The Emptiness of Pleasure
1I said to myself, “Go ahead, I will test you with pleasure;2:1 Ec 7:4; 8:15; Lk 12:19 enjoy what is good.” But it turned out to be futile.
2I said about laughter,2:2 Pr 14:13; Ec 7:3,6 “It is madness,” and about pleasure, “What does this accomplish?”
3I explored with my mind the pull of wine2:3 Ps 104:15; Ec 10:19 on my body — my mind still guiding me with wisdom — and how to grasp folly,2:3 Ec 7:25 until I could see what is good for people to do under heaven2:3 Two Hb mss, LXX, Syr read the sun during the few days of their lives.2:3 Ec 2:24; 3:12,13; 5:18; 8:15
The Emptiness of Possessions
4I increased my achievements. I built houses2:4 1Kg 7:1–12 and planted vineyards2:4 Sg 8:11 for myself.
5I made gardens2:5 Sg 4:16 and parks for myself and planted every kind of fruit tree in them.
6I constructed reservoirs for myself from which to irrigate a grove of flourishing trees.2:6 Neh 2:14; 3:15–16
7I acquired male and female servants and had slaves who were born in my house.2:7 Gn 14:14; 15:3 I also owned livestock — large herds and flocks — more than all who were before me in Jerusalem.2:7 1Kg 4:23
8I also amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces.2:8 1Kg 9:28; 10:10,14,21 I gathered male and female singers for myself,2:8 2Sm 19:35 and many concubines, the delights of men.2:8 LXX, Theod, Syr read and male cupbearers and female cupbearers; Aq, Tg, Vg read a cup and cups; Hb obscure2:8 Or many treasures that people delight in
9So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem;2:9 1Ch 29:25; Ec 1:16 my wisdom also remained with me.
10All that my eyes desired, I did not deny them.2:10 Ec 6:2 I did not refuse myself any pleasure, for I took pleasure in all my struggles. This was my reward for all my struggles.2:10 Ec 3:22; 5:18; 9:9
11When I considered all that I had accomplished2:11 Lit all my works that my hands had done and what I had labored to achieve, I found everything to be futile and a pursuit of the wind.2:11 Or a feeding on wind, or an affliction of spirit; also in vv. 17,262:11 Ec 1:14; 2:22–23 There was nothing to be gained under the sun.2:11 Ec 1:3; 3:9; 5:16
The Relative Value of Wisdom
12Then I turned to consider wisdom,2:12 Ec 1:17 madness, and folly, for what will the king’s successor2:12 Lit the man who comes after the king be like? He2:12 Some Hb mss read They will do what has already been done.2:12 Ec 1:9–10; 3:15
13And I realized that there is an advantage to wisdom over folly, like the advantage of light over darkness.2:13 Ec 7:11–12,19; 9:18; 10:10
14The wise person has eyes in his head,
but the fool walks in darkness.2:14 Pr 2:10–13; 1Jn 2:11
Yet I also knew that one fate comes to them both.2:14 Ps 49:10; Ec 3:19; 6:6; 7:2; 9:2–3
15So I said to myself, “What happens to the fool will also happen to me. Why then have I been overly wise?” 2:15 Ec 6:8,11; 7:16 And I said to myself that this is also futile.
16For, just like the fool, there is no lasting remembrance of the wise,2:16 Dt 32:26; 2Sm 18:18; Ec 1:11; 9:5 since in the days to come both will be forgotten. How is it that the wise person dies just like the fool?
17Therefore, I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me. For everything is futile and a pursuit of the wind.
The Emptiness of Work
18I hated all my work that I labored at under the sun2:18 Ec 1:3; 2:11 because I must leave it to the one who comes after me.2:18 Ps 39:6; 49:10; Pr 13:22
19And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool?2:19 Ezk 18:9–10 Yet he will take over all my work that I labored at skillfully under the sun. This too is futile.
20So I began to give myself over2:20 Lit And I turned to cause my heart to despair concerning all my work that I had labored at under the sun.
21When there is a person whose work was done with wisdom, knowledge, and skill,2:21 Ec 4:4 and he must give his portion to a person who has not worked for it, this too is futile and a great wrong.
22For what does a person get with all his work and all his efforts2:22 Ec 1:3; 2:11 that he labors at under the sun?
23For all his days are filled with grief, and his occupation is sorrowful;2:23 Jb 5:7; 14:1 even at night, his mind does not rest.2:23 Ps 127:2 This too is futile.
24There is nothing better for a person than to eat, drink, and enjoy2:24 Syr, Tg; MT reads There is no good in a person who eats and drinks and enjoys2:24 Lit and his soul sees good his work.2:24 Ec 2:3; 3:12–13,22; 5:18; 6:12; 8:15; 9:7; Is 56:12; Lk 12:19; 1Co 15:32; 1Tm 6:17 I have seen that even this is from God’s hand,2:24 Ec 3:13
25because who can eat and who can enjoy life2:25 LXX, Theod, Syr read can drink apart from him?2:25 Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr read me
26For to the person who is pleasing in his sight, he gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy;2:26 Jb 32:8; Pr 2:6 but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and accumulating in order to give to the one who is pleasing in God’s sight.2:26 Jb 27:16–17; Pr 13:22; 28:8 This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.2:26 Ec 1:14