Nonfiction > The Bible > Harvard Classics > Ecclesiastes
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
[1]    I SAID in my heart, Come now, I will prove thee with mirth; therefore 1 enjoy pleasure: 2 and, behold, this also was vanity.
[2]  I said of laughter, It is mad; and of mirth, What doeth it?
[3]  I searched in my heart how to cheer my flesh with wine, my heart yet guiding 3 me with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what it was good for the sons of men that they should do under heaven all 4 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 parks, and I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruit;
[6]  I made me pools of water, to water therefrom the forest where trees were reared;
[7]  I bought men-servants and maid-servants, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of herds and flocks, above all that were before me in Jerusalem;
[8]  I gathered me also silver and gold, and the treasure of kings and of the provinces; I gat me men-singers and women-singers, and the delights of the sons of men, musical 5 instruments, and that of all sorts.
[9]  So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained 6 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 because of all my labor; and this was my portion from 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 a striving after wind, 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 7 the king? even that which hath been done long ago.
[13]  Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.
[14]  The wise man’s eyes are in his head, and the fool walketh in darkness: and yet I perceived that one event happeneth to them all.
[15]  Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so will it happen even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then said I in my heart, that this also is vanity.
[16]  For of the wise man, even as of the fool, there is no remembrance for ever; seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. And how doth the wise man die even as the fool!
[17]  So I hated life, because the work that is wrought under the sun was grievous unto me; for all is vanity and a striving after wind.
[18]    And I hated all my labor wherein I labored under the sun, seeing that I must leave it unto the man that shall be after me.
[19]  And who knoweth whether he will be a wise man or a fool? yet will he have rule over all my labor wherein I have labored, and wherein I have showed myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity.
[20]  Therefore I turned about to cause my heart to despair concerning all the labor wherein I had labored under the sun.
[21]  For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, and with knowledge, and with skilfulness; 8 yet to a man that hath not labored therein shall he leave 9 it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.
[22]  For what hath a man of all his labor, and of the striving 10 of his heart, wherein he laboreth under the sun?
[23]  For all his days are but sorrows, and his travail is grief; yea, even in the night his heart taketh no rest. This also is vanity.
[24]    There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw, that it is from the hand of God.
[25]  For who can eat, or who can have 11 enjoyment, more 12 than I?
[26]  for to the man that pleaseth him God giveth 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 pleaseth God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.
Note 1. Or, and thou shalt enjoy. [back]
Note 2. Or, good. [back]
Note 3. Or, holding its course. [back]
Note 4. Heb. the number of days of their life. [back]
Note 5. Or, concubines very many. The meaning of the Hebrew is very uncertain. [back]
Note 6. Or, stood by me. [back]
Note 7. Or, after the king, even him whom they made king long ago?Or, after the king, in those things which have been already done? [back]
Note 8. Or, success. [back]
Note 9. Heb. give. [back]
Note 10. Or, vexation. [back]
Note 11. Or, hasten thereto. [back]
Note 12. Acc. to Sept. and Syr. apart from him. [back]


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