I thought in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure1 to find out what is good." But that also proved to be meaningless.
"Laughter,"2 I said, "is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?"
I tried cheering myself with wine,3 and embracing folly4--my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives.
I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself5 and planted vineyards.65
I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them.
I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees.
I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves7 who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me.
I amassed silver and gold8 for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces.9 I acquired men and women singers,10 and a harema as well--the delights of the heart of man.
I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem11 before me.12 In all this my wisdom stayed with me.
I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;13 nothing was gained under the sun.14