Introducing the Spokesman
1 The words of the spokesman, the son of David and the king in Jerusalem.
2 “Absolutely pointless!” says the spokesman. “Absolutely pointless! Everything is pointless.”
Life Is an Endless Circle
3 What do people gain from all their hard work under the sun?
4 Generations come, and generations go,
but the earth lasts forever.
5 The sun rises, and the sun sets,
and then it rushes back to the place where it will rise ⌊again⌋.
6 The wind blows toward the south and shifts toward the north.
Round and round it blows. It blows in a full circle.
7 All streams flow into the sea, but the sea is never full.
The water goes back to the place where the streams began
in order to ⌊start⌋ flowing again.
8 All of these sayings are worn-out phrases. They are more than anyone can express, comprehend, or understand.
9 Whatever has happened before will happen ⌊again⌋. Whatever has been done before will be done ⌊again⌋. There is nothing new under the sun. 10 Can you say that anything is new? It has already been here long before us. 11 Nothing from the past is remembered. Even in the future, nothing will be remembered by those who come after us.
The Spokesman Begins to Study Everything under Heaven
12 I, the spokesman, have been king of Israel in Jerusalem. 13 With all my heart I used wisdom to study and explore everything done under heaven.
The Spokesman’s General Conclusion
Mortals are weighed down with a terrible burden that God has placed on them. 14 I have seen everything that is done under the sun. Look at it! It’s all pointless. ⌊It’s like⌋ trying to catch the wind.
15 No one can straighten what is bent.
No one can count what is not there.
The Spokesman Begins to Study Life
16 I thought to myself, “I have grown wiser than anyone who ⌊has ruled⌋ Jerusalem before me. I’ve had a lot of experience with wisdom and knowledge.” 17 I’ve used my mind to understand wisdom and knowledge as well as madness and stupidity. ⌊Now⌋ I know that this is ⌊like⌋ trying to catch the wind.
18 With a lot of wisdom ⌊comes⌋ a lot of heartache.
The greater ⌊your⌋ knowledge, the greater ⌊your⌋ pain.