Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 MSG/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 I said to myself, "Let's go for it - experiment with pleasure, have a good time!" But there was nothing to it, nothing but smoke. 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 What do I think of the fun-filled life? Insane! Inane! My verdict on the pursuit of happiness? Who needs it? 2 "Laughter," I said, "is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?"
3 With the help of a bottle of wine and all the wisdom I could muster, I tried my level best to penetrate the absurdity of life. I wanted to get a handle on anything useful we mortals might do during the years we spend on this earth. I Never Said No to Myself 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 Oh, I did great things: built houses, planted vineyards, 4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards.
5 designed gardens and parks and planted a variety of fruit trees in them, 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them.
6 made pools of water to irrigate the groves of trees. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees.
7 I bought slaves, male and female, who had children, giving me even more slaves; then I acquired large herds and flocks, larger than any 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 piled up silver and gold, loot from kings and kingdoms. I gathered a chorus of singers to entertain me with song, and - most exquisite of all pleasures - voluptuous maidens for my bed. 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 Oh, how I prospered! I left all my predecessors in Jerusalem far behind, left them behind in the dust. What's more, I kept a clear head through it all. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.
10 Everything I wanted I took - I never said no to myself. I gave in to every impulse, held back nothing. I sucked the marrow of pleasure out of every task - my reward to myself for a hard day's 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 Then I took a good look at everything I'd done, looked at all the sweat and hard work. But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke. Smoke and spitting into the wind. There was nothing to any of it. Nothing. 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.