New International Reader's Version

Ecclesiastes 1

Everything Is Meaningless

1These are the words of the Teacher. He was the son of David. He was also the king in Jerusalem.

“Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!”
    says the Teacher.
“Everything is completely meaningless!
    Nothing has any meaning.”

What do people get for all their work?
    Why do they work so hard on this earth?
People come and people go.
    But the earth remains forever.
The sun rises. Then it sets.
    And then it hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south.
    Then it turns to the north.
Around and around it goes.
    It always returns to where it started.
Every stream flows into the ocean.
    But the ocean never gets full.
The streams return
    to the place they came from.
All things are tiresome.
    They are more tiresome than anyone can say.
But our eyes never see enough of anything.
    Our ears never hear enough.
Everything that has ever been will come back again.
    Everything that has ever been done will be done again.
    Nothing is new on earth.
10 There isn’t anything about which someone can say,
    “Look! Here’s something new.”
It was already here long ago.
    It was here before we were.
11 No one remembers the people of long ago.
    Even those who haven’t been born yet
won’t be remembered
    by those who will be born after them.

Wisdom Is Meaningless

12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I decided to study things carefully. I used my wisdom to check everything out. I looked into everything that is done on earth. What a heavy load God has put on human beings! 14 I’ve seen what is done on this earth. All of it is meaningless. It’s like chasing the wind.

15 People can’t straighten things that are crooked.
    They can’t count things that don’t even exist.

16 I said to myself, “Look, I’ve now grown wiser than anyone who ruled over Jerusalem in the past. I have a lot of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 Then I used my mind to understand what it really means to be wise. And I wanted to know what foolish pleasure is all about. But I found out that it’s also like chasing the wind.

18 A lot of human wisdom leads to a lot of sorrow.
    More knowledge only brings more sadness.

New Living Translation

Ecclesiastes 1

1These are the words of the Teacher,[a] King David’s son, who ruled in Jerusalem.

Everything Is Meaningless

“Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”

What do people get for all their hard work under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.

History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. 10 Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. 11 We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.

The Teacher Speaks: The Futility of Wisdom

12 I, the Teacher, was king of Israel, and I lived in Jerusalem. 13 I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done under heaven. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race. 14 I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind.

15 What is wrong cannot be made right.
    What is missing cannot be recovered.

16 I said to myself, “Look, I am wiser than any of the kings who ruled in Jerusalem before me. I have greater wisdom and knowledge than any of them.” 17 So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly. But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind.

18 The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief.
    To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.

Notas al pie

  1. 1:1 Hebrew Qoheleth; this term is rendered “the Teacher” throughout this book.