1 I decided to enjoy myself and find out what happiness is. But I found that this is useless, too.
2 I discovered that laughter is foolish, that pleasure does you no good.
3 Driven on by my desire for wisdom, I decided to cheer myself up with wine and have a good time. I thought that this might be the best way people can spend their short lives on earth.
4 I accomplished great things. I built myself houses and planted vineyards. 1
5 I planted gardens and orchards, with all kinds of fruit trees in them;
6 I dug ponds to irrigate them.
7 I bought many slaves, and there were slaves born in my household. I owned more livestock than anyone else who had ever lived in Jerusalem. 2
8 I also piled up silver and gold from the royal treasuries of the lands I ruled. Men and women sang to entertain me, and I had all the women a man could want. 3
9 Yes, I was great, greater than anyone else who had ever lived in Jerusalem, and my wisdom never failed me. 4
10 Anything I wanted, I got. I did not deny myself any pleasure. I was proud of everything I had worked for, and all this was my reward.
11 Then I thought about all that I had done and how hard I had worked doing it, and I realized that it didn't mean a thing. It was like chasing the wind - of no use at all.