Nothing Has Any Meaning
1These are the words of the Teacher. He was the son of David. He was also king in Jerusalem.
2"Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!"
says the Teacher.
"Everything is completely meaningless!
Nothing has any meaning."
3What does a man get for all of his work?
Why does he work so hard on this earth?
4People come and people go.
But the earth remains forever.
5The sun rises. Then it sets.
And then it hurries back to where it rises.
6The wind blows to the south.
Then it turns to the north.
Around and around it goes.
It always returns to where it started.
7Every stream flows into the ocean.
But the ocean never gets full.
The streams return
to the place they came from.
8All things are tiresome.
They are more tiresome than anyone can say.
But our eyes never see enough of anything.
Our ears never hear enough.
9Everything that has ever been will come back again.
Everything that has ever been done will be done again.
Nothing is new on earth.
10There 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.
11No one remembers the men of long ago.
Even those who haven't been born yet
won't be remembered
by those who will be born after them.
Wisdom Doesn't Have Any Meaning
12I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13I spent all of my time studying. 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 men!
14I've seen what is done on this earth. It doesn't have any meaning. It's like chasing the wind.
15People can't straighten things that are twisted.
They can't count things that don't even exist.
16I said to myself, "Look, my wisdom has really been growing. In fact, I'm now wiser than anyone who ruled over Jerusalem in the past. I have a lot of wisdom and knowledge."
17Then 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 that's also like chasing the wind.
18A lot of human wisdom leads to a lot of sorrow.
More knowledge only brings more sadness.