July 25

Ecclesiastes 1:1 — 4:16


The words of the congregator, the son of David the king in Jerusalem. 2 “The greatest vanity!” the congregator has said, “the greatest vanity! Everything is vanity!” 3 What profit does a man have in all his hard work at which he works hard under the sun? 4 A generation is going, and a generation is coming; but the earth is standing even to time indefinite. 5 And the sun also has flashed forth, and the sun has set, and it is coming panting to its place where it is going to flash forth.

6 The wind is going to the south, and it is circling around to the north. Round and round it is continually circling, and right back to its circlings the wind is returning.

7 All the winter torrents are going forth to the sea, yet the sea itself is not full. To the place where the winter torrents are going forth, there they are returning so as to go forth. 8 All things are wearisome; no one is able to speak of it. The eye is not satisfied at seeing, neither is the ear filled from hearing. 9 That which has come to be, that is what will come to be; and that which has been done, that is what will be done; and so there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Does anything exist of which one may say: “See this; it is new”? It has already had existence for time indefinite; what has come into existence is from time prior to us. 11 There is no remembrance of people of former times, nor will there be of those also who will come to be later. There will prove to be no remembrance even of them among those who will come to be still later on.

12 I, the congregator, happened to be king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I set my heart to seek and explore wisdom in relation to everything that has been done under the heavens—the calamitous occupation that God has given to the sons of mankind in which to be occupied. 14 I saw all the works that were done under the sun, and, look! everything was vanity and a striving after wind.

15 That which is made crooked cannot be made straight, and that which is wanting cannot possibly be counted. 16 I, even I, spoke with my heart, saying: “Look! I myself have greatly increased in wisdom more than anyone that happened to be before me in Jerusalem, and my own heart saw a great deal of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I proceeded to give my heart to knowing wisdom and to knowing madness, and I have come to know folly, that this too is a striving after wind. 18 For in the abundance of wisdom there is an abundance of vexation, so that he that increases knowledge increases pain.

2 I said, even I, in my heart: “Do come now, let me try you out with rejoicing. Also, see good.” And, look! that too was vanity. 2 I said to laughter: “Insanity!” and to rejoicing: “What is this doing?”

3 I explored with my heart by cheering my flesh even with wine, while I was leading my heart with wisdom, even to lay hold on folly until I could see what good there was to the sons of mankind in what they did under the heavens for the number of the days of their life. 4 I engaged in greater works. I built houses for myself; I planted vineyards for myself. 5 I made gardens and parks for myself, and I planted in them fruit trees of all sorts. 6 I made pools of water for myself, to irrigate with them the forest, springing up with trees. 7 I acquired menservants and maidservants, and I came to have sons of the household. Also, livestock, cattle and flocks in great quantity I came to have, more so than all those who happened to be before me in Jerusalem. 8 I accumulated also silver and gold for myself, and property peculiar to kings and the jurisdictional districts. I made male singers and female singers for myself and the exquisite delights of the sons of mankind, a lady, even ladies. 9 And I became greater and increased more than anyone that happened to be before me in Jerusalem. Moreover, my own wisdom remained mine.

10 And anything that my eyes asked for I did not keep away from them. I did not hold back my heart from any sort of rejoicing, for my heart was joyful because of all my hard work, and this came to be my portion from all my hard work. 11 And I, even I, turned toward all the works of mine that my hands had done and toward the hard work that I had worked hard to accomplish, and, look! everything was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing of advantage under the sun.

12 And I, even I, turned to see wisdom and madness and folly; for what can the earthling man do who comes in after the king? The thing that people have already done. 13 And I saw, even I, that there exists more advantage for wisdom than for folly, just as there is more advantage for light than for darkness.

14 As regards anyone wise, his eyes are in his head; but the stupid one is walking on in sheer darkness. And I have come to know, I too, that there is one eventuality that eventuates to them all. 15 And I myself said in my heart: “An eventuality like that upon the stupid one will eventuate to me, yes, me.” Why, then, had I become wise, I overmuch so at that time? And I spoke in my heart: “This too is vanity.” 16 For there is no more remembrance of the wise one than of the stupid one to time indefinite. In the days that are already coming in, everyone is certainly forgotten; and how will the wise one die? Along with the stupid one.

17 And I hated life, because the work that has been done under the sun was calamitous from my standpoint, for everything was vanity and a striving after wind. 18 And I, even I, hated all my hard work at which I was working hard under the sun, that I would leave behind for the man who would come to be after me. 19 And who is there knowing whether he will prove to be wise or foolish? Yet he will take control over all my hard work at which I worked hard and at which I showed wisdom under the sun. This too is vanity. 20 And I myself turned around toward making my heart despair over all the hard work at which I had worked hard under the sun. 21 For there exists the man whose hard work has been with wisdom and with knowledge and with proficiency, but to a man that has not worked hard at such a thing will be given the portion of that one. This too is vanity and a big calamity.

