The Message

Ecclesiastes 1

The Quester

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
        planet earth.
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.

New American Standard Bible

Ecclesiastes 1

The Futility of All Endeavor

1The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

[a]Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,
[b]Vanity of vanities! All is [c]vanity.”

What advantage does man have in all his work
Which he does under the sun?
A generation goes and a generation comes,
But the earth [d]remains forever.
Also, the sun rises and the sun sets;
And [e]hastening to its place it rises there again.
[f]Blowing toward the south,
Then turning toward the north,
The wind continues [g]swirling along;
And on its circular courses the wind returns.
All the rivers [h]flow into the sea,
Yet the sea is not full.
To the place where the rivers [i]flow,
There they [j]flow again.
All things are wearisome;
Man is not able to tell it.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
Nor is the ear filled with hearing.
That which has been is that which will be,
And that which has been done is that which will be done.
So there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one might say,
“See this, it is new”?
Already it has existed for ages
Which were before us.
11 There is no remembrance of [k]earlier things;
And also of the [l]later things which will occur,
There will be for them no remembrance
Among those who will come [m]later still.

The Futility of Wisdom

12 I, the Preacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I set my [n]mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is [o]a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with. 14 I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is [p]vanity and striving after wind. 15 What is crooked cannot be straightened and what is lacking cannot be counted.

16 I [q]said to myself, “Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my [r]mind has observed [s]a wealth of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I set my [t]mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind. 18 Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.

Notas al pie

  1. Ecclesiastes 1:2 Or Futility of futilities
  2. Ecclesiastes 1:2 Or Futility of futilities
  3. Ecclesiastes 1:2 Or futile
  4. Ecclesiastes 1:4 Lit stands
  5. Ecclesiastes 1:5 Lit panting
  6. Ecclesiastes 1:6 Lit Going
  7. Ecclesiastes 1:6 Lit turning
  8. Ecclesiastes 1:7 Lit go
  9. Ecclesiastes 1:7 Lit go
  10. Ecclesiastes 1:7 Lit go
  11. Ecclesiastes 1:11 Lit first or former
  12. Ecclesiastes 1:11 Lit latter or after
  13. Ecclesiastes 1:11 Lit latter or after
  14. Ecclesiastes 1:13 Lit heart
  15. Ecclesiastes 1:13 Lit an evil
  16. Ecclesiastes 1:14 Or futility
  17. Ecclesiastes 1:16 Lit spoke with my heart, saying
  18. Ecclesiastes 1:16 Lit heart
  19. Ecclesiastes 1:16 Lit an abundance
  20. Ecclesiastes 1:17 Lit heart