Ecclesiastes 1:12–2:9; Ecclesiastes 2:18–26

The Vanity of Wisdom

12 I othe Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I papplied my heart1 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 rvanity2 and a striving after wind.3

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.4 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,5 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.


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 enjoyment1 in his toil. This also, I saw, is hfrom the hand of God, 25 for apart from him2 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.