Here is a tragedy I have observed under the sun, and it weighs heavily on humanity:a2
God gives a man riches, wealth, and honor so that he lacks nothing of all he desires for himself, but God does not allow him to enjoy them. Instead, a stranger will enjoy them. This is futile and a sickening tragedy.
A man may father a hundred children and live many years. No matter how long he lives,b if he is not satisfied by good things and does not even have a proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he.
For he comes in futility and he goes in darkness, and his name is shrouded in darkness.
Though a stillborn child does not see the sun and is not conscious, it has more rest than he.
And if he lives a thousand years twice, but does not experience happiness, do not both go to the same place?
All man's labor is for his stomach,c yet the appetite is never satisfied.
What advantage then does the wise man have over the fool? What [advantage] is there for the poor person who knows how to conduct himself before others?
Better what the eyes see than wandering desire. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.
Whatever exists was given its name long ago,d and who man is, is known. But he is not able to contend with the One stronger than he.e11
For when there are many words, they increase futility. What is the advantage for man?
For who knows what is good for man in life, in the few days of his futile life that he spends like a shadow?f Who can tell man what will happen after him under the sun?