Ecclesiastes 1:1-18

1  The words of the congregator,*+ the son of David, the king in Jerusalem.+   “The greatest futility!”* says the congregator,“The greatest futility! Everything is futile!”+   What does a person gain from all his hard workAt which he toils under the sun?+   A generation is going, and a generation is coming,But the earth remains* forever.+   The sun rises,* and the sun sets;Then it hurries back* to the place where it rises again.+   The wind goes south and circles around to the north;Round and round it continuously circles; the wind keeps making its rounds.   All the streams* flow into the sea, yet the sea is not full.+ To the place from which the streams flow, there they return so as to flow again.+   All things are wearisome;No one can even speak of it. The eye is not satisfied at seeing;Nor is the ear filled from hearing.   What has been is what will be,And what has been done will be done again;There is nothing new under the sun.+ 10  Is there anything of which one may say, “Look at this—it is new”? It already existed from long ago;It already existed before our time. 11  No one remembers people of former times;Nor will anyone remember those who come later;Nor will they be remembered by those who come still later.+ 12  I, the congregator, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem.+ 13  I set my heart to study and explore with wisdom+ everything that has been done under the heavens+—the miserable occupation that God has given to the sons of men that keeps them occupied. 14  I saw all the works that were done under the sun,And look! everything was futile, a chasing after the wind.+ 15  What is crooked cannot be made straight,And what is lacking cannot possibly be counted. 16  Then I said in my heart: “Look! I have acquired great wisdom, more than anyone who was before me in Jerusalem,+ and my heart gained a great deal of wisdom and knowledge.”+ 17  I applied my heart to knowing wisdom and to knowing madness* and to knowing folly,+ and this too is a chasing after the wind. 18  For an abundance of wisdom brings an abundance of frustration,So that whoever increases knowledge increases pain.+


Or “assembler; convener.”
Or “vanity.”
Lit., “is standing.”
Or “shines forth.”
Or “returns panting.”
Or “winter streams; seasonal streams.”
Or “extreme foolishness.”

Study Notes