Ecclesiastes 2:21

21 For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune.

Ecclesiastes 2:21 in Other Translations

KJV
21 For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.
ESV
21 because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.
NLT
21 Some people work wisely with knowledge and skill, then must leave the fruit of their efforts to someone who hasn’t worked for it. This, too, is meaningless, a great tragedy.
MSG
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.
CSB
21 For there is a man whose work was done with wisdom, knowledge, and skill, but he must give his portion to a man who has not worked for it. This too is futile and a great wrong.

Ecclesiastes 2:21 Meaning and Commentary

Ecclesiastes 2:21

For there is a man whose labour [is] in wisdom, and in
knowledge, and in equity
Who does all he does, in natural, civil, and religious things, in the state, in his family, and the world, and whatsoever business he is engaged, in the wisest and best manner, with the utmost honesty and integrity, according to all the rules of wisdom and knowledge, and of justice and equity; meaning himself; the Midrash interprets this of God; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it [for]
his portion;
to his son, heir, and successor; who never took any pains, or joined with him, in acquiring the least part of it; and yet all comes into his hands, as his possession and inheritance: the Targum interprets this of a man that dies without children; and so others F26 understand it of his leaving his substance to strangers, and not to his children. This also [is] vanity, and a great evil;
not anything sinful and criminal, but vexatious and distressing.


FOOTNOTES:

F26 R. Joseph Titatzak in loc.

Ecclesiastes 2:21 In-Context

19 And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless.
20 So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun.
21 For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune.
22 What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun?
23 All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.