Ecclesiastes 1

Everything is Futile

The words of the Teacher,
Or the Convener or the Preacher or the leader of the assembly; Hebrew Qoheleth, throughout Ecclesiastes
the son of David, king in Jerusalem:
“Futility of futilities,” says the Teacher, “futility of futilities! Everything is futile!” What does a man gain from all his labor, at which he toils under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets; it hurries back to where it arose. Blowing southward, then turning northward, round [and] round the wind swirls, ever returning on [its] course. All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full; to the place from which the streams come, there again they flow. All things are wearisome, more than one can describe; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear content with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. 10  Is there [a case] where one can say, “Look, this is new”? It has already existed in the ages before us. 11  There is no remembrance of those who came before, and those to come will not be remembered by those who follow after.

With Wisdom Comes Sorrow

12  I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13  And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on the sons of men, to keep them occupied ! 14  I have seen all the things that are done under the sun, and have found them all to be futile, a pursuit of the wind. 15  What is crooked cannot be straightened, and what is lacking cannot be counted. 16  I said to myself, “Behold, I have grown and increased in wisdom beyond all those before me who were over Jerusalem, and my mind has observed a wealth of wisdom and knowledge.” 17  So I set my mind to know wisdom [and] madness and folly; I learned that this, too, is a pursuit of the wind. 18  For with much wisdom comes much sorrow, and as knowledge grows, grief increases.
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