Ecclesiastes 2 GNT/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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Good News Translation (GNT) New International Version (NIV)
1 I decided to enjoy myself and find out what happiness is. But I found that this is useless, too. 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 discovered that laughter is foolish, that pleasure does you no good. 2 "Laughter," I said, "is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?"
3 Driven on by my desire for wisdom, I decided to cheer myself up with wine and have a good time. I thought that this might be the best way people can spend their short lives on earth. 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 accomplished great things. I built myself houses and planted vineyards. 4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards.
5 I planted gardens and orchards, with all kinds of fruit trees in them; 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them.
6 I dug ponds to irrigate them. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees.
7 I bought many slaves, and there were slaves born in my household. I owned more livestock than anyone else who had ever lived 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 piled up silver and gold from the royal treasuries of the lands I ruled. Men and women sang to entertain me, and I had all the women a man could want. 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 Yes, I was great, greater than anyone else who had ever lived in Jerusalem, and my wisdom never failed me. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.
10 Anything I wanted, I got. I did not deny myself any pleasure. I was proud of everything I had worked for, and all this was my reward. 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 thought about all that I had done and how hard I had worked doing it, and I realized that it didn't mean a thing. It was like chasing the wind - of no use at all. 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 After all, a king can only do what previous kings have done. So I started thinking about what it meant to be wise or reckless or foolish. 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 Oh, I know, "Wisdom is better than foolishness, just as light is better than darkness. 13 I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness.
14 The wise can see where they are going, and fools cannot." But I also know that the same fate is waiting for us all. 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 I thought to myself, "What happens to fools is going to happen to me, too. So what have I gained from being so wise?" "Nothing," I answered, "not a thing." 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 No one remembers the wise, and no one remembers fools. In days to come, we will all be forgotten. We must all die - wise and foolish alike. 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 life came to mean nothing to me, because everything in it had brought me nothing but trouble. It had all been useless; I had been chasing the 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 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, 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 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. 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 came to regret that I had worked so hard. 20 So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun.
21 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! 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 You work and worry your way through life, and what do you have to show for it? 22 What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun?
23 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. 23 All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless.
24 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. 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 How else could you have anything to eat or enjoy yourself at all? 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?
26 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. 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.