1I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; so see what is good.” But behold, that also was pointless.
2I said of laughter, “How stupid!” And of pleasure, “What does it accomplish?”
3I searched with my heart how to entice my flesh with wine (my heart still guiding me with wisdom), and how to embrace folly until I could see what is good for the sons of men that they should do under heaven in the number of the days of their lives.
4I made myself great works. I built myself houses. I planted myself vineyards.
5I made myself gardens and private gardensa and I planted in them trees of all kinds of fruit.
6I made myself pools of water, from which to water groves of growing trees.
7I bought male slaves and female slaves and had slaves who were born in my house. I also had great possessions of herds and flocks, more than all who had been before me in Jerusalem;
8I also gathered silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and of the provinces. I got myself male and female singers, and the delights of the sons of men—many beautiful concubines.
9So I became great and surpassed all those who had been before me in Jerusalem. Still, my wisdom also remained with me.
10And whatever my eyes desired, I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor, and this was my portion for all my labor.
11But when I turned to consider all the works that my hands had worked, and the labor that I had labored to do, behold, all was pointless and herding the wind, and there was no profit under the sun.
12I turned myself to consider wisdom, madness, and foolishness; for what can the man do who will come after the king? Only that which has already been done.
13And I saw that wisdom is superior to folly as light is superior to darkness.
14The wise person has eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness—and yet I perceived that one event happens to them all.
15Then I said to myself, “As it happens to the fool, so it will happen even to me; so why then was I more wise?” Then I said in my heart that this also is pointless.
16For of the wise man, even as of the fool, there is no lasting memory, seeing that in the days to come all will have been forgotten. And how will the wise man die? Just like the fool!
17So I hated life, because the work that is worked under the sun was distressing to me; for all is pointless and herding the wind.
18And I hated all my labor that I labored at under the sun, because I must leave it to the man who will come after me.
19And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will rule over all of my labor that I have labored at and in which I have been wise under the sun. This also is pointless.
20So I turned about, and gave my heart over to despair concerning all the labor that I had labored at under the sun.
21For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, with knowledge, and with skill, yet he must leave his portion to a man who has not labored for it. This also is pointless and a great evil.
22For what does a person get from all his labor—and from the stress of his heart—that he labors at under the sun?
23For all his days are pain and his business is frustrating; yes, even at night his heart does not rest. This also is pointless.
24There is nothing better for a person 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,
25for who can eat or who can have enjoyment apart from him?
26For to the one who pleases him, God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy; but to the sinner he gives the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to the one who pleases God. This also is pointless and herding the wind.