1The words of the Sage, the son of David, king in Jerusalem:
2“Utterly pointless!” says the Sage; “Utterly pointless! Everything is pointless.”a
3What does a man gain from all his toil at which he toils under the sun?
4A generation goes, and another generation comes, but the earth remains forever.
5The sun also rises and the sun sets, and panting, returns to its place where it rises.
6Going toward the south, and circling to the north— circling, circling is the wind, and on its own circuits the wind returns.
7All the streams go into the sea, yet the sea is not full. To the place from which the streams flow, they return to flow again.
8All things are full of weariness; a person cannot express it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear filled with hearing.
9What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
10There is a thing about which one might say, “Look, this is new!” But it already was in ages ago that came before us.
11There is no recollection of the former things,b and also there will be no recollection of those things that are still to come by those who will come after them.
12I, the Sage, was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
13And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under the heavens. It is a burdensome business that God has given to the sons of men to be busied with.
14I have seen all the works that are done under the sun, and behold, everything is pointless and herding the wind.
15What is bent cannot be straightened, and what is lacking cannot be counted.
16I said to myself, “Behold, I have magnified and increased in wisdom above all who were over Jerusalem before me. Yes, my heart has seen much wisdom and knowledge.”
17I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and foolishness. I perceived that this also was herding the wind.
18For in much wisdom is much frustration, and he who increases knowledge increases pain.