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