KJV Retrieved from:
on 19 April 2012
The Old Testament/Torah book of Ecclesiastes was probably NOT introduced to you on Sunday mornings.
For those old enough to remember , you were probably first introduced to it in 1965 when The Byrds turned Pete Seeger’s 1959 song “Turn, Turn, Turn” from the King James Version of Ecclesiates into a hit on BOTH US and UK charts – Number 1 in the USA on the Billboard Top 100. The Byrds were only big for a couple/three years but critics now contend that The Byrds were one of the most influential bands of the 1960s. I agree.
“Many biblical scholars believe that Ecclesiastes 1:1 implies King Solomon (born c. 1011 BC) as the book’s author, but regardless of its precise origins, The Byrds’ version of the song easily holds the record for the number one hit with the oldest lyrics.” – from Wikipaedia .
As a Homo sapiens sapiens with Postmodern and Deconstruction affinities more toward continuums – or continuuia — starting about 20 years ago — I now object to the arbitrary either/or binary oppositions (and all binary oppositions approaches). But most of Ecclesiastes still has some useful meaning despite the arbitrary binaries. Especially if one considers the binaries to be opposite points on a continuum. Some of Ecclesiates is, indeed, crap. I did take out the shaming preachy chapter headings. I also don’t like the “I, I, I” and “me, me, me” and “mine, mine, mine” stuff. Whatevah.
The King James Version version has numerous problemas grandes, and was not the first Bible translation in English. Moreover, who knows whether/how it made its way from Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek/Arabic/Latin/German and the rest to English. There is ALWAYS “something lost in the translation.” ; )
EVEN WORSE, THE TWO MAIN English translation predecessors were the Geneva Bible and The Bishops Bible. The Geneva Bible was quite anti-royal elite One Per Center and The Bishop’s Bib le was quite pro-royalty. (Who would guess?) But the common folk of England were using Geneva over Bishops and that became a concern to King James and the other ”entitled” Lords and Ladies.
So rather than desiring to consolidate and “harmonize” the conflicting English translations , King James wanted most of the anti-Royal Geneva tilt out and most of the Bishop’s pro-Royal tilt in. Betcha didn’t hear THAT on Sunday mornings or on Jewish Sabbaths. ; )
But I still prefer using the KJV rather than the really dumbed-down so-called “modern versions”.
Ecclesiates is a short 12-chapter “book” of the Torah/Old Testament.
Please look for the “direct steal” by Seeger/The Byrds at the beginning of Chapter Three. But please begin at the beginning for full enjoyment and effect.
Rinse and Repeat.
FROM: The Holy Bible: King James Version. 1611/2000.
OR, THE PREACHER
1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
3 What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun?
4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
6 The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full: unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
8 All things are full of labor; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.
12 I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.
14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
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 am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. 1 Kgs. 4.29-31
17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.
18 For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
1 I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.
2 I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?
3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.
4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:
5 I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:
6 I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:
7 I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:
8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts. 1 Kgs. 10.23-27 • 2 Chr. 9.22-27
9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.
10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labor: and this was my portion of all my labor.
11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.
12 And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done.
13 Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.
14 The wise man’s eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.
15 Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.
16 For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.
17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
18 Yea, I hated all my labor which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.
19 And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labor wherein I have labored, and wherein I have showed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.
20 Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labor which I took under the sun.
21 For there is a man whose labor is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not labored therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.
22 For what hath man of all his labor, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath labored under the sun?
23 For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.
24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.
25 For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I?
26 For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight, wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.
[HERE IS THE DIRECT STEAL:]
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
9 What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboreth?
10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.
13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God.
14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
15 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.
16 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.
17 I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.
18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
22 Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?
1 So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.
2 Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead, more than the living which are yet alive.
3 Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
4 Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbor. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.
5 The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh.
6 Better is a handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit.
7 Then I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun.
8 There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother: yet is there no end of all his labor; neither is his eye satisfied with riches; neither saith he, For whom do I labor, and bereave my soul of good? This is also vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.
9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
13 Better is a poor and a wise child, than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.
14 For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.
15 I considered all the living which walk under the sun, with the second child that shall stand up in his stead.
16 There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them: they also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.
1 Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.
2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.
3 For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.
4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.
5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.
6 Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?
7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.
8 If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.
9 Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.
10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.
11 When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes?
12 The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.
13 There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.
14 But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand.
15 As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labor, which he may carry away in his hand.
16 And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath labored for the wind?
17 All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness.
18 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.
19 Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.
20 For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.
1 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men:
2 a man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honor, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it: this is vanity, and it is an evil disease.
