Context3I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives. 4I enlarged my works: I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself; 5I made gardens and parks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees; 6I made ponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of growing trees. 7I bought male and female slaves and I had homeborn slaves. Also I possessed flocks and herds larger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. 8Also, I collected for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I provided for myself male and female singers and the pleasures of menmany concubines.
9Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me. 10All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. 11Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.
Wisdom Excels Folly
12So I turned to consider wisdom, madness and folly; for what will the man do who will come after the king except what has already been done? 13And I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. 14The wise mans eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I know that one fate befalls them both. 15Then I said to myself, As is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me. Why then have I been extremely wise? So I said to myself, This too is vanity. 16For there is no lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die! 17So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind.
The Futility of Labor
18Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity. 20Therefore I completely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun. 21When there is a man who has labored with wisdom, knowledge and skill, then he gives his legacy to one who has not labored with them. This too is vanity and a great evil. 22For what does a man get in all his labor and in his striving with which he labors under the sun? 23Because all his days his task is painful and grievous; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is vanity.
24There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God. 25For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him? 26For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may give to one who is good in Gods sight. This too is vanity and striving after wind.
Parallel VersesAmerican Standard Version
I searched in my heart how to cheer my flesh with wine, my heart yet guiding me with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what it was good for the sons of men that they should do under heaven all the days of their life.
I thought in my heart, to withdraw my flesh from wine, that I might turn my mind to wisdom, and might avoid folly, till I might see what was profitable for the children of men: and what they ought to do under the sun, all the days of their life.
Darby Bible Translation
I searched in my heart how to cherish my flesh with wine, while practising my heart with wisdom; and how to lay hold on folly, till I should see what was that good for the children of men which they should do under the heavens all the days of their life.
English Revised Version
I searched in mine heart how to cheer my flesh with wine, mine heart yet guiding me with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what it was good for the sons of men that they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.
Webster's Bible Translation
I sought in my heart, to give myself to wine, yet acquainting my heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.
World English Bible
I searched in my heart how to cheer my flesh with wine, my heart yet guiding me with wisdom, and how to lay hold of folly, until I might see what it was good for the sons of men that they should do under heaven all the days of their lives.
Young's Literal Translation
I have sought in my heart to draw out with wine my appetite, (and my heart leading in wisdom), and to take hold on folly till that I see where is this -- the good to the sons of man of that which they do under the heavens, the number of the days of their lives.
LibraryOf Spiritual Aridity
Of Spiritual Aridity Though God hath no other desire than to impart Himself to the loving soul that seeks Him, yet He frequently conceals Himself that the soul may be roused from sloth, and impelled to seek Him with fidelity and love. But with what abundant goodness doth He recompense the faithfulness of His beloved? And how sweetly are these apparent withdrawings of Himself succeeded by the consoling caresses of love? At these seasons we are apt to believe, either that it proves our fidelity, and …
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