22 For what does a man come to have for all his hard work and for the striving of his heart with which he is working hard under the sun? 23 For all his days his occupation means pains and vexation, also during the night his heart just does not lie down. This too is mere vanity.

24 With a man there is nothing better [than] that he should eat and indeed drink and cause his soul to see good because of his hard work. This too I have seen, even I, that this is from the hand of the [true] God. 25 For who eats and who drinks better than I do?

26 For to the man that is good before him he has given wisdom and knowledge and rejoicing, but to the sinner he has given the occupation of gathering and bringing together merely to give to the one that is good before the [true] God. This too is vanity and a striving after wind.

3 For everything there is an appointed time, even a time for every affair under the heavens: 2 a time for birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what was planted; 3 a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build; 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to wail and a time to skip about; 5 a time to throw stones away and a time to bring stones together; a time to embrace and a time to keep away from embracing; 6 a time to seek and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away; 7 a time to rip apart and a time to sew together; a time to keep quiet and a time to speak; 8 a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace. 9 What advantage is there for the doer in what he is working hard at?

10 I have seen the occupation that God has given to the sons of mankind in which to be occupied. 11 Everything he has made pretty in its time. Even time indefinite he has put in their heart, that mankind may never find out the work that the [true] God has made from the start to the finish. 12 I have come to know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good during one’s life; 13 and also that every man should eat and indeed drink and see good for all his hard work. It is the gift of God.

14 I have come to know that everything that the [true] God makes, it will prove to be to time indefinite. To it there is nothing to add and from it there is nothing to subtract; but the [true] God himself has made it, that people may be afraid on account of him.

15 What has happened to be, it had already been, and what is to come to be has already proved to be; and the [true] God himself keeps seeking that which is pursued.

16 And I have further seen under the sun the place of justice where there was wickedness and the place of righteousness where wickedness was. 17 I myself have said in my heart: “The [true] God will judge both the righteous one and the wicked one, for there is a time for every affair and concerning every work there.”

18 I, even I, have said in my heart with regard to the sons of mankind that the [true] God is going to select them, that they may see that they themselves are beasts. 19 For there is an eventuality as respects the sons of mankind and an eventuality as respects the beast, and they have the same eventuality. As the one dies, so the other dies; and they all have but one spirit, so that there is no superiority of the man over the beast, for everything is vanity. 20 All are going to one place. They have all come to be from the dust, and they are all returning to the dust. 21 Who is there knowing the spirit of the sons of mankind, whether it is ascending upward; and the spirit of the beast, whether it is descending downward to the earth? 22 And I have seen that there is nothing better than that the man should rejoice in his works, for that is his portion; because who will bring him in to look on what is going to be after him?

4 And I myself returned that I might see all the acts of oppression that are being done under the sun, and, look! the tears of those being oppressed, but they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power, so that they had no comforter. 2 And I congratulated the dead who had already died rather than the living who were still alive. 3 So better than both of them [is] the one who has not yet come to be, who has not seen the calamitous work that is being done under the sun.

4 And I myself have seen all the hard work and all the proficiency in work, that it means the rivalry of one toward another; this also is vanity and a striving after the wind.
5 The stupid one is folding his hands and is eating his own flesh.
6 Better is a handful of rest than a double handful of hard work and striving after the wind.

7 I myself returned that I might see the vanity under the sun: 8 There exists one, but not a second one; also no son or brother does he have, but there is no end to all his hard work. Also, his eyes themselves are not satisfied with riches: “And for whom am I working hard and causing my soul to lack in good things?” This too is vanity, and it is a calamitous occupation.

9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their hard work. 10 For if one of them should fall, the other one can raise his partner up. But how will it be with just the one who falls when there is not another to raise him up?

11 Moreover, if two lie down together, they also will certainly get warm; but how can just one keep warm? 12 And if somebody could overpower one alone, two together could make a stand against him. And a threefold cord cannot quickly be torn in two.

13 Better is a needy but wise child than an old but stupid king, who has not come to know enough to be warned any longer. 14 For he has gone forth from the prison house itself to become king, although in the kingship of this one he had been born as one of little means. 15 I have seen all those alive who are walking about under the sun, [how it goes] with the child, who is second, that stands up in the other one’s place. 16 There is no end to all the people, to all those before whom he happened to be; neither will people afterward rejoice in him, for this too is vanity and a striving after the wind.