Nothing that I had worked for and earned meant a thing to me, because I knew that I would have to leave it to my successor,
and he might be wise, or he might be foolish - who knows? Yet he will own everything I have worked for, everything my wisdom has earned for me in this world. It is all useless.
So I came to regret that I had worked so hard.
You work for something with all your wisdom, knowledge, and skill, and then you have to leave it all to someone who hasn't had to work for it. It is useless, and it isn't right!
You work and worry your way through life, and what do you have to show for it?
As long as you live, everything you do brings nothing but worry and heartache. Even at night your mind can't rest. It is all useless. 1
References for Ecclesiastes 2:23
2.23 Job 5.7; 14.1.
The best thing we can do is eat and drink and enjoy what we have earned. And yet, I realized that even this comes from God. 2
References for Ecclesiastes 2:24
2.24 Ec 3.13; 5.18; 9.7; Is 56.12; Lk 12.19; 1 Co 15.32.
How else could you have anything to eat or enjoy yourself at all?
God gives wisdom, knowledge, and happiness to those who please him, but he makes sinners work, earning and saving, so that what they get can be given to those who please him. It is all useless. It is like chasing the wind. 3
References for Ecclesiastes 2:26
2.26 Job 32.8; Pr 2.6.