1The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:2“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”3What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?4Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.5The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.6The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course.7All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again.8All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.9What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.10Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.11No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them.
Wisdom Is Meaningless
12I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem.13I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind!14I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.15What is crooked cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted.16I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.”17Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.18For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.
English Standard Version
All Is Vanity
1The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. (Ec 1:12; Ec 7:27; Ec 12:8)2Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. (Ec 1:1; Ec 12:8; Ro 8:20)3What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? (Job 7:16; Ps 39:5; Ps 144:4; Ec 1:14; Ec 2:11; Ec 2:22; Ec 3:9; Ec 5:16)4A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. (Ps 104:5; Ps 119:90)5The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. (Ps 19:4)6The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. (Ec 11:5; Joh 3:8)7All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again. (Ps 104:8)8All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. (Pr 27:20; Ec 4:8)9What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. (Ec 2:12; Ec 3:15; Ec 6:10)10Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us. (Ec 3:15)11There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after. (Ec 2:16; Ec 9:5)
The Vanity of Wisdom
12I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. (Ec 1:1)13And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. (Ge 3:19; 1Ki 4:33; Ec 1:17; Ec 2:23; Ec 2:26; Ec 3:10)14I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. (Ec 1:2; Ec 2:11; Ec 2:17; Ec 2:26; Ec 4:4; Ec 6:9)15What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted. (Ec 7:13)16I said in my heart, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” (1Ki 3:12; 1Ki 4:30; 1Ki 10:7; 1Ki 10:23; Ec 2:9)17And I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind. (Ec 1:13; Ec 1:14; Ec 2:3; Ec 2:12; Ec 7:23; Ec 7:25; Ec 9:3)18For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow. (Ec 12:12)