Words of a preacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:
Vanity of vanities, said the Preacher, Vanity of vanities: the whole [is] vanity.
What advantage [is] to man by all his labour that he laboureth at under the sun?
A generation is going, and a generation is coming, and the earth to the age is standing.
Also, the sun hath risen, and the sun hath gone in, and unto its place panting it is rising there.
Going unto the south, and turning round unto the north, turning round, turning round, the wind is going, and by its circuits the wind hath returned.
All the streams are going unto the sea, and the sea is not full; unto a place whither the streams are going, thither they are turning back to go.
All these things are wearying; a man is not able to speak, the eye is not satisfied by seeing, nor filled is the ear from hearing.
What [is] that which hath been? it [is] that which is, and what [is] that which hath been done? it [is] that which is done, and there is not an entirely new thing under the sun.
There is a thing of which [one] saith: `See this, it [is] new!' already it hath been in the ages that were before us!
There is not a remembrance of former [generations]; and also of the latter that are, there is no remembrance of them with those that are at the last.
I, a preacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem.
And I have given my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom concerning all that hath been done under the heavens. It [is] a sad travail God hath given to the sons of man to be humbled by it.
I have seen all the works that have been done under the sun, and lo, the whole [is] vanity and vexation of spirit!
A crooked thing [one] is not able to make straight, and a lacking thing is not able to be numbered.
I -- I spake with my heart, saying, `I, lo, I have magnified and added wisdom above every one who hath been before me at Jerusalem, and my heart hath seen abundantly wisdom and knowledge.
And I give my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I have known that even this [is] vexation of spirit;
for, in abundance of wisdom [is] abundance of sadness, and he who addeth knowledge addeth pain.'
I said in my heart, `Pray, come, I try thee with mirth, and look thou on gladness;' and lo, even it [is] vanity.
Of laughter I said, `Foolish!' and of mirth, `What [is] this it is doing?'
I have sought in my heart to draw out with wine my appetite, (and my heart leading in wisdom), and to take hold on folly till that I see where [is] this -- the good to the sons of man of that which they do under the heavens, the number of the days of their lives.
I made great my works, I builded for me houses, I planted for me vineyards.
I made for me gardens and paradises, and I planted in them trees of every fruit.
I made for me pools of water, to water from them a forest shooting forth trees.
I got men-servants, and maid-servants, and sons of the house were to me; also, I had much substance -- herd and flock -- above all who had been before me in Jerusalem.
I gathered for me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces. I prepared for me men-singers and women-singers, and the luxuries of the sons of man -- a wife and wives.
And I became great, and increased above every one who had been before me in Jerusalem; also, my wisdom stood with me.
And all that mine eyes asked I kept not back from them; I withheld not my heart from any joy, for my heart rejoiced because of all my labour, and this hath been my portion, from all my labour,
and I have looked on all my works that my hands have done, and on the labour that I have laboured to do, and lo, the whole [is] vanity and vexation of spirit, and there is no advantage under the sun!
And I turned to see wisdom, and madness, and folly, but what [is] the man who cometh after the king? that which [is] already -- they have done it!
And I saw that there is an advantage to wisdom above folly, like the advantage of the light above the darkness.
The wise! -- his eyes [are] in his head, and the fool in darkness is walking, and I also knew that one event happeneth with them all;
and I said in my heart, `As it happeneth with the fool, it happeneth also with me, and why am I then more wise?' And I spake in my heart, that also this [is] vanity:
That there is no remembrance to the wise -- with the fool -- to the age, for that which [is] already, [in] the days that are coming is all forgotten, and how dieth the wise? with the fool!
And I have hated life, for sad to me [is] the work that hath been done under the sun, for the whole [is] vanity and vexation of spirit.
And I have hated all my labour that I labour at under the sun, because I leave it to a man who is after me.
And who knoweth whether he is wise or foolish? yet he doth rule over all my labour that I have laboured at, and that I have done wisely under the sun! this also [is] vanity.
And I turned round to cause my heart to despair concerning all the labour that I laboured at under the sun.
For there is a man whose labour [is] in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity, and to a man who hath not laboured therein he giveth it -- his portion! Even this [is] vanity and a great evil.
For what hath been to a man by all his labour, and by the thought of his heart that he laboured at under the sun?
For all his days are sorrows, and his travail sadness; even at night his heart hath not lain down; this also [is] vanity.
There is nothing good in a man who eateth, and hath drunk, and hath shewn his soul good in his labour. This also I have seen that it [is] from the hand of God.
For who eateth and who hasteth out more than I?
For to a man who [is] good before Him, He hath given wisdom, and knowledge, and joy; and to a sinner He hath given travail, to gather and to heap up, to give to the good before God. Even this [is] vanity and vexation of spirit.