2 I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasurew to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. 2 “Laughter,”x I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” 3 I tried cheering myself with wine,y and embracing follyz—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.
4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myselfa and planted vineyards.b 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and had other slavesc who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 8 I amassed silver and goldd for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces.e I acquired male and female singers,f and a harema as well—the delights of a man’s heart. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalemg before me.h In all this my wisdom stayed with me.
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;i
nothing was gained under the sun.j
The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.