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. 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. 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.
The Vanity of Knowledge
12I 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. 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. 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. 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.