1 I said in my heart, “I will try pleasure! taste happiness!” But I found that was useless. 2 Laughter is foolishness! As for pleasure, what good is it? 3 I thought of cheering my body with wine while my heart searched for wisdom. So I gave my self to folly in order to find out what would be good for man to do under the sun throughout his life.
4 I did great things: I built houses and planted vine yards. 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees. 6 I constructed reservoirs to irrigate the orchards. 7 I bought slaves and servants and had slaves born in my household. I had flocks and herds in abundance more than anyone before me in Jeru salem. 8 I acquired silver and gold – the wealth of kings and nations. I had choirmaster and singers and besides that, what most delights men. 9 I became great, sur passing all my predecessors in Jeru salem without losing wisdom. 10 I refused my self nothing that my eyes desired nor did I deprive my heart of any pleasure. I enjoyed all I undertook and that was my reward for my work.
11 Then I considered all I had achieved by my work and all the toil it had entailed and found that it was all meaningless and chasing wind. There is no profit under the sun.
12 I then decided to compare wisdom with folly and madness and I thought, “What will my successor as king do?” (We know what he did!)
13 I understood that wisdom is more profitable than folly, just as light is better than darkness:
14 The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in darkness.
14 But it dawned on me that the same fate overtakes them both. 15 And I thought, “If the fate of the fool will be mine as well, what did my wisdom profit me?” I thought to myself that, too, is meaningless. 16 There is no more remembrance of the wise man than of the fool: both will be forgotten in the days to come. Why is a wise man’s death like that of a fool?
17 So I hated life seeing the wrong in everything that is done under the sun: all is meaningless and chasing wind. 18 I hated all I had labored for under the sun and which I must leave to my successor. 19 Who knows whether he will be foolish or wise? Yet he will be master of all 20 I have achieved by my own efforts and wisdom: that too is meaningless.
20 And I began to despair in my heart over all my labor under the sun. 21 For here was a man who toiled in all wisdom, knowledge and skill and he must leave all to someone who has not worked for it. This is meaningless and a great misfortune. 22 For what profit is there for a man in all his work and heart-searching under the sun? 23 All his days bring sorrow, his work grief; he hasn’t, moreover, peaceful rest at night: that too is meaningless.
24 There is nothing better for man to do than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. I understood that this too comes from the hand of God. 25 For without him who can eat or find enjoyment?
26 To the one who pleases him, he gives wisdom, knowledge and joy, while to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up what will be given to another who pleases God: this too is meaningless and chasing wind.