I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees.
I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees.
I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house; I also had great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem.
I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and of the provinces; I got singers, both men and women, and delights of the flesh, and many concubines. a9
So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom remained with me.
Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them; I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil.
Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and again, all was vanity and a chasing after wind, b and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
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.
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)