3 If a man beget a hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he.
4 For he cometh in with vanity, and departeth in darkness, and his name shall be covered with darkness.
5 Moreover he hath not seen the sun, nor known any thing: this hath more rest than the other.
6 Yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, yet hath he seen no good: do not all go to one place?
7 All the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.
8 For what hath the wise more than the fool? what hath the poor, that knoweth to walk before the living?
9 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.
10 That which hath been is named already, and it is known that it is man: neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he.
11 Seeing there be many things that increase vanity, what is man the better?
12 For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?
1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.
2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.
6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.
7 Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.
8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
10 Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this.
11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.
12 For wisdom is a defense, and money is a defense: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.
13 Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?
14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.
15 All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.
16 Be not righteous over much, neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?
17 Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?
18 It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.
19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.
20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:
22 for oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.
23 All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.
24 That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out?
25 I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:
26 and I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.
27 Behold, this have I found, saith the Preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account;
28 which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found.
29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.
1 Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? a man’s wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face shall be changed.
2 I counsel thee to keep the king’s commandment, and that in regard of the oath of God.
3 Be not hasty to go out of his sight: stand not in an evil thing; for he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him.
4 Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?
5 Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.
6 Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him.
7 For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?
8 There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.
9 All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done under the sun: there is a time wherein one man ruleth over another to his own hurt.
10 And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of the holy, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done: this is also vanity.
11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
12 Though a sinner do evil a hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him:
13 but it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.
14 There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity.
15 Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labor the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.
16 When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:)
17 then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labor to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.
1 For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them.
2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.
3 This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.
4 For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.
7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.
8 Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.
9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labor which thou takest under the sun.
10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
12 For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.
13 This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me:
14 there was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it.
15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man.
16 Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.
17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.
1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honor.
2 A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left.
3 Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.
4 If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offenses.
5 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler:
6 folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.
7 I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth.
8 He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh a hedge, a serpent shall bite him.
9 Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby.
10 If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.
11 Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.
12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.
13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.
14 A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?
15 The labor of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.
16 Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!
17 Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!
18 By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through.
19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.
20 Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.
1 Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.
2 Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.
3 If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.
4 He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.
5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.
6 In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.
7 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:
8 but if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity.
9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.
10 Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.
1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
2 while the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:
3 in the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,
4 and the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low;
5 also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:
6 or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
8 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher; all is vanity.
9 And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.
10 The Preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.
11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.
12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
THEN, upon completion and reflection, please read Ecclesiastes again – or at least the first few lines — replacing the words “vanity” and “vanities” with:
If you would like to read the Revised Standard Version of Ecclestiastes, you can do so here:
Bible, Revised Standard Version
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America and distributed to registered users (see User Agreement) with their kind permission. The HTI is grateful to NCC and the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Computer Analysis of Texts (CCAT) for their permission to provide this WWW-accessible version.
 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
 What does man gain by all the toil
at which he toils under the sun?
 A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains for ever.
 The sun rises and the sun goes down,
and hastens to the place where it rises.
 The wind blows to the south,
and goes round to the north;
round and round goes the wind,
and on its circuits the wind returns.
 All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
 All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.
 What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done;
and there is nothing new under the sun.
 Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already,
in the ages before us.
 There is no remembrance of former things,
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things yet to happen
among those who come after.
I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem.
 And I applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy with.
 I have seen everything that is done under the sun; and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.
 What is crooked cannot be made straight,
and what is lacking cannot be numbered.
I said to myself, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.”
 And I applied my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind.
 For in much wisdom is much vexation,
and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.
 I said to myself, “Come now, I will make a test of pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity.
 I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?”
 I searched with my mind how to cheer my body with wine — my mind still guiding me 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 during the few days of their life.
 I made great works; I built houses and planted vineyards for myself;
 I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees.
 I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees.
 I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house; I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem.
 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces; I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, man’s delight.
So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom remained with me.
 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them; I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil.
 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly; for what can the man do who comes after the king? Only what he has already done.
 Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.
 The wise man has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness; and yet I perceived that one fate comes to all of them.
 Then I said to myself, “What befalls the fool will befall me also; why then have I been so very wise?” And I said to myself that this also is vanity.
 For of the wise man as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise man dies just like the fool!
 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me; for all is vanity and a striving after wind.
I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me;
 and who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity.
 So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun,
 because sometimes a man who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by a man who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.
 What has a man from all the toil and strain with which he toils beneath the sun?
 For all his days are full of pain, and his work is a vexation; even in the night his mind does not rest. This also is vanity.
There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God;
 for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?
