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Ecclesiastes 2:18-26 MSG/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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18 And I hated everything I'd accomplished and accumulated on this earth. I can't take it with me - no, I have to leave it to whoever comes 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 Whether they're worthy or worthless - and who's to tell? - they'll take over the earthly results of my intense thinking and hard work. Smoke. 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 That's when I called it quits, gave up on anything that could be hoped for on this earth. 20 So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun.
21 What's the point of working your fingers to the bone if you hand over what you worked for to someone who never lifted a finger for it? Smoke, that's what it is. A bad business from start to finish. 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 So what do you get from a life of hard labor? 22 What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun?
23 Pain and grief from dawn to dusk. Never a decent night's rest. Nothing but smoke. 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 you can do with your life is have a good time and get by the best you can. The way I see it, that's it - divine fate. 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 Whether we feast or fast, it's up to God. 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?
26 God may give wisdom and knowledge and joy to his favorites, but sinners are assigned a life of hard labor, and end up turning their wages over to God's favorites. Nothing but smoke - and spitting into 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.