Loading…

Ecclesiastes 1:12–18

The Vanity of Wisdom

12 I othe Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I papplied my heart6 to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy qbusiness that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 14 I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is rvanity7 and a striving after wind.8

15  sWhat is crooked cannot be made straight,

and what is lacking cannot be counted.

16 I said in my heart, “I have acquired great twisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I uapplied my heart to know wisdom and to know vmadness and folly. I perceived that this also is but ra striving after wind.

18  For win much wisdom is much vexation,

and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

Read more



Ecclesiastes 1:12–18 — The New International Version (NIV)

12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I 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! 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

15 What is crooked cannot be straightened;

what is lacking cannot be counted.

16 I 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.” 17 Then 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.

18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;

the more knowledge, the more grief.

Ecclesiastes 1:12–18 — King James Version (KJV 1900)

12 I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith. 14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. 15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered. 16 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. 17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. 18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

Ecclesiastes 1:12–18 — New Living Translation (NLT)

12 I, the Teacher, was king of Israel, and I lived in Jerusalem. 13 I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done under heaven. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race. 14 I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind.

15 What is wrong cannot be made right.

What is missing cannot be recovered.

16 I said to myself, “Look, I am wiser than any of the kings who ruled in Jerusalem before me. I have greater wisdom and knowledge than any of them.” 17 So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly. But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind.

18 The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief.

To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.

Ecclesiastes 1:12–18 — The New King James Version (NKJV)

12 I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised. 14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

15 What is crooked cannot be made straight,

And what is lacking cannot be numbered.

16 I communed with my heart, saying, “Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind.

18 For in much wisdom is much grief,

And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

Ecclesiastes 1:12–18 — New Century Version (NCV)

12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I decided to use my wisdom to learn about everything that happens on earth. I learned that God has given us terrible things to face. 14 I looked at everything done on earth and saw that it is all useless, like chasing the wind.

15 If something is crooked,

you can’t make it straight.

If something is missing,

you can’t say it is there.

16 I said to myself, “I have become very wise and am now wiser than anyone who ruled Jerusalem before me. I know what wisdom and knowledge really are.” 17 So I decided to find out about wisdom and knowledge and also about foolish thinking, but this turned out to be like chasing the wind.

18 With much wisdom comes much disappointment;

the person who gains more knowledge also gains more sorrow.

Ecclesiastes 1:12–18 — American Standard Version (ASV 1901)

12 I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven: it is a sore travail that God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised therewith. 14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. 15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight; and that which is wanting cannot be numbered. 16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I have gotten me great wisdom above all that were before me in Jerusalem; yea, my heart hath had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. 17 And I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also was a striving after wind. 18 For in much wisdom is much grief; and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

Ecclesiastes 1:12–18 — 1890 Darby Bible (DARBY)

12 I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I applied my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under the heavens: this grievous occupation hath God given to the children of men to weary themselves therewith. 14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and pursuit of the wind. 15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight; and that which is wanting cannot be numbered. 16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I have become great and have acquired wisdom more than all they that have been before me over Jerusalem; and my heart hath seen much of wisdom and knowledge. 17 And I applied my heart to the knowledge of wisdom, and to the knowledge of madness and folly: I perceived that this also is a striving after the wind. 18 For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

Ecclesiastes 1:12–18 — GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

12 I, the spokesman, have been king of Israel in Jerusalem. 13 With all my heart I used wisdom to study and explore everything done under heaven.

Mortals are weighed down with a terrible burden that God has placed on them. 14 I have seen everything that is done under the sun. Look at it! It’s all pointless. It’s like trying to catch the wind.

15 No one can straighten what is bent.

No one can count what is not there.

16 I thought to myself, “I have grown wiser than anyone who has ruled Jerusalem before me. I’ve had a lot of experience with wisdom and knowledge.” 17 I’ve used my mind to understand wisdom and knowledge as well as madness and stupidity. Now I know that this is like trying to catch the wind.

18 With a lot of wisdom comes a lot of heartache.

The greater your knowledge, the greater your pain.

Ecclesiastes 1:12–18 — The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

12 I, the Teacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I applied my mind to seek and explore through wisdom all that is done under heaven. God has given people this miserable task to keep them occupied. 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun and have found everything to be futile, a pursuit of the wind.

15 What is crooked cannot be straightened;

what is lacking cannot be counted.

16 I said to myself, “Look, I have amassed wisdom far beyond all those who were over Jerusalem before me, and my mind has thoroughly grasped wisdom and knowledge.” 17 I applied my mind to know wisdom and knowledge, madness and folly; I learned that this too is a pursuit of the wind.

18 For with much wisdom is much sorrow;

as knowledge increases, grief increases.

Ecclesiastes 1:12–18 — The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

12 I, the Teacher, when king over Israel in Jerusalem, 13 applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with. 14 I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and a chasing after wind.

15 What is crooked cannot be made straight,

and what is lacking cannot be counted.

16 I said to myself, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I applied my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a chasing after wind.

18 For in much wisdom is much vexation,

and those who increase knowledge increase sorrow.

Ecclesiastes 1:12–18 — The Lexham English Bible (LEB)

12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I applied my mind to seek and to search by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. It is a grievous task God has given to humans to be busy with. 14 I saw all the works that are done under the sun. Look! Everything is vanity and chasing wind.

15 What is twisted cannot be straightened,

and what is lacking cannot be counted.

16 I said to myself, “Look! I have become great and have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has preceded me over Jerusalem. I have acquired a great deal of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 So I dedicated myself to learn about wisdom and to learn about delusion and folly. However, I discovered that this also is chasing wind.

18 For in much wisdom is much frustration,

and whoever increases knowledge increases sorrow.

Ecclesiastes 1:12–18 — New International Reader’s Version (NIrV)

12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I spent all of my time studying. I used my wisdom to check everything out. I looked into everything that is done on earth. What a heavy load God has put on men!

14 I’ve seen what is done on this earth. It doesn’t have any meaning. It’s like chasing the wind.

15 People can’t straighten things that are twisted.

They can’t count things that don’t even exist.

16 I said to myself, “Look, my wisdom has really been growing. In fact, I’m now wiser than anyone who ruled over Jerusalem in the past. I have a lot of wisdom and knowledge.”

17 Then I used my mind to understand what it really means to be wise. And I wanted to know what foolish pleasure is all about. But I found out that that’s also like chasing the wind.

18 A lot of human wisdom leads to a lot of sorrow.

More knowledge only brings more sadness.

Ecclesiastes 1:12–18 — New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (NASB95)

12 I, the Preacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem.

13 And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with.

14 I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind.

15 What is crooked cannot be straightened and what is lacking cannot be counted.

16 I said to myself, “Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has observed a wealth of wisdom and knowledge.”

17 And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind.

18 Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain.