Ecclesiastes 2 NCV/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 I said to myself, "I will try having fun. I will enjoy myself." But I found that this is also useless. 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 It is foolish to laugh all the time, and having fun doesn't accomplish anything. 2 "Laughter," I said, "is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?"
3 I decided to cheer myself up with wine while my mind was still thinking wisely. I wanted to find a way to enjoy myself and see what was good for people to do during their few days of 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 Then I did great things: I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. 4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards.
5 I made gardens and parks, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them.
6 I made pools of water for myself and used them to water my growing trees. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees.
7 I bought male and female slaves, and slaves were also born in my house. I had large herds and flocks, more than anyone in Jerusalem had ever had before. 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 silver and gold for myself, treasures from kings and other areas. I had male and female singers and all the women a man could ever 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 I became very famous, even greater than anyone who had lived in Jerusalem before me. My wisdom helped me in all this. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.
10 Anything I saw and wanted, I got for myself; I did not miss any pleasure I desired. I was pleased with everything I did, and this pleasure was the reward for all my hard work. 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 But then I looked at what I had done, and I thought about all the hard work. Suddenly I realized it was useless, like chasing the wind. There is nothing to gain from anything we do here on earth. 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 Then I began to think again about being wise, and also about being foolish and doing crazy things. But after all, what more can anyone do? He can't do more than what the other king has already 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 I saw that being wise is certainly better than being foolish, just as light is better than darkness. 13 I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness.
14 Wise people see where they are going, but fools walk around in the dark. Yet I saw that both wise and foolish people end the same way. 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 a fool will happen to me, too, so what is the reward for being wise?" I said to myself, "Being wise is also useless." 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 The wise person and the fool will both die, and no one will remember either one for long. In the future, both will be forgotten. 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. It made me sad to think that everything here on earth is useless, like 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 I hated all the things I had worked for here on earth, because I must leave them to someone who will live 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 Someone else will control everything for which I worked so hard here on earth, and I don't know if he will be wise or foolish. This is also 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 became sad about all the hard work I had done here on earth. 20 So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun.
21 People can work hard using all their wisdom, knowledge, and skill, but they will die, and other people will get the things for which they worked. They did not do the work, but they will get everything. This is also unfair and useless. 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 do people get for all their work and struggling here on earth? 22 What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun?
23 All of their lives their work is full of pain and sorrow, and even at night their minds don't rest. This is also 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 that people can do is eat, drink, and enjoy their work. I saw 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 because no one can eat or enjoy life without him. 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?
26 If people please God, God will give them wisdom, knowledge, and joy. But sinners will get only the work of gathering and storing wealth that they will have to give to the ones who please God. So all their work is useless, 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.