I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees.
I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves1 who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me.
I amassed silver and gold2 for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces.3 I acquired men and women singers,4 and a harema as well--the delights of the heart of man.
I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem5 before me.6 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;7 nothing was gained under the sun.8
Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom, and also madness and folly.9 What more can the king's successor do than what has already been done?1013
I saw that wisdom11 is better than folly,12 just as light is better than darkness.
The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in the darkness; but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both.1315
Then I thought in my heart, "The fate of the fool will overtake me also. What then do I gain by being wise?"14 I said in my heart, "This too is meaningless."
For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered;15 in days to come both will be forgotten.16 Like the fool, the wise man too must die!17