So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly; for what can the one do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done.
Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.
The wise have eyes in their head, but fools walk in darkness. Yet I perceived that the same fate befalls all of them.
Then I said to myself, "What happens to the fool will happen to me also; why then have I been so very wise?" And I said to myself that this also is vanity.
For there is no enduring remembrance of the wise or of fools, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How can the wise die just like fools?
So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me; for all is vanity and a chasing after wind. a18
I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to those who come after me
—and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish? Yet they will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity.
So I turned and gave my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labors under the sun,
because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.
What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun?
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (New Revised Standard Bible Version Online)