Ecclesiastes 1

All Is Vanity

1The words of athe Preacher,
Or Convener, or Collector; Hebrew Qoheleth (so throughout Ecclesiastes)
the son of David, cking in Jerusalem.

2 dVanity
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 fthe Preacher,
gvanity of vanities! hAll is vanity.
3 iWhat jdoes man gain by all the toil
at which he toils under the sun?
4A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but kthe earth remains forever.
5 lThe sun rises, and the sun goes down,
and hastens
Or  and returns panting
to the place where it rises.
6 nThe 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 ostreams 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;
pthe eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 qWhat 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 ralready
in the ages before us.
11There is no sremembrance of former things,
Or  former people

nor will there be any remembrance
of later things
Or  later people
yet to be
among those who come after.

The Vanity of Wisdom

12I vthe Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13And I wapplied my heart
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 ybusiness 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 zvanity
The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (see note on 1:2)
and a striving after wind.
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 acWhat is crooked cannot be made straight,
and what is lacking cannot be counted.

16I said in my heart, “I have acquired great adwisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” 17And I aeapplied my heart to know wisdom and to know afmadness and folly. I perceived that this also is but aga striving after wind.

18For ahin much wisdom is much vexation,
and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.
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