Then said I in my heart, As it happens to the fool, so it will happen even to me. And of what use is it then for me to be more wise? Then I said in my heart, This also is vanity (emptiness, vainglory, and futility)!
And I said in my heart: If the death of the fool and mine shall be one, what doth it avail me, that I have applied myself more to the study of wisdom? And speaking with my own mind, I perceived that this also was vanity.
I ·thought to myself [L said in my heart], “·What happens to a fool will happen to me [L The fate of the fool is my fate], too, so ·what is the reward for being [L why have I become so] wise?” I said to myself, “·Being wise [L This] is also useless [1:2].”
When I realized that my fate’s the same as the fool’s, I had to ask myself, “So why bother being wise?” It’s all smoke, nothing but smoke. The smart and the stupid both disappear out of sight. In a day or two they’re both forgotten. Yes, both the smart and the stupid die, and that’s it.
So I thought to myself, “The fate of the fool will happen even to me! Then what did I gain by becoming so excessively wise?” So I lamented to myself, “The benefits of wisdom are ultimately meaningless!”
And I said in mine heart, If one death shall be both of the fool and of me, what profiteth it to me, that I gave more busyness to wisdom? And I spake with my soul, and perceived, that this also was vanity. (And I said in my heart, If one death shall be for both the fool and for me, what profiteth it to me, that I gave more busyness, or more effort and study, to wisdom? And I spoke with myself, and understood, that this was also empty and futile.)
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