Ecclesiastes 2:2

2 “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?”

Ecclesiastes 2:2 in Other Translations

KJV
2 I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?
ESV
2 I said of laughter, "It is mad," and of pleasure, "What use is it?"
NLT
2 So I said, “Laughter is silly. What good does it do to seek pleasure?”
MSG
2 What do I think of the fun-filled life? Insane! Inane! My verdict on the pursuit of happiness? Who needs it?
CSB
2 I said about laughter, "It is madness," and about pleasure, "What does this accomplish?"

Ecclesiastes 2:2 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 2:2

I said of laughter, [it is] mad
The risible faculty in man is given him for some usefulness; and when used in a moderate way, and kept within due bounds, is of service to him, and conduces to the health of his body, and the pleasure of his mind; but when used on every trivial occasion, and at every foolish thing that is said or done, and indulged to excess, it is mere madness, and makes a man look more like a madman and a fool than a wise man; it lasts but for a while, and the end of it is heaviness, ( Ecclesiastes 7:6 ) ( Proverbs 14:13 ) . Or, "I said to laughter, [thou art] mad" F24; and therefore will have nothing to do with thee in the excessive and criminal way, but shun thee, as one would do a mad man: this therefore is not to be reckoned into the pleasure he bid his soul go to and enjoy; and of mirth, what doth it?
what good does do? of what profit and advantage is it to man? If the question is concerning innocent mirth, the answer may be given out of ( Proverbs 15:13 ) ( 17:22 ) ; but if of carnal sinful mirth, there is no good arises from that to the body or mind; or any kind of happiness to be enjoyed that way, and therefore no trial is to be made of it. What the wise man proposed to make trial of, and did, follows in the next verses.


FOOTNOTES:

F24 (llwhm ytrma qwxvl) "risui dixi, insanis", Mercerus, Drusius, Amama; "vel insanus es", Piscator, Schmidt, Rambachius.

Ecclesiastes 2:2 In-Context

1 I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless.
2 “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?”
3 I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.
4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards.
5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them.

Cross References 1

  • 1. S Proverbs 14:13; Ecclesiastes 7:6