The Vanity of Pleasure
1I said #Luke 12:19in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with #Prov. 14:13; (Eccl. 7:4; 8:15)mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely, #Eccl. 1:2this also was vanity. 2I said of laughter—“Madness!”; and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” 3#Eccl. 1:17I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was #(Eccl. 3:12, 13; 5:18; 6:12)good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.
4I made my works great, I built myself #1 Kin. 7:1–12houses, and planted myself vineyards. 5I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove. 7I acquired male and female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me. 8#1 Kin. 9:28; 10:10, 14, 21I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds.
9#Eccl. 1:16So I became great and excelled #2 Chr. 9:22more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me.
10Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.
I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure,
For my heart rejoiced in all my labor;
And #Eccl. 3:22; 5:18; 9:9this was my reward from all my labor.
11Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done
And on the labor in which I had toiled;
And indeed all was #Eccl. 1:3, 14vanity and grasping for the wind.
There was no profit under the sun.
The End of the Wise and the Fool
12Then I turned myself to consider wisdom #Eccl. 1:17; 7:25and madness and folly;
For what can the man do who succeeds the king?—
Only what he has already #Eccl. 1:9done.
13Then I saw that wisdom #Eccl. 7:11, 14, 19; 9:18; 10:10excels folly
As light excels darkness.
14#Prov. 17:24; Eccl. 8:1The wise man’s eyes are in his head,
But the fool walks in darkness.
Yet I myself perceived
That #Ps. 49:10; Eccl. 9:2, 3, 11the same event happens to them all.
15So I said in my heart,
“As it happens to the fool,
It also happens to me,
And why was I then more wise?”
Then I said in my heart,
“This also is vanity.”
16For there is #Eccl. 1:11; 4:16no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever,
Since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come.
And how does a wise man die?
As the fool!
17Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.
18Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because #Ps. 49:10I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. 20Therefore I turned my heart and despaired of all the labor in which I had toiled under the sun. 21For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; yet he must leave his heritage to a man who has not labored for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22#Eccl. 1:3; 3:9For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun? 23For all his days are #Job 5:7; 14:1sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity.
24#Eccl. 3:12, 13, 22; Is. 56:12; Luke 12:19; 1 Cor. 15:32; (1 Tim. 6:17)Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God. 25For who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, more than I? 26For God gives #Job 32:8; Prov. 2:6; James 1:5wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that #Job 27:16, 17; Prov. 28:8he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.