Ecclesiastes 1:14
Parallel Verses
New International Version
I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

New Living Translation
I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless--like chasing the wind.

English Standard Version
I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.

New American Standard Bible
I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind.

King James Bible
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I have seen all the things that are done under the sun and have found everything to be futile, a pursuit of the wind.

International Standard Version
I observed every activity done on earth. My conclusion: all of it is pointless—like chasing after the wind.

NET Bible
I reflected on everything that is accomplished by man on earth, and I concluded: Everything he has accomplished is futile--like chasing the wind!

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I have seen everything that is done under the sun. Look at it! It's all pointless. [It's like] trying to catch the wind.

Jubilee Bible 2000
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

King James 2000 Bible
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and like grasping the wind.

American King James Version
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

American Standard Version
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold all is vanity, and vexation of spirit.

Darby Bible Translation
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and pursuit of the wind.

English Revised Version
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.

Webster's Bible Translation
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

World English Bible
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and behold, all is vanity and a chasing after wind.

Young's Literal Translation
I have seen all the works that have been done under the sun, and lo, the whole is vanity and vexation of spirit!
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

1:12-18 Solomon tried all things, and found them vanity. He found his searches after knowledge weariness, not only to the flesh, but to the mind. The more he saw of the works done under the sun, the more he saw their vanity; and the sight often vexed his spirit. He could neither gain that satisfaction to himself, nor do that good to others, which he expected. Even the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom discovered man's wickedness and misery; so that the more he knew, the more he saw cause to lament and mourn. Let us learn to hate and fear sin, the cause of all this vanity and misery; to value Christ; to seek rest in the knowledge, love, and service of the Saviour.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 14. - Here is the result of this examination of human actions. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun. In his varied experience nothing had escaped his notice. And behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit; reuth ruach; afflictio spiritus (Vulgate); προαίρεσις πνεύματος, "choice of spirit," or, "wind" (Septuagint); νομὴ ἀνέμου (Aquila and Theodotion); βοσκήσις ἀνέμου, "feeding on wind" (Symmachus). This last translation, or "striving after wind," seems to be most agreeable to the etymology of the word רְעוּת, which, except in this book (Ecclesiastes 2:11, 17, 26, etc.), occurs elsewhere only in the Chaldee portion of Ezra (Ezra 5:17; Ezra 7:18). Whichever sense is taken, the import is much the same. What is implied is the unsubstantial and unsatisfying nature of human labors and endeavors. Many compare Hosea 12:2, "Ephraim feedeth on wind," and Isaiah 44:20, "He feedeth on ashes." In contrast, perhaps, to this constantly recurring complaint, the author of the Book of Wisdom teaches that murmuring is unprofitable and blasphemous (Wisd. 1:11). Bailey, in 'Festus,' sings -

"Of all life's aims, what's worth the thought we waste on't?
How mean, how miserable, seems every care!
How doubtful, too, the system of the mind!
And then the ceaseless, changeless, hopeless round
Of weariness, and heartlessness, and woe,
And vice, and vanity! Yet these make life -
The life, at least, I witness, if not feel
No matter, we are immortal."


Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

I have seen all the works that are done under the sun,.... All things done by the Lord, that were on the earth, and in it, and in the sea; he considered them, and endeavoured to search into the nature of them; and did attain to a very great knowledge of them, so that he could speak of them to the instruction of others; see 1 Kings 4:33; and all that were done by men, by their head, or by their hands; all that were written or wrought by them; all their philosophical works and experiments, and all their mechanic operations; as well as all their good and bad works, in a moral sense; so the Targum,

"I saw all the deeds of the children of men, which are done under the sun in this world;''

and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit; not only the things known, but the knowledge of them; it is mere vanity, there is nothing solid and substantial in it, or that can make a man happy; yea, on the contrary, it is vexatious and distressing; it is not only a weariness to the flesh to obtain it, but, in the reflection of it, gives pain and uneasiness to the mind: it is a "breaking of the spirit" (n) of the man, as the Targum, Jarchi, and Alshech, interpret the phrase; it wastes and consumes his spirit, as well as his time, and all to no purpose; it is, as some ancient Greek versions and others render it, and not amiss, a "feeding on wind" (o); what is useless and unprofitable, and like labouring for that; see Hosea 12:1, Ecclesiastes 5:16; and so Aben Ezra.

(n) "affiictio spiritus", V. L. Junius & Tremellius; "contritio spiritus", so some in Vatablus. (o) , Aquila; "pastio venti", Mercerus, Piscator, Gejerus, Amama.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

14. The reason is here given why investigation into man's "works" is only "sore travail" (Ec 1:13); namely, because all man's ways are vain (Ec 1:18) and cannot be mended (Ec 1:15).

vexation of—"a preying upon"

the Spirit—Maurer translates; "the pursuit of wind," as in Ec 5:16; Ho 12:1, "Ephraim feedeth on wind." But old versions support the English Version.

Ecclesiastes 1:14 Additional Commentaries
Context
With Wisdom Comes Sorrow
13And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with. 14I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind. 15What is crooked cannot be straightened and what is lacking cannot be counted.…
Cross References
Ecclesiastes 1:17
Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.

Ecclesiastes 2:11
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 2:17
So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Ecclesiastes 2:26
To the person 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.

Ecclesiastes 4:4
And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person's envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Ecclesiastes 4:16
There was no end to all the people who were before them. But those who came later were not pleased with the successor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Ecclesiastes 6:9
Better what the eye sees than the roving of the appetite. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Ecclesiastes 8:16
When I applied my mind to know wisdom and to observe the labor that is done on earth--people getting no sleep day or night--
Treasury of Scripture

I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

Ecclesiastes 1:17,18 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: …

Ecclesiastes 2:11,17,26 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had worked, and on the …

1 Kings 4:30-32 And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the …

Psalm 39:5,6 Behold, you have made my days as an handbreadth; and my age is as …

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