1There is another serious tragedy I have seen under the sun, and it weighs heavily on humanity. 2God gives some people great wealth and honor and everything they could ever want, but then he doesn’t give them the chance to enjoy these things. They die, and someone else, even a stranger, ends up enjoying their wealth! This is meaningless—a sickening tragedy.
3A man might have a hundred children and live to be very old. But if he finds no satisfaction in life and doesn’t even get a decent burial, it would have been better for him to be born dead. 4His birth would have been meaningless, and he would have ended in darkness. He wouldn’t even have had a name, 5and he would never have seen the sun or known of its existence. Yet he would have had more peace than in growing up to be an unhappy man. 6He might live a thousand years twice over but still not find contentment. And since he must die like everyone else—well, what’s the use?
7All people spend their lives scratching for food, but they never seem to have enough. 8So are wise people really better off than fools? Do poor people gain anything by being wise and knowing how to act in front of others?
9Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless—like chasing the wind.
The Future—Determined and Unknown
10Everything has already been decided. It was known long ago what each person would be. So there’s no use arguing with God about your destiny.
11The more words you speak, the less they mean. So what good are they?
12In the few days of our meaningless lives, who knows how our days can best be spent? Our lives are like a shadow. Who can tell what will happen on this earth after we are gone?