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Ecclesiastes 1 Darby Translation (DARBY)

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities! all is vanity.

What profit hath man of all his labour wherewith he laboureth under the sun?

[One] generation passeth away, and [another] generation cometh, but the earth standeth for ever.

The sun also riseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to its place where it ariseth.

The wind goeth towards the south, and turneth about towards the north: it turneth about continually, and the wind returneth again to its circuits.

All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full: unto the place whither the rivers go, thither they go again.

All things are full of toil; none can express it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.

That which hath been is that which shall be; and that which hath been done is that which will be done: and there is nothing new under the sun.

10 Is there a thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It hath been already in the ages which were before us.

11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be remembrance of things that are to come with those who shall live afterwards.

12 I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem.

13 And I applied my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under the heavens: this grievous occupation hath God given to the children of men to weary themselves therewith.

14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and pursuit of the wind.

15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight; and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.

16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I have become great and have acquired wisdom more than all they that have been before me over Jerusalem; and my heart hath seen much of wisdom and knowledge.

17 And I applied my heart to the knowledge of wisdom, and to the knowledge of madness and folly: I perceived that this also is a striving after the wind.

18 For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

Ecclesiastes 1 New International Version (NIV)

Everything Is Meaningless

The words of the Teacher,[a] son of David, king in Jerusalem:

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
    says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
    Everything is meaningless.”

What do people gain from all their labors
    at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go,
    but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun sets,
    and hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
    and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
    ever returning on its course.
All streams flow into the sea,
    yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
    there they return again.
All things are wearisome,
    more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
    nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say,
    “Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
    it was here before our time.
11 No one remembers the former generations,
    and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
    by those who follow them.

Wisdom Is Meaningless

12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

15 What is crooked cannot be straightened;
    what is lacking cannot be counted.

16 I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.

18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
    the more knowledge, the more grief.

Footnotes:

  1. Ecclesiastes 1:1 Or the leader of the assembly; also in verses 2 and 12
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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