The Futility of Pleasure and Possessions
9 Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me. 10 All that my eyes desired, I did not refuse them. I did not restrain my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor; and this was my reward for all my labor. 11 So I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had [h]exerted, and behold, all was futility and striving after wind, and there was no benefit under the sun.
Wisdom Surpasses Foolishness
12 So I turned to consider wisdom, insanity, and foolishness; for what will the man do who will come after the king, except what has already been done? 13 Then I saw that wisdom surpasses foolishness as light surpasses darkness. 14 The wise person’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I know that one and the same fate happens to [i]both of them. 15 Then I said [j]to myself, “As is the fate of the fool, it will also happen to me. Why then have I been extremely wise?” So [k]I said to myself, “This too is futility.” 16 For there is no [l]lasting remembrance of the wise, along with the fool, since in the coming days everything will [m]soon be forgotten. And how the wise and the fool alike die! 17 So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was [n]unhappy to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind.
The Futility of Labor
18 So I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is futility. 20 Therefore I [o]completely despaired over all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun. 21 When there is a person who has labored with wisdom, knowledge, and skill, and then gives his [p]legacy to one who has not labored for it; this too is futility and a great evil. 22 For what does a person get in all his labor and in [q]his striving with which he labors under the sun? 23 Because all his days his activity is painful and irritating; even at night his [r]mind does not rest. This too is futility.
24 There is nothing better for a person than to eat and drink, and show [s]himself some good in his trouble. This too I have seen, that it is from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without [t]Him? 26 For to a person who is good in His sight, He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in God’s sight. This too is futility and striving after wind.
- Ecclesiastes 2:1 Lit in my heart
- Ecclesiastes 2:1 Lit consider with goodness
- Ecclesiastes 2:3 Lit heart
- Ecclesiastes 2:3 Lit heart
- Ecclesiastes 2:3 Lit which they do
- Ecclesiastes 2:3 Lit days
- Ecclesiastes 2:7 Lit sons
- Ecclesiastes 2:11 Lit labored to do
- Ecclesiastes 2:14 Lit all of
- Ecclesiastes 2:15 Lit in my heart
- Ecclesiastes 2:15 Lit I spoke in my heart
- Ecclesiastes 2:16 Lit forever
- Ecclesiastes 2:16 Lit already
- Ecclesiastes 2:17 Lit evil
- Ecclesiastes 2:20 Lit turned aside my heart to despair
- Ecclesiastes 2:21 Lit share
- Ecclesiastes 2:22 Lit the striving of his heart
- Ecclesiastes 2:23 Lit heart
- Ecclesiastes 2:24 Lit his soul
- Ecclesiastes 2:25 As in LXX; Heb me