The Vanity of Self-Indulgence1I asaid in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity. ▼
▼The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath”; also verses 11, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 26 (see note on 1:2)2I csaid of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” 3I dsearched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on efolly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. 4I made great works. I fbuilt houses and planted gvineyards for myself. 5I made myself hgardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. 6I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. 7I bought male and female slaves, and had islaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of jherds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8I also gathered for myself silver and kgold and the treasure of lkings and mprovinces. I got nsingers, both men and women, and many oconcubines, ▼
▼The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertainthe delight of the sons of man.
9So I became great and qsurpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my rwisdom remained with me. 10And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart sfound pleasure in all my toil, and this was my treward for all my toil. 11Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was uvanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing vto be gained under the sun.
The Vanity of Living Wisely12 wSo I turned to consider xwisdom and madness and folly. For what can the man do who comes after the king? Only ywhat has already been done. 13Then I saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness. 14 zThe wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the aasame event happens to all of them. 15Then I said in my heart, ab“What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise?” And I said in my heart that this also is vanity. 16For of the wise as of the fool there is acno enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. adHow the wise dies just like the fool! 17So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for aeall is vanity and a striving after wind.
The Vanity of Toil18I hated afall my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must agleave it to the man who will come after me, 19and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20So I ahturned about and gave my heart up to despair aiover all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22What has a man from ajall the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? 23For akall his days are full of sorrow, and his alwork is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.
24 amThere is nothing better for a person than that he should aneat and drink and find enjoyment ▼
▼Or and make his soul see goodin his toil. This also, I saw, is apfrom the hand of God, 25for apart from him ▼
▼Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts apart from mewho can eat or who can have enjoyment? 26For to the one who pleases him arGod has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given asthe business of gathering and collecting, atonly to give to one who pleases God. auThis also is vanity and a striving after wind.
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