseeks what has been driven away.13

From Dust to Dust

16 Moreover, jI saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even kthere was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. 17 I said in my heart, lGod will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is ma time for every matter and for every work. 18 I said in my heart with regard to the children of man that God is testing them that they may see that they themselves are but nbeasts. 19 oFor what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity.14 20 All go to one place. All are from pthe dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows whether qthe spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth? 22 So I saw that there is rnothing better than that a man should rejoice in his work, for sthat is his lot. Who can bring him to see twhat will be after him?


Tell the Coming Generation

A Maskil1 of hAsaph.

78  iGive ear, O my people, to my teaching;

incline your ears to the words of my mouth!

jI will open my mouth kin a parable;

I will utter dark sayings from of old,

things that we have heard and known,

that our lfathers have told us.

We will not mhide them from their children,

but ntell to the coming generation

the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,

and othe wonders that he has done.

He established pa testimony in qJacob

and appointed a law in qIsrael,

which he commanded our fathers

to teach to their children,

that rthe next generation might know them,

the children yet unborn,

and arise and tell them to their children,

so that they should set their hope in God

and not forget sthe works of God,

but tkeep his commandments;

and that they should not be ulike their fathers,

va stubborn and rebellious generation,

a generation wwhose heart was not steadfast,

whose spirit was not faithful to God.

The Ephraimites, armed with2 the bow,

xturned back on the day of battle.

10  They ydid not keep God’s covenant,

but refused to walk according to his law.

11  They zforgot his works

and athe wonders that he had shown them.

12  In the sight of their fathers bhe performed wonders

in the land of Egypt, in cthe fields of Zoan.

13  He ddivided the sea and let them pass through it,

and made the waters estand like a heap.

14  fIn the daytime he led them with a cloud,

and all the night with a fiery light.

15  He gsplit rocks in the wilderness

and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep.

16  He made streams come out of hthe rock

and caused waters to flow down like rivers.

17  Yet they sinned still more against him,

irebelling against the Most High in the desert.

18  They jtested God in their heart

by demanding the food they craved.

19  They spoke against God, saying,

kCan God lspread a table in the wilderness?

20  mHe struck the rock so that water gushed out

and streams overflowed.

Can he also give bread

or provide meat for his people?

21  Therefore, when the Lord heard, he was full of wrath;

na fire was kindled against Jacob;

his anger rose against Israel,

22  because they odid not believe in God

and did not trust his saving power.

23  Yet he commanded the skies above

and popened the doors of heaven,

24  and he qrained down on them manna to eat

and gave them rthe grain of heaven.

25  Man ate of the bread of sthe angels;

he sent them food tin abundance.

26  He ucaused the east wind to blow in the heavens,

and by his power he led out the south wind;

27  he rained meat on them like vdust,

winged birds like wthe sand of the seas;

28  he xlet them fall in the midst of their camp,

all around their dwellings.

29  And they yate and were well filled,

for he gave them what they zcraved.

30  But before they had satisfied their craving,

awhile the food was still in their mouths,

31  the anger of God rose against them,

and he killed bthe strongest of them

and laid low cthe young men of Israel.

32  In spite of all this, they dstill sinned;

edespite his wonders, they did not believe.

33  So he made ftheir days gvanish like3 a breath,4

and their years in terror.

34  When he killed them, they hsought him;

they repented and sought God earnestly.

35  They remembered that God was their irock,

the Most High God their jredeemer.

36  But they kflattered him with their mouths;

they llied to him with their tongues.

37  Their mheart was not nsteadfast toward him;

they were not faithful to his covenant.

38  Yet he, being ocompassionate,

patoned for their iniquity

and did not destroy them;

he restrained his anger often

and did not stir up all his wrath.

39  He qremembered that they were but rflesh,

sa wind that passes and comes not again.

40  How often they trebelled against him in the wilderness

and ugrieved him in vthe desert!

41  They wtested God again and again

and provoked xthe Holy One of Israel.

42  They ydid not remember his power5

or the day when he redeemed them from the foe,

43  zwhen he performed his asigns in Egypt

and his bmarvels in cthe fields of Zoan.

44  He dturned their rivers to blood,

so that they could not drink of their streams.

45  He sent among them swarms of eflies, which devoured them,

and ffrogs, which destroyed them.

46  He gave their crops to gthe destroying locust

and the fruit of their labor to the locust.

47  He destroyed their vines with hhail

and their sycamores with frost.

48  He gave over their icattle to the hail

and their flocks to thunderbolts.

49  He let loose on them his burning anger,

wrath, indignation, and distress,

a company of jdestroying angels.

50  He made a path for his anger;

he did not spare them from death,

but gave their lives over to the plague.

51  He struck down every kfirstborn in Egypt,

the firstfruits of their strength in the tents of lHam.

52  Then he led out his people mlike sheep

and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.

53  nHe led them in safety, so that they owere not afraid,

but pthe sea overwhelmed their enemies.

54  And he brought them to his qholy land,

rto the mountain which his right hand had swon.

55  He tdrove out nations before them;

he uapportioned them for a possession

and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.

56  Yet they vtested and wrebelled against the Most High God

and did not keep his testimonies,

57  but turned away and acted treacherously like their fathers;

they twisted like xa deceitful bow.

58  For they yprovoked him to anger with their zhigh places;

they amoved him to jealousy with their bidols.

59  When God heard, he was full of cwrath,

and he utterly rejected Israel.

60  He dforsook his dwelling at eShiloh,

the tent where he dwelt among mankind,

61  and delivered his fpower to captivity,

his gglory to the hand of the foe.

62  He hgave his people over to the sword

and ivented his wrath on his heritage.

63  jFire devoured their young men,

and their young women had no kmarriage song.

64  Their lpriests fell by the sword,

and their mwidows made no lamentation.

65  Then the Lord nawoke as from sleep,

like a strong man shouting because of wine.

66  And he oput his adversaries to rout;

he put them to everlasting shame.

67  He rejected the tent of pJoseph;

he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim,

68  but he chose the tribe of Judah,

Mount Zion, which he qloves.

69  He rbuilt his sanctuary like the high heavens,

like the earth, which he has founded forever.

70  He schose David his servant

and took him from the sheepfolds;

71  from tfollowing the nursing ewes he brought him

to ushepherd Jacob his people,

Israel his vinheritance.

72  With wupright heart he shepherded them

and xguided them with his skillful hand.