Ecclesiastes 1:12–2:11

The Grief of Wisdom

12 I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I set my heart to seek and lsearch out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; mthis burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be 5exercised. 14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

15 nWhat 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 omore wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has 6understood great wisdom and knowledge.” 17 pAnd 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 qin much wisdom is much grief,

And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

The Vanity of Pleasure

2 I said ain my heart, “Come now, I will test you with bmirth; 1therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely, cthis also was vanity. I said of laughter—“Madness!”; and of mirth, “What does it accomplish?” dI searched in my heart how 2to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was egood for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.

I made my works great, I built myself fhouses, and planted myself vineyards. I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made myself water pools from which to 3water the growing trees of the grove. I acquired male and female servants, and had 4servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me. gI also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and 5musical instruments of all kinds.

hSo I became great and 6excelled imore than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me.

10 Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.

I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure,

For my heart rejoiced in all my labor;

And jthis was my 7reward from all my labor.

11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done

And on the labor in which I had toiled;

And indeed all was kvanity and grasping for the wind.

There was no profit under the sun.

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