Ecclesiastes 2 (New American Standard)

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The Futility of Pleasure and Possessions

1 I said ato myself, "Come now, I will test you with 1pleasure. So benjoy yourself." And behold, it too was futility. 2 2I said of laughter, "It is madness," and of pleasure, "What does it accomplish?" 3 I explored with my cmind how to 3stimulate my body with wine while my dmind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of 4folly, until I could see 5what good there is for the sons of men eto do under heaven the few fyears of their lives. 4 I enlarged my works: I 6built houses for myself, I planted 7vineyards for myself; 5 I made 8gardens and 9parks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees; 6 I made 10ponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of growing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and I had g11homeborn slaves. Also I possessed flocks and 12herds larger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. 8 Also, I collected for myself silver and 13gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I provided for myself 14male and female singers and the pleasures of men -many concubines. 9 Then I became 15great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me. 10 16All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my 17reward for all my labor. 11 Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had hexerted, and behold all was i18vanity and striving after wind and there was 19no profit under the sun.

Wisdom Excels Folly

12 So I turned to 20consider wisdom, madness and folly; for what will the man do who will come after the king except 21what has already been done? 13 And I saw that 22wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. 14 The wise man's eyes are in his head, but the 23fool walks in darkness. And yet I know that 24one fate befalls them both. 15 Then I said jto myself, "25As is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me. 26Why then have I been extremely wise?" So kI said to myself, "This too is vanity." 16 For there is 27no llasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And 28how the wise man and the fool alike die! 17 So I 29hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was mgrievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind.

The Futility of Labor

18 Thus I hated 30all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must 31leave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or 32a fool? Yet he will have ncontrol over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is 33vanity. 20 Therefore I ocompletely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun. 21 When there is a man who has labored with wisdom, knowledge and 34skill, then he 35gives his plegacy to one who has not labored with them. This too is vanity and a great evil. 22 For what does a man get in 36all his labor and in qhis striving with which he labors under the sun? 23 Because all his days his task is painful and 37grievous; even at night his rmind 38does not rest. This too is vanity. 24 There is 39nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and stell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is 40from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without tHim? 26 For to a person who is good in His sight 41He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may 42give to one who is good in God's sight. This too is 43vanity and striving after wind.
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