GOD'S WORD® Translation
1The words of the spokesman, the son of David and the king in Jerusalem.
2"Absolutely pointless!" says the spokesman. "Absolutely pointless! Everything is pointless."
3What do people gain from all their hard work under the sun?
4Generations come, and generations go, but the earth lasts forever.
5The sun rises, and the sun sets, and then it rushes back to the place where it will rise [again].
6The wind blows toward the south and shifts toward the north. Round and round it blows. It blows in a full circle.
7All streams flow into the sea, but the sea is never full. The water goes back to the place where the streams began in order to [start] flowing again.
8All of these sayings are worn-out phrases. They are more than anyone can express, comprehend, or understand.
9Whatever has happened before will happen [again]. Whatever has been done before will be done [again]. There is nothing new under the sun.
10Can you say that anything is new? It has already been here long before us.
11Nothing from the past is remembered. Even in the future, nothing will be remembered by those who come after us.
12I, the spokesman, have been king of Israel in Jerusalem. 13With all my heart I used wisdom to study and explore everything done under heaven. Mortals are weighed down with a terrible burden that God has placed on them. 14I have seen everything that is done under the sun. Look at it! It's all pointless. [It's like] trying to catch the wind. 15No one can straighten what is bent. No one can count what is not there.
16I thought to myself, "I have grown wiser than anyone who [has ruled] Jerusalem before me. I've had a lot of experience with wisdom and knowledge." 17I've used my mind to understand wisdom and knowledge as well as madness and stupidity. [Now] I know that this is [like] trying to catch the wind. 18With a lot of wisdom [comes] a lot of heartache. The greater [your] knowledge, the greater [your] pain.