Ecclesiastes - Chapter 2
The Futility of Human Competition, Riches, Pleasures and Pleasures
1 I said in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure"; but surely, this also [was] vanity.
2 I said of laughter -- "Madness!"; and of mirth, "What does it accomplish?"
3 I searched in my heart [how] to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what [was] good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.
4 I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards.
5 I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all [kinds] of fruit trees in them.
6 I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove.
7 I acquired male and female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me.
8 I 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] musical instruments of all kinds.
9 So I became great and excelled more 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 this was my reward 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] vanity and grasping for the wind. [There was] no profit under the sun.
12 Then I turned myself to consider wisdom and madness and folly; For what [can] the man [do] who succeeds the king? -- [Only] what he has already done.
13 Then I saw that wisdom excels folly As light excels darkness.
14 The wise man's eyes [are] in his head, But the fool walks in darkness. Yet I myself perceived That the same event happens to them all.
15 So I said in my heart, "As it happens to the fool, It also happens to me, And why was I then more wise?" Then I said in my heart, "This also [is] vanity."
16 For [there is] no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, Since all that now [is] will be forgotten in the days to come. And how does a wise [man] die? As the fool!
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.
All Good is From God
24 Nothing [is] better for a man [than] that he should eat and drink, and [that] his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.
25 For who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, more than I?
26 For [God] gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who [is] good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that he may give to [him who is] good before God. This also [is] vanity and grasping for the wind.