The Emptiness of Pleasure
1I said to myself, “Go ahead, I will test you with pleasure; # Ec 7:4; 8:15; Lk 12:19 enjoy what is good.” But it turned out to be futile. 2I said about laughter, # Pr 14:13; Ec 7:3,6 “It is madness,” and about pleasure, “What does this accomplish? ” 3I explored with my mind how to let my body enjoy life # Lit to pull my body with wine # Ps 104:15; Ec 10:19 and how to grasp folly # Ec 7:25 — my mind still guiding me with wisdom — until I could see what is good for people to do under heaven # Two Hb mss, LXX, Syr read the sun during the few days of their lives. # Ec 2:24; 3:12,13; 5:18; 8:15
The Emptiness of Possessions
4I increased my achievements. I built houses # 1Kg 7:1-12 and planted vineyards # Sg 8:11 for myself. 5I made gardens # Sg 4:16 and parks for myself and planted every kind of fruit tree in them. 6I constructed reservoirs of water for myself from which to irrigate a grove of flourishing trees. # Neh 2:14; 3:15-16 7I acquired male and female servants and had slaves who were born in my house. # Gn 14:14; 15:3 I also owned many herds of cattle and flocks, more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. # 1Kg 4:23 8I also amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. # 1Kg 9:28; 10:10,14,21 I gathered male and female singers for myself, # 2Sm 19:35 and many concubines, the delights of men. # LXX, Theod, Syr read and male cupbearers and female cupbearers ; Aq, Tg, Vg read a cup and cups ; Hb obscure # Or many treasures that people delight in 9So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; # 1Ch 29:25; Ec 1:16 my wisdom also remained with me. 10All that my eyes desired, I did not deny them. # Ec 6:2 I did not refuse myself any pleasure, for I took pleasure in all my struggles. This was my reward for all my struggles. # Ec 3:22; 5:18; 9:9 11When I considered all that I had accomplished # Lit all my works that my hands had done and what I had labored to achieve, I found everything to be futile and a pursuit of the wind. # Ec 1:14; 2:22-23 There was nothing to be gained under the sun. # Ec 1:3; 3:9; 5:16
The Relative Value of Wisdom
12Then I turned to consider wisdom, # Ec 1:17 madness, and folly, for what will the man be like who comes after the king? He # Some Hb mss read They will do what has already been done. # Ec 1:9-10; 3:15 13And I realized that there is an advantage to wisdom over folly, like the advantage of light over darkness. # Ec 7:11-12,19; 9:18; 10:10
14The wise man has eyes in his head,
but the fool walks in darkness. # Pr 2:10-13; 1Jn 2:11
Yet I also knew that one fate comes to them both. # Ps 49:10; Ec 3:19; 6:6; 7:2; 9:2-3 15So I said to myself, “What happens to the fool will also happen to me. Why then have I been overly wise? ” # Ec 6:8,11; 7:16 And I said to myself that this is also futile. 16For, just like the fool, there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man, # Dt 32:26; 2Sm 18:18; Ec 1:11; 9:5 since in the days to come both will be forgotten. How is it that the wise man dies just like the fool? 17Therefore, I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me. For everything is futile and a pursuit of the wind.
The Emptiness of Work
18I hated all my work that I labored at under the sun # Ec 1:3; 2:11 because I must leave it to the man who comes after me. # Ps 39:6; 49:10; Pr 13:22 19And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? # Ezk 18:9-10 Yet he will take over all my work that I labored at skillfully under the sun. This too is futile. 20So I began to give myself over # Lit And I turned to cause my heart to despair concerning all my work that I had labored at under the sun. 21When there is a man whose work was done with wisdom, knowledge, and skill, # Ec 4:4 and he must give his portion to a man who has not worked for it, this too is futile and a great wrong. 22For what does a man get with all his work and all his efforts # Ec 1:3; 2:11 that he labors at under the sun? 23For all his days are filled with grief, and his occupation is sorrowful; # Jb 5:7; 14:1 even at night, his mind does not rest. # Ps 127:2 This too is futile.
24There is nothing better for man than to eat, drink, and enjoy # Syr, Tg; MT reads There is no good in man who eats and drinks and enjoys # Lit and his soul sees good his work. # Ec 2:3; 3:12-13,22; 5:18; 6:12; 8:15; 9:7; Is 56:12; Lk 12:19; 1Co 15:32; 1Tm 6:17 I have seen that even this is from God’s hand, # Ec 3:13 25because who can eat and who can enjoy life # LXX, Theod, Syr read can drink apart from Him? # Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr read me 26For to the man who is pleasing in His sight, He gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy, # Jb 32:8; Pr 2:6 but to the sinner He gives the task of gathering and accumulating in order to give to the one who is pleasing in God’s sight. # Jb 27:16-17; Pr 13:22; 28:8 This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind. # Ec 1:14