- "Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless."
- What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
- 1:3-5; King James Version
- All things are full of weariness beyond uttering. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
- 1:8; World English Bible
- What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, "Look! This is something new"? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.
- 1:9-10; New International Version
- There is no remembrance of the former generations; neither shall there be any remembrance of the latter generations that are to come, among those that shall come after.
- I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. What is twisted cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted.
- 1:12-15; New International Version
- I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
- 1:16-18; King James Version
- I said in my heart: I will go, and abound with delights, and enjoy good things. And I saw that this also was vanity.
- 2:1; Douay-Rheims Bible
- "Laughter," I said, "is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?"
- 2:2; New International Version
- Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.
- 2:11; King James Version
- I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness. The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in the darkness; but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both. Then I thought in my heart, "The fate of the fool will overtake me also. What then do I gain by being wise?" I said in my heart, "This too is meaningless." For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered; in days to come both will be forgotten. Like the fool, the wise man too must die!
- 2:13-16; New International Version
- There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.
- 2:24; King James Version
- To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
- 3:1-8; King James Version
- He hath made everything beautiful in its time.
- 3:11; American Standard Version
- I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil--this is the gift of God.
- 3:12-13; New International Version
- I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.
- 3:14; New International Version
- That which is was long ago, and that which is to be hath already been; and God bringeth back again that which is past.
- And moreover I saw under the sun, in the place of justice, that wickedness was there; and in the place of righteousness, that wickedness was there.
- 3:16; American Standard Version
- For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
- 3:19-20; King James Version
- Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed-- and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors-- and they have no comforter. And I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun.
- 4:1-3; New International Version
- Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.
- 4:6; King James Version
- Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
- 4:9-12; New International Version
- Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to take warning.
- 4:13; New International Version
- Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.
- 5:2; King James Version
- When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.
- 5:4-5; King James Version
- If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they. Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.
- 5:8-9; King James Version
- Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.
- 5:10; New International Version
- The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.
- 5:12; King James Version
- As he came forth from his mother's womb, naked shall he go again as he came, and shall take nothing for his labor, which he may carry away in his hand.
- 5:15; American Standard Version
- Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work--this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.
- 5:19-20; New International Version
- A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness its name is shrouded. Though it never saw the sun or knew anything, it has more rest than does that man.
- 6:3-5; New International Version
- Do not all go to one place?
- 6:6; King James Version
- All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.
- 6:7; King James Version
- A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth.
- 7:1; New International Version
- It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.
- 7:2; New International Version
- It is better to heed a wise man's rebuke than to listen to the song of fools.
- 7:5; New International Version
- Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
- 7:8; King James Version
- Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
- 7:9; King James Version
- Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?
- 7:13; King James Version
- All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.
- 7:15; King James Version
- Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself? Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?
- 7:16-17; King James Version
- Wisdom makes one wise man more powerful than ten rulers in a city.
- 7:19; New International Version
- Who is like the wise man? Who knows the explanation of things? Wisdom brightens a man's face and changes its hard appearance.
- 8:1; New International Version
- Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man's heart discerneth both time and judgment.
- 8:5; King James Version
- There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.
- 8:8; King James Version
- All of this I have seen, and I applied my heart to every work that has been done under the sun, during the time that man has dominated man to his harm.
- Because sentence against a bad deed has not been executed speedily, the heart of men becomes emboldened to do bad.
- 8:11; New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures
- Although a wicked man commits a hundred crimes and still lives a long time, I know that it will go better with God-fearing men, who are reverent before God.
- 8:12; New International Version
- There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: righteous men who get what the wicked deserve, and wicked men who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless.
- 8:14; New International Version
- Then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot really comprehend it.
- 8:17; New International Version
- So I reflected on all this and concluded that the righteous and the wise and what they do are in God's hands, but no man knows whether love or hate awaits him.
- 9:1; New International Version
- All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath. This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.
- 9:2-3; King James Version
- Anyone who is among the living has hope--even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!
- 9:4; New International Version
- For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing at all, nor do they have any more reward, because all memory of them is forgotten. Also, their love and their hate and their jealousy have already perished, and they no longer have any share in what is done under the sun.
- 9:5-6; New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures
- Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.
- 9:9; King James Version
- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
- 9:10; King James Version
- I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.
- 9:11-12; New International Version
- The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.
- 9:17; New International Version
- Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.
- 10:1; King James Version
- There is an evil I have seen under the sun, the sort of error that arises from a ruler: Fools are put in many high positions, while the rich occupy the low ones. I have seen slaves on horseback, while princes go on foot like slaves.
- 10:5-7; New International Version
- By slothfulness the roof sinketh in; and through idleness of the hands the house leaketh.
- 10:18; American Standard Version
- Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.
- 11:1; King James Version
- As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.
- 11:5; King James Version
- Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun: But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.
- 11:7-8; King James Version
- Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.
- 11:9-10; King James Version
- Remember also thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened
- 12:1-2; King James Version
- Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
- 12:7; New International Version
- Not only was the Teacher wise, but also he imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true.
- 12:9-10; New International Version
- Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
- 12:13-14; King James Version
- Authorized King James version of the Ecclesiastes at Project Gutenberg
- New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures
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