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New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update

Ecclesiastes 1:12–8:17

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The Futility of Wisdom

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

13 And I aset my 1mind to seek and bexplore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is 2a grievous ctask 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 1avanity and striving after wind.

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

16 I 1said to myself, “Behold, I have magnified and increased awisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my 2mind has observed 3a wealth of wisdom and knowledge.”

17 And I aset my 1mind to know wisdom and to bknow madness and folly; I realized that this also is cstriving after wind.

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

Chapter 2

The Futility of Pleasure and Possessions

1 I said 1to myself, “Come now, I will test you with apleasure. So 2enjoy yourself.” And behold, it too was futility.

2 aI said of laughter, “It is madness,” and of pleasure, “What does it accomplish?”

3 I explored with my 1mind how to astimulate my body with wine while my 1mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of bfolly, until I could see cwhat good there is for the sons of men 2to do under heaven the few 3years of their lives.

4 I enlarged my works: I abuilt houses for myself, I planted bvineyards for myself;

5 I made agardens and bparks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees;

6 I made aponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of growing trees.

7 I bought male and female slaves and I had 1ahomeborn slaves. Also I possessed flocks and bherds larger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem.

8 Also, I collected for myself silver and agold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I provided for myself bmale and female singers and the pleasures of men—many concubines.

9 Then I became agreat and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me.

10 aAll that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my breward for all my labor.

11 Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had 1exerted, and behold all was 2avanity and striving after wind and there was bno profit under the sun.

Wisdom Excels Folly

12 So I turned to aconsider wisdom, madness and folly; for what will the man do who will come after the king except bwhat has already been done?

13 And I saw that awisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.

14 The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the afool walks in darkness. And yet I know that bone fate befalls them both.

15 Then I said 1to myself, “aAs is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me. bWhy then have I been extremely wise?” So 2I said to myself, “This too is vanity.”

16 For there is ano 1lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And bhow the wise man and the fool alike die!

17 So I ahated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was 1grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind.

The Futility of Labor

18 Thus I hated aall the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must bleave it to the man who will come after me.

19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or aa fool? Yet he will have 1control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is bvanity.

20 Therefore I 1completely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun.

21 When there is a man who has labored with wisdom, knowledge and askill, then he bgives his 1legacy to one who has not labored with them. This too is vanity and a great evil.

22 For what does a man get in aall his labor and in 1his striving with which he labors under the sun?

23 Because all his days his task is painful and agrievous; even at night his 1mind bdoes not rest. This too is vanity.

24 There is anothing better for a man than to eat and drink and 1tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is bfrom the hand of God.

25 For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without 1Him?

26 For to a person who is good in His sight aHe has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may bgive to one who is good in God’s sight. This too is cvanity and striving after wind.

Chapter 3

A Time for Everything

1 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a atime for every 1event under heaven—

2 A time to give birth and a atime to die;

A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.

3 A atime to kill and a time to heal;

A time to tear down and a time to build up.

4 A time to aweep and a time to blaugh;

A time to mourn and a time to cdance.

5 A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;

A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.

6 A time to search and a time to give up as lost;

A time to keep and a time to throw away.

7 A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;

A time to abe silent and a time to speak.

8 A time to love and a time to ahate;

A time for war and a time for peace.

9 aWhat profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils?

10 I have seen the atask which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.

God Set Eternity in the Heart of Man

11 He has amade everything 1appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, 2yet so that man bwill not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

12 I know that there is anothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime;

13 moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—it is the agift of God.

14 I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should 1afear Him.

15 That awhich is has been already and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by.

16 Furthermore, I have seen under the sun that in the place of justice there is awickedness and in the place of righteousness there is wickedness.

17 I said 1to myself, “aGod will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man,” for a btime for every 2matter and for every deed is there.

18 I said 1to myself concerning the sons of men, “God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but abeasts.”

19 aFor the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts 1is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is 2vanity.

20 All go to the same place. All came from the adust and all return to the dust.

21 Who knows that the abreath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth?

22 I have seen that anothing is better than that man should be happy in his activities, for that is his lot. For who will bring him to see bwhat will occur after him?

Chapter 4

The Evils of Oppression

1 Then I looked again at all the acts of aoppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had bno one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them.

2 So aI congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living.

3 But abetter off than both of them is the one who has never existed, who has never seen the evil activity that is done under the sun.

4 I have seen that every labor and every askill which is done is the result of rivalry between a man and his neighbor. This too is 1bvanity and striving after wind.

5 The fool afolds his hands and bconsumes his own flesh.

6 One hand full of rest is abetter than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.

7 Then I looked again at vanity under the sun.

8 There was a certain man without a 1dependent, having neither a son nor a brother, yet there was no end to all his labor. Indeed, ahis eyes were not satisfied with riches and he never asked, “And bfor whom am I laboring and depriving myself of pleasure?” This too is vanity and it is a cgrievous task.

9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.

10 For if 1either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not 2another to lift him up.

11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they 1keep warm, but ahow can one be warm alone?

12 And if 1one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

13 A apoor yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive 1instruction.

14 For he has come aout of prison to become king, even though he was born poor in his kingdom.

15 I have seen all the living under the sun throng to the side of the second lad who 1replaces him.

16 There is no end to all the people, to all who were before them, and even the ones who will come later will not be happy with him, for this too is avanity and striving after wind.

Chapter 5

Your Attitude Toward God

1 1aGuard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the bsacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil.

2 1Do not be ahasty 2in word or 3impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your bwords be few.

3 For the dream comes through much 1effort and the voice of a afool through many words.

4 When you amake a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. bPay what you vow!

5 It is abetter that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.

6 Do not let your 1speech cause 2you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a amistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of …

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