There is a tragedy that I have seen under the sun. It is a terrible one for mortals.
God gives one person riches, wealth, and honor so that he doesn't lack anything he wants. Yet, God doesn't give him the power to enjoy any of them. Instead, a stranger enjoys them. This is pointless and is a painful tragedy.
Suppose a rich person wasn't satisfied with good things [while he was alive] and didn't even get an honorable burial [after he died]. Suppose he had a hundred children and lived for many years. No matter how long he would have lived, it [still] would have been better for him to have been born dead.
A stillborn baby arrives in a pointless birth and goes out into the darkness. The darkness then hides its name.
Though it has never seen the sun or known anything, the baby finds more rest than the rich person.
Even if the rich person lives two thousand years without experiencing anything good--don't we all go to the same place?
Everything that people work so hard for goes into their mouths, but their appetite is never satisfied.
What advantage does a wise person have over a fool? What advantage does a poor person have in knowing how to face life?
It is better to look at what is in front of you than to go looking for what you want. Even this is pointless. [It's like] trying to catch the wind.
Whatever has happened [in the past] already has a name. Mortals are already known for what they are. Mortals cannot argue with the one who is stronger than they.
The more words there are, the more pointless they become. What advantage do mortals gain from this?
Who knows what may be good for mortals while they are alive, during the brief, pointless days they live? Mortals pass by like a shadow. Who will tell them about their future under the sun?