1These are the words of the Quester, David’s son and king in Jerusalem
2-11 Smoke, nothing but smoke. [That’s what the Quester says.]
There’s nothing to anything—it’s all smoke.
What’s there to show for a lifetime of work,
a lifetime of working your fingers to the bone?
One generation goes its way, the next one arrives,
but nothing changes—it’s business as usual for old
The sun comes up and the sun goes down,
then does it again, and again—the same old round.
The wind blows south, the wind blows north.
Around and around and around it blows,
blowing this way, then that—the whirling, erratic wind.
All the rivers flow into the sea,
but the sea never fills up.
The rivers keep flowing to the same old place,
and then start all over and do it again.
Everything’s boring, utterly boring—
no one can find any meaning in it.
Boring to the eye,
boring to the ear.
What was will be again,
what happened will happen again.
There’s nothing new on this earth.
Year after year it’s the same old thing.
Does someone call out, “Hey, this is new”?
Don’t get excited—it’s the same old story.
Nobody remembers what happened yesterday.
And the things that will happen tomorrow?
Nobody’ll remember them either.
Don’t count on being remembered.
I’ve Seen It All
12-14 Call me “the Quester.” I’ve been king over Israel in Jerusalem. I looked most carefully into everything, searched out all that is done on this earth. And let me tell you, there’s not much to write home about. God hasn’t made it easy for us. I’ve seen it all and it’s nothing but smoke—smoke, and spitting into the wind.
15 Life’s a corkscrew that can’t be straightened,
A minus that won’t add up.
16-17 I said to myself, “I know more and I’m wiser than anyone before me in Jerusalem. I’ve stockpiled wisdom and knowledge.” What I’ve finally concluded is that so-called wisdom and knowledge are mindless and witless—nothing but spitting into the wind.
18 Much learning earns you much trouble.
The more you know, the more you hurt.
12我传道者曾在耶路撒冷做以色列的王。 13我专心用智慧去研究、探索天下各样的事，发现上帝给世人的是极重的苦工。 14我观察一切日光之下所做的事，看啊，都是虚空，好像捕风。 15弯曲的不能变直，缺少的无法补足1:15 “补足”希伯来文是“数算”。。 16我心里想：“我获得极大的智慧，远超过以前统治耶路撒冷的人。我拥有丰富的智慧和知识。” 17我又专心察明智慧和知识、狂妄和愚昧，却发现这也是捕风。 18因为智慧越高，愁烦越多；知识越多，痛苦越深。