Vanity of vanities
1 Here are the words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:
2 All is meaningless – says the Teacher – meaningless, meaningless!
3 What profit is there for a man in all his work for which he toils under the sun?
4 A generation goes, a generation comes and the earth remains forever. 5 The sun rises, the sun sets, hastening towards the place where it again rises. 6 Blowing to the south, turning to the north, the wind goes round and round and after all its rounds it has to blow again.
7 All rivers go to the sea but the sea is not full; to the place where the rivers come from, there they return again.
8 All words become weary and speech comes to an end, but the eye has never seen enough nor the ear heard too much.
9 What has happened before will happen again; what has been done before will be done again: there is nothing new under the sun.
10 If they say to you, “See, it’s new!” know that it has already been centuries earlier.
11 There is no remembrance of ancient people, and those to come will not be remembered by those who follow them.
Even wisdom is meaningless
12 I, the teacher, have been king of Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I set my heart on studying and examining critically all that is done under heaven.
14 It is a burdensome task which God has given to the humans! I have seen everything that is done under the sun, but all is meaningless: it is chasing the wind. 15 What is bent cannot be straight ened; what is not will not come to be.
16 I thought to myself, “See, I have increased and promoted wisdom more than anyone who ruled Jeru salem before me and I have experienced to the full both wisdom and knowledge.” 17 I set my heart on comparing wisdom with foolishness and stupidity, and I discovered that this also is chasing the wind.
18 For the wiser you are, the more worries you have, and the more you learn, the more you suffer.