 For to the man who pleases him God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy; but to the sinner he gives the work of gathering and heaping, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.
 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
 a time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
 What gain has the worker from his toil?
I have seen the business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy with.
 He has made everything beautiful in its time; also he has put eternity into man’s mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
 I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live;
 also that it is God’s gift to man that every one should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil.
 I know that whatever God does endures for ever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has made it so, in order that men should fear before him.
 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.
Moreover I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness.
 I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for he has appointed a time for every matter, and for every work.
 I said in my heart with regard to the sons of men that God is testing them to show them that they are but beasts.
 For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all is vanity.
 All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again.
 Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down to the earth?
 So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should enjoy his work, for that is his lot; who can bring him to see what will be after him?
 Again I saw all the oppressions that are practiced under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them.
 And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive;
 but better than both is he who has not yet been, and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.
Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.
The fool folds his hands, and eats his own flesh.
Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.
Again, I saw vanity under the sun:
 a person who has no one, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up.
 Again, if two lie together, they are warm; but how can one be warm alone?
 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king, who will no longer take advice,
 even though he had gone from prison to the throne or in his own kingdom had been born poor.
 I saw all the living who move about under the sun, as well as that youth, who was to stand in his place;
 there was no end of all the people; he was over all of them. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind.
 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God; to draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know that they are doing evil.
 Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven, and you upon earth; therefore let your words be few.
For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words.
When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it; for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow.
 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.
 Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake; why should God be angry at your voice, and destroy the work of your hands?
For when dreams increase, empty words grow many: but do you fear God.
If you see in a province the poor oppressed and justice and right violently taken away, do not be amazed at the matter; for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them.
 But in all, a king is an advantage to a land with cultivated fields.
He who loves money will not be satisfied with money; nor he who loves wealth, with gain: this also is vanity.
When goods increase, they increase who eat them; and what gain has their owner but to see them with his eyes?
Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much; but the surfeit of the rich will not let him sleep.
There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt,
 and those riches were lost in a bad venture; and he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand.
 As he came from his mother’s womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil, which he may carry away in his hand.
 This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go; and what gain has he that he toiled for the wind,
 and spent all his days in darkness and grief, in much vexation and sickness and resentment?
Behold, what I have seen to be good and to be fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life which God has given him, for this is his lot.
 Every man also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and find enjoyment in his toil — this is the gift of God.
 For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.
 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy upon men:
 a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them; this is vanity; it is a sore affliction.
 If a man begets a hundred children, and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but he does not enjoy life’s good things, and also has no burial, I say that an untimely birth is better off than he.
 For it comes into vanity and goes into darkness, and in darkness its name is covered;
 moreover it has not seen the sun or known anything; yet it finds rest rather than he.
 Even though he should live a thousand years twice told, yet enjoy no good — do not all go to the one place?
All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied.
 For what advantage has the wise man over the fool? And what does the poor man have who knows how to conduct himself before the living?
 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire; this also is vanity and a striving after wind.
Whatever has come to be has already been named, and it is known what man is, and that he is not able to dispute with one stronger than he.
 The more words, the more vanity, and what is man the better?
 For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun?
 A good name is better than precious ointment;
and the day of death, than the day of birth.
 It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting;
for this is the end of all men,
and the living will lay it to heart.
 Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of countenance the heart is made glad.
 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning;
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
 It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise
than to hear the song of fools.
 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot,
so is the laughter of the fools;
this also is vanity.
 Surely oppression makes the wise man foolish,
and a bribe corrupts the mind.
 Better is the end of a thing than its beginning;
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
 Be not quick to anger,
for anger lodges in the bosom of fools.
 Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
 Wisdom is good with an inheritance,
an advantage to those who see the sun.
 For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money;
and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life
of him who has it.
 Consider the work of God;
who can make straight what he has made crooked?
In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider; God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.
In my vain life I have seen everything; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his evil-doing.
 Be not righteous overmuch, and do not make yourself overwise; why should you destroy yourself?
 Be not wicked overmuch, neither be a fool; why should you die before your time?
 It is good that you should take hold of this, and from that withhold not your hand; for he who fears God shall come forth from them all.
Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers that are in a city.
Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.
Do not give heed to all the things that men say, lest you hear your servant cursing you;
 your heart knows that many times you have yourself cursed others.
All this I have tested by wisdom; I said, “I will be wise”; but it was far from me.
 That which is, is far off, and deep, very deep; who can find it out?
 I turned my mind to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the sum of things, and to know the wickedness of folly and the foolishness which is madness.
 And I found more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters; he who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her.
