The Vanity of Life

1The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
  2“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher;
   “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
  3What profit has a man from all his labor
   In which he toils under the sun?
   4One generation passes away, and another generation comes;
   But the earth abides forever.
   5The sun also rises, and the sun goes down,
   And hastens to the place where it arose.
   6The wind goes toward the south,
   And turns around to the north;
   The wind whirls about continually,
   And comes again on its circuit.
   7All the rivers run into the sea,
   Yet the sea is not full;
   To the place from which the rivers come,
   There they return again.
   8All things are full of labor;
   Man cannot express it.
   The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
   Nor the ear filled with hearing.
  9That which has been is what will be,
   That which is done is what will be done,
   And there is nothing new under the sun.
   10Is there anything of which it may be said,
   “See, this is new”?
   It has already been in ancient times before us.
   11There isno remembrance of former things,
   Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come
   By those who will come after.

The Grief of Wisdom

12I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised. 14I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.
  15What is crooked cannot be made straight,
   And what is lacking cannot be numbered.
16I communed with my heart, saying, “Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge.” 17And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind.
  18For in much wisdom is much grief,
   And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.