Loading…

Ecclesiastes 2:17–23

Toil Is Meaningless

17 So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.t 18 I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me.u 19 And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish?v Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. 20 So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. 21 For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. 22 What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun?w 23 All their days their work is grief and pain;x even at night their minds do not rest.y This too is meaningless.

Read more



Ecclesiastes 2:17–23 — English Standard Version (ESV)

17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind.

18 I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, 19 and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21 because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? 23 For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 2:17–23 — King James Version (KJV 1900)

17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit. 18 Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me. 19 And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity. 20 Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun. 21 For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? 23 For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.

Ecclesiastes 2:17–23 — New Living Translation (NLT)

17 So I came to hate life because everything done here under the sun is so troubling. Everything is meaningless—like chasing the wind.

18 I came to hate all my hard work here on earth, for I must leave to others everything I have earned. 19 And who can tell whether my successors will be wise or foolish? Yet they will control everything I have gained by my skill and hard work under the sun. How meaningless! 20 So I gave up in despair, questioning the value of all my hard work in this world.

21 Some people work wisely with knowledge and skill, then must leave the fruit of their efforts to someone who hasn’t worked for it. This, too, is meaningless, a great tragedy. 22 So what do people get in this life for all their hard work and anxiety? 23 Their days of labor are filled with pain and grief; even at night their minds cannot rest. It is all meaningless.

Ecclesiastes 2:17–23 — The New King James Version (NKJV)

17 Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

18 Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 Therefore I turned my heart and despaired of all the labor in which I had toiled under the sun. 21 For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; yet he must leave his heritage to a man who has not labored for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun? 23 For all his days are sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 2:17–23 — New Century Version (NCV)

17 So I hated life. It made me sad to think that everything here on earth is useless, like chasing the wind. 18 I hated all the things I had worked for here on earth, because I must leave them to someone who will live after me. 19 Someone else will control everything for which I worked so hard here on earth, and I don’t know if he will be wise or foolish. This is also useless. 20 So I became sad about all the hard work I had done here on earth. 21 People can work hard using all their wisdom, knowledge, and skill, but they will die, and other people will get the things for which they worked. They did not do the work, but they will get everything. This is also unfair and useless. 22 What do people get for all their work and struggling here on earth? 23 All of their lives their work is full of pain and sorrow, and even at night their minds don’t rest. This is also useless.

Ecclesiastes 2:17–23 — American Standard Version (ASV)

17 So I hated life, because the work that is wrought under the sun was grievous unto me; for all is vanity and a striving after wind.

18 And I hated all my labor wherein I labored under the sun, seeing that I must leave it unto the man that shall be after me. 19 And who knoweth whether he will be a wise man or a fool? yet will he have rule over all my labor wherein I have labored, and wherein I have showed myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 Therefore I turned about to cause my heart to despair concerning all the labor wherein I had labored under the sun. 21 For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, and with knowledge, and with skilfulness; yet to a man that hath not labored therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 For what hath a man of all his labor, and of the striving of his heart, wherein he laboreth under the sun? 23 For all his days are but sorrows, and his travail is grief; yea, even in the night his heart taketh no rest. This also is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 2:17–23 — 1890 Darby Bible (DARBY)

17 And I hated life; for the work that is wrought under the sun was grievous unto me; for all is vanity and pursuit of the wind. 18 And I hated all my labour wherewith I had been toiling under the sun, because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me. 19 And who knoweth whether he will be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour at which I have laboured, and wherein I have been wise under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 Then I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour wherewith I had laboured under the sun. 21 For there is a man whose labour hath been with wisdom, and with knowledge, and with skill, and who leaveth it to a man that hath not laboured therein, to be his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 For what will man have of all his labour and of the striving of his heart, wherewith he hath wearied himself under the sun? 23 For all his days are sorrows, and his travail vexation: even in the night his heart taketh no rest. This also is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 2:17–23 — GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

17 So I came to hate life because everything done under the sun seemed wrong to me. Everything was pointless. ⸤It was like⸥ trying to catch the wind. 

18 I came to hate everything for which I had worked so hard under the sun, because I will have to leave it to the person who replaces me. 19 Who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? He will still have control over everything under the sun for which I worked so hard and used my wisdom. Even this is pointless. 

20 Then I fell into despair over everything for which I had worked so hard under the sun. 21 Here is someone who had worked hard with wisdom, knowledge, and skill. Yet, he must turn over his estate to someone else, who didn’t work for it. Even this is pointless and a terrible tragedy. 

22 What do people get from all of their hard work and struggles under the sun? 23 Their entire life is filled with pain, and their work is unbearable. Even at night their minds don’t rest. Even this is pointless. 

Ecclesiastes 2:17–23 — The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

17 Therefore, 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.

18 I hated all my work that I labored at under the sun because I must leave it to the man who comes after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will take over all my work that I labored at skillfully under the sun. This too is futile. 20 So I began to give myself over to despair concerning all my work that I had labored at under the sun. 21 When there is a man whose work was done with wisdom, knowledge, and skill, and he must give his portion to a man who has not worked for it, this too is futile and a great wrong. 22 For what does a man get with all his work and all his efforts that he labors at under the sun? 23 For all his days are filled with grief, and his occupation is sorrowful; even at night, his mind does not rest. This too is futile.

Ecclesiastes 2:17–23 — The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me; for all is vanity and a chasing after wind.

18 I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to those who come after me 19 —and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish? Yet they will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 So I turned and gave my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21 because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun? 23 For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 2:17–23 — The Lexham English Bible (LEB)

17 So I hated life because the work done under the sun is grievous to me. For everything is vanity and chasing wind!

18 So I hated all my toil with which I have toiled under the sun, for I must leave it behind to someone who will be after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be wise or foolish? Yet he will exercise control of all the fruit of my toil with which I toiled wisely under the sun. This also is vanity!

20 So I began to despair of all the toil with which I toiled under the sun. 21 For there is a person who toils with wisdom and knowledge and skill, but he must leave his reward to someone who has not toiled for it. This also is vanity and a great calamity. 22 For what does a person receive for all his toil and in the longing of his heart with which he toils under the sun? 23 All his days are painful, his labor brings grief, and his heart cannot rest at night. This also is vanity!

Ecclesiastes 2:17–23 — New International Reader’s Version (1998) (NIrV)

17 So I hated life. That’s because the work that is done on this earth made me sad. None of it has any meaning. It’s like chasing the wind.

18 I hated everything I had worked for on earth. I’ll have to leave all of it to someone who lives after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be wise or foolish? Either way, he’ll take over everything on earth I’ve worked so hard for. That doesn’t have any meaning either.

20 So I began to lose hope because of all of my hard work on this earth. 21 A man might use wisdom, knowledge and skill to do his work. But then he has to leave everything he owns to someone who hasn’t worked for it. That doesn’t have any meaning either. In fact, it isn’t fair.

22 What does a man get for all of his hard work on earth? What does he get for all of his worries? 23 As long as he lives, his work is nothing but pain and sorrow. Even at night his mind can’t rest. That doesn’t have any meaning either.

Ecclesiastes 2:17–23 — New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (NASB95)

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

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

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

20 Therefore I completely 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 skill, then he gives his legacy to one who has not labored with them. This too is vanity and a great evil.

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

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