The Vanity of Self-Indulgence
2 I xsaid in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity.1 2 I ysaid of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” 3 I zsearched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and 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. 4 I made great works. I bbuilt houses and planted cvineyards for myself. 5 I made myself dgardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. 6 I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. 7 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. 8 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,2 the delight of the sons of man.
9 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, v“What 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 enjoyment3 in his toil. This also, I saw, is hfrom the hand of God, 25 for apart from him4 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
3 For everything there is a season, and la time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to mdie;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to nweep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to odance;
5 a time to pcast away stones, and a time to qgather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to rrefrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to slose;
a time to keep, and a time to tcast away;
7 a time to utear, and a time to sew;
a time to vkeep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to whate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
The God-Given Task
9 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 toil—this 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.1
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.2 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?
Evil Under the Sun
4 uAgain I vsaw all wthe oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had xno one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them. 2 And I ythought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. 3 But zbetter than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.
4 Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is avanity1 and a striving after wind.
5 The fool bfolds his hands and ceats his own flesh.
6 dBetter is a handful of equietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.
7 uAgain, I saw vanity under the sun: 8 one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his feyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, g“For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy hbusiness.
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, ibut how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
13 Better was ja poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how kto take advice. 14 For he went lfrom prison to the throne, though in his own kingdom he had been born poor. 15 I saw all the living who move about under the sun, along with that2 youth who was to stand in the king’s3 place. 16 There was no end of all the people, all of whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is mvanity and a striving after wind.
5 nGuard your steps when you go to othe house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to poffer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. 2 1 Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore qlet your words be few. 3 For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with rmany words.
4 When syou vow a vow to God, tdo not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. uPay what you vow. 5 vIt is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. 6 Let not your mouth lead you2 into sin, and do not say before wthe messenger3 that it was xa mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands? 7 For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity;4 but5 yGod is the one you must fear.
The Vanity of Wealth and Honor
8 zIf you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, ado not be amazed at the matter, bfor the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them. 9 But this is gain for a land in every way: a king committed to cultivated fields.6
10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. 11 When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? 12 Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.
13 cThere is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, 14 and those riches were lost in a bad venture. And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. 15 dAs he came from his mother’s womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. 16 This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what egain is there to him who ftoils for the wind? 17 Moreover, all his days he geats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger.
18 Behold, what I have seen to be hgood and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment7 in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his ilot. 19 Everyone also to whom jGod has given kwealth and possessions land power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is mthe gift of God. 20 For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.
6 nThere is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind: 2 a man oto whom pGod gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he qlacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God rdoes not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity;1 it is a grievous evil. 3 If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that sthe days of his years are many, but his soul is not satisfied with life’s tgood things, and he also has no uburial, I say that va stillborn child is better off than he. 4 For it comes in vanity and goes in darkness, and in darkness its name is covered. 5 Moreover, it has not wseen the sun or known anything, yet it finds xrest rather than he. 6 Even though he should live a thousand years twice over, yet enjoy2 no good—do not all go to the one place?
7 yAll the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied.3 8 For what advantage has the wise man zover the fool? And what does the poor man have who knows how to conduct himself before the living? 9 Better ais the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the appetite: this also is bvanity and a striving after wind.
10 Whatever has come to be has calready been named, and it is known what man is, and that he is not able to ddispute with one stronger than he. 11 The more words, the more vanity, and what is the advantage to man? 12 For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his evain4 life, which he passes like fa shadow? For who can tell man what will be gafter him under the sun?