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Ecclesiastes 2 ESV/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 I said in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself." But behold, this also was vanity. 1 I thought in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good." But that also proved to be meaningless.
2 I said of laughter, "It is mad," and of pleasure, "What use is it?" 2 "Laughter," I said, "is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?"
3 I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine--my heart still guiding me with wisdom--and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. 3 I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly--my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives.
4 I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. 4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards.
5 I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them.
6 I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees.
7 I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 7 I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me.
8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the children of man. 8 I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem as well--the delights of the heart of man.
9 So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.
10 And 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. 10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor.
11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. 11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.
12 So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly. For what can the man do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done. 12 Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom, and also madness and folly. What more can the king's successor do than what has already been done?
13 Then I saw that there is more gain in wisdom than in folly, as there is more gain in light than in darkness. 13 I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness.
14 The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them. 14 The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in the darkness; but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both.
15 Then I said in my heart, "What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise?" And I said in my heart that this also is vanity. 15 Then I thought in my heart, "The fate of the fool will overtake me also. What then do I gain by being wise?" I said in my heart, "This too is meaningless."
16 For of the wise as of the fool there is no enduring remembrance, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise dies just like the fool! 16 For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered; in days to come both will be forgotten. Like the fool, the wise man too must die!
17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind. 17 So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
18 I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, 18 I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me.
19 and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless.
20 So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, 20 So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun.
21 because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 21 For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then he must leave all he owns to someone who has not worked for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune.
22 What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? 22 What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun?
23 For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity. 23 All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless.
24 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, 24 A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God,
25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?
26 For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. 26 To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.