Everything Is Futile
1The words of the Teacher,1:1 Or of Qoheleth, or of the Leader of the Assembly1:1 Ec 1:12; 7:27; 12:8–10 son of David, king in Jerusalem.1:1 1Kg 2:12; Pr 1:1
2“Absolute futility,” says the Teacher.
“Absolute futility. Everything is futile.”1:2 Ps 39:5–6; 62:9; 144:4; Ec 12:8; Rm 8:20
3What does a person gain for all his efforts
that he labors at under the sun?1:3 Ec 2:11,22; 3:9; 5:16
4A generation goes and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.1:4 Ps 104:5; 119:90; 1Jn 2:17
5The sun rises and the sun sets;
panting, it hurries back to the place1:5 Ps 19:6
where it rises.
6Gusting to the south,
turning to the north,
turning, turning, goes the wind,1:6 Ec 11:5; Jn 3:8
and the wind returns in its cycles.
7All the streams flow to the sea,
yet the sea is never full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
8All things1:8 Or words are wearisome,
more than anyone can say.
The eye is not satisfied by seeing1:8 Pr 27:20; Ec 4:8
or the ear filled with hearing.
9What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done;
there is nothing new under the sun.
10Can one say about anything,
“Look, this is new”?
It has already existed in the ages before us.
11There is no remembrance of those who1:11 Or of the things that came before;1:11 Dt 9:14; Ec 2:16; 9:5
and of those who will come after
there will also be no remembrance
by those who follow them.
The Limitations of Wisdom
12I, the Teacher,1:12 Ec 1:1; 7:27; 12:8–10 have been1:12 Or Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
13I applied my mind to examine1:13 Ec 1:17 and explore through wisdom all that is done under heaven.1:13 1Kg 4:29–34; Ec 3:10–11; 7:25; 8:17 God has given people1:13 Or given the descendants of Adam this miserable task to keep them occupied.1:13 Gn 3:19; Ec 2:23,26; 3:10; 4:8
14I have seen all the things that are done under the sun and have found everything to be futile, a pursuit of the wind.1:14 Or a feeding on wind, or an affliction of spirit; also in v. 171:14 Pr 27:16; Ec 2:11,17; 4:4; 6:9
15What is crooked cannot be straightened;1:15 Ec 7:13
what is lacking cannot be counted.
16I said to myself, “See, I have amassed wisdom far beyond all those who were over Jerusalem before me,1:16 1Kg 3:12; 4:30; 10:23; Ec 2:9 and my mind has thoroughly grasped1:16 Or discerned wisdom and knowledge.”
17I applied my mind to know wisdom and knowledge,1:17 Ec 1:13 madness and folly;1:17 Ec 2:12; 7:25 I learned that this too is a pursuit of the wind.1:17 Ec 2:11,17; 4:4,6,16; 6:9
18For with much wisdom is much sorrow;1:18 Ec 2:23; 12:12
as knowledge increases, grief increases.