The Futility of Life1 There is another evil I have seen under the sun, and it weighs heavily upon mankind: 2 God gives a man riches, wealth, and honor, so that he lacks nothing his heart desires; but God does not allow him to enjoy them. Instead, a stranger will enjoy them. This is futile and a grievous evil. 3 A man may father a hundred [children] and live for many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he is unsatisfied with his prosperity and does not even receive a proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. 4 For he enters in futility and departs in darkness, and his name is shrouded in obscurity. 5 [A stillborn child] has more rest than he— though never seeing the sun or knowing anything— 6 if he lives a thousand years twice over, but fails to enjoy his prosperity. Do not all go to the same place? 7 All a man’s labor [is] for his mouth, yet his appetite is never satisfied. ▼
▼ Hebrew filled8 What advantage, then, has the wise man over the fool? What [gain comes] to the poor man who knows how to conduct himself before others? 9 Better what the eye can see than the wandering of desire. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind. 10 Whatever exists was named long ago, and what [happens] to a man is foreknown; but he cannot contend with one stronger than he. 11 For the more words, the more futility— and how does that profit anyone? 12 For who knows what is good for a man during the few days he passes through his fleeting life like a shadow? Who can tell a man what will come after him under the sun?
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