1The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 2Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. 3What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?
4One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. 5The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.1.5 hasteth: Heb. panteth 6The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. 7All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.1.7 return…: Heb. return to go 8All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
9The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 10Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. 11There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.
12¶ I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.1.13 to be…: or, to afflict them 14I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. 15That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.1.15 that which is wanting: Heb. defect 16I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.1.16 had…: Heb. had seen much 17And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. 18For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
Everything is meaningless
1The words of the Teacher,1:1 Or the leader of the assembly; also in verses 2 and 12 son of David, king of Jerusalem:
says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless.’
3What do people gain from all their labours
at which they toil under the sun?
4Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains for ever.
5The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.
6The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.
7All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.
8All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing.
9What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
10Is there anything of which one can say,
‘Look! This is something new’?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.
11No-one remembers the former generations,
and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow them.
Wisdom is meaningless
12I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! 14I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
15What is crooked cannot be straightened;
what is lacking cannot be counted.
16I said to myself, ‘Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.’ 17Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.
18For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
the more knowledge, the more grief.