Everything is Futile
1The words of the Teacher, # Or of Qoheleth, or of the Leader of the Assembly # Ec 1:12; 7:27; 12:8-10 son of David, king in Jerusalem. # 1Kg 2:12; Pr 1:1
2“Absolute futility,” says the Teacher.
“Absolute futility. Everything is futile.” # Ps 39:5-6; 62:9; 144:4; Ec 12:8; Rm 8:20
3What does a man gain for all his efforts
that he labors at under the sun? # Ec 2:11,22; 3:9; 5:16
4A generation goes and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever. # Ps 104:5; 119:90; 1Jn 2:17
5The sun rises and the sun sets;
panting, it returns to its place # Ps 19:6
where it rises.
6Gusting to the south,
turning to the north,
turning, turning, goes the wind, # Ec 11:5; Jn 3:8
and the wind returns in its cycles.
7All the streams flow to the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
The streams are flowing to the place,
and they flow there again.
8All things # Or words are wearisome;
man is unable to speak.
The eye is not satisfied by seeing # Pr 27:20; Ec 4:8
or the ear filled with hearing.
9What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done;
there is nothing new under the sun.
10Can one say about anything,
“Look, this is new”?
It has already existed in the ages before us.
11There is no remembrance of those who # Or of the things that came before; # Dt 9:14; Ec 2:16; 9:5
and of those who # Or of the things that will come after
there will also be no remembrance
by those who follow them.
The Limitations of Wisdom
12I, the Teacher, # Ec 1:1; 7:27; 12:8-10 have been # Or Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13I applied my mind to seek # Ec 1:17 and explore through wisdom all that is done under heaven. # 1Kg 4:29-34; Ec 3:10-11; 7:25; 8:17 God has given people this miserable task to keep them occupied. # Gn 3:19; Ec 2:23,26; 3:10; 4:8 14I have seen all the things that are done under the sun and have found everything to be futile, a pursuit of the wind. # Or a feeding on wind, or an affliction of spirit # Pr 27:16; Ec 2:11,17; 4:4; 6:9
15What is crooked cannot be straightened; # Ec 7:13
what is lacking cannot be counted.
16I said to myself, # Lit said with my heart “Look, I have amassed wisdom far beyond all those who were over Jerusalem before me, # 1Kg 3:12; 4:30; 10:23; Ec 2:9 and my mind has thoroughly grasped # Or discerned wisdom and knowledge.” 17I applied my mind to know wisdom and knowledge, # Ec 1:13 madness and folly; # Ec 2:12; 7:25 I learned that this too is a pursuit of the wind. # Or a feeding on wind, or an affliction of spirit # Ec 2:11,17; 4:4,6,16; 6:9
18For with much wisdom is much sorrow; # Ec 2:23; 12:12
as knowledge increases, grief increases.