 Behold, this is what I found, says the Preacher, adding one thing to another to find the sum,
 which my mind has sought repeatedly, but I have not found. One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these I have not found.
 Behold, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many devices.
 Who is like the wise man?
And who knows the interpretation of a thing?
A man’s wisdom makes his face shine,
and the hardness of his countenance is changed.
Keep the king’s command, and because of your sacred oath be not dismayed;
 go from his presence, do not delay when the matter is unpleasant, for he does whatever he pleases.
 For the word of the king is supreme, and who may say to him, “What are you doing?”
 He who obeys a command will meet no harm, and the mind of a wise man will know the time and way.
 For every matter has its time and way, although man’s trouble lies heavy upon him.
 For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be?
 No man has power to retain the spirit, or authority over the day of death; there is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it.
 All this I observed while applying my mind to all that is done under the sun, while man lords it over man to his hurt.
Then I saw the wicked buried; they used to go in and out of the holy place, and were praised in the city where they had done such things. This also is vanity.
 Because sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the sons of men is fully set to do evil.
 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him;
 but it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God.
There is a vanity which takes place on earth, that there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked men to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity.
 And I commend enjoyment, for man has no good thing under the sun but to eat and drink, and enjoy himself, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of life which God gives him under the sun.
When I applied my mind to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on earth, how neither day nor night one’s eyes see sleep;
 then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out; even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.
 But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God; whether it is love or hate man does not know. Everything before them is vanity,
 since one fate comes to all, to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As is the good man, so is the sinner; and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath.
 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that one fate comes to all; also the hearts of men are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead.
 But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward; but the memory of them is lost.
 Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and they have no more for ever any share in all that is done under the sun.
Go, eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has already approved what you do.
Let your garments be always white; let not oil be lacking on your head.
Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life which he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun.
 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.
 For man does not know his time. Like fish which are taken in an evil net, and like birds which are caught in a snare, so the sons of men are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.
I have also seen this example of wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great to me.
 There was a little city with few men in it; and a great king came against it and besieged it, building great siegeworks against it.
 But there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man.
 But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heeded.
The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools.
 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.
 Dead flies make the perfumer’s ointment give off an evil odor;
so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.
 A wise man’s heart inclines him toward the right,
but a fool’s heart toward the left.
 Even when the fool walks on the road, he lacks sense,
and he says to every one that he is a fool.
 If the anger of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your place,
for deference will make amends for great offenses.
There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as it were an error proceeding from the ruler:
 folly is set in many high places, and the rich sit in a low place.
 I have seen slaves on horses, and princes walking on foot like slaves.
 He who digs a pit will fall into it;
and a serpent will bite him who breaks through a wall.
 He who quarries stones is hurt by them;
and he who splits logs is endangered by them.
 If the iron is blunt, and one does not whet the edge,
he must put forth more strength;
but wisdom helps one to succeed.
 If the serpent bites before it is charmed,
there is no advantage in a charmer.
 The words of a wise man’s mouth win him favor,
but the lips of a fool consume him.
 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness,
and the end of his talk is wicked madness.
 A fool multiplies words,
though no man knows what is to be,
and who can tell him what will be after him?
 The toil of a fool wearies him,
so that he does not know the way to the city.
 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child,
and your princes feast in the morning!
 Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of free men,
and your princes feast at the proper time,
for strength, and not for drunkenness!
 Through sloth the roof sinks in,
and through indolence the house leaks.
 Bread is made for laughter,
and wine gladdens life,
and money answers everything.
 Even in your thought, do not curse the king,
nor in your bedchamber curse the rich;
for a bird of the air will carry your voice,
or some winged creature tell the matter.
 Cast your bread upon the waters,
for you will find it after many days.
 Give a portion to seven, or even to eight,
for you know not what evil may happen on earth.
 If the clouds are full of rain,
they empty themselves on the earth;
and if a tree falls to the south or to the north,
in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie.
 He who observes the wind will not sow;
and he who regards the clouds will not reap.
As you do not know how the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.
In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.
Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun.
For if a man lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity.
Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.
Remove vexation from your mind, and put away pain from your body; for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.
 Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw nigh, when you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”;
 before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain;
 in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look through the windows are dimmed,
 and the doors on the street are shut; when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the voice of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low;
 they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along and desire fails; because man goes to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets;
 before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern,
 and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.
Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging proverbs with great care.
 The Preacher sought to find pleasing words, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.
The sayings of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings which are given by one Shepherd.
 My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.
For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
NOW please read it again – or at least the first few lines — replacing the words “vanity” and “vanities” with: