Ecclesiastes 1
ESV

Ecclesiastes 1

1
All Is Vanity
1The words of #ver. 12; ch. 7:27; 12:8-10 the Preacher,#1:1 Or Convener, or Collector; Hebrew Qoheleth (so throughout Ecclesiastes) the son of David, #ver. 12king in Jerusalem.
2 # ch. 12:8 Vanity#1:2 The Hebrew term hebel, translated vanity or vain, refers concretely to a “mist,” “vapor,” or “mere breath,” and metaphorically to something that is fleeting or elusive (with different nuances depending on the context). It appears five times in this verse and in 29 other verses in Ecclesiastes of vanities, says #[See ver. 1 above] the Preacher,
# ch. 12:8 vanity of vanities! #[Rom. 8:20]All is vanity.
3 # ver. 14; Ps. 144:4; See Job 7:16; Ps. 39:5 What #ch. 2:11, 22; 3:9; 5:16does man gain by all the toil
at which he toils under the sun?
4A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but #Ps. 104:5; 119:90the earth remains forever.
5 # [Ps. 19:4-6] The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
and hastens#1:5 Or and returns panting to the place where it rises.
6 # [ch. 11:5; John 3:8] The wind blows to the south
and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
and on its circuits the wind returns.
7All #Ps. 104:8, 9streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
8All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;
# ch. 4:8; Prov. 27:20 the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 # ch. 3:15; 6:10; [ch. 2:12] What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
10Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been #ch. 3:15already
in the ages before us.
11There is no #ch. 2:16; See ch. 9:5remembrance of former things,#1:11 Or former people
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things#1:11 Or later people yet to be
among those who come after.
The Vanity of Wisdom
12I #ver. 1the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13And I #ver. 17; [1 Kgs. 4:33] applied my heart#1:13 The Hebrew term denotes the center of one’s inner life, including mind, will, and emotions to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy #ch. 2:23, 26; 3:10; [Gen. 3:19]business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 14I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is #ver. 2; ch. 2:11, 17, 26; 4:4; 6:9vanity#1:14 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (see note on 1:2) and a striving after wind.#1:14 Or a feeding on wind; compare Hosea 12:1 (also in Ecclesiastes 1:17; 2:11, 17, 26; 4:4, 6, 16; 6:9)
15 # See ch. 7:13 What is crooked cannot be made straight,
and what is lacking cannot be counted.
16I said in my heart, “I have acquired great #ch. 2:9; [1 Kgs. 3:12, 13; 4:30; 10:7, 23]wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” 17And I #ver. 13; [ch. 2:3, 12; 7:23, 25] applied my heart to know wisdom and to know #ch. 9:3 madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but #[See ver. 14 above]a striving after wind.
18For #[ch. 12:12]in much wisdom is much vexation,
and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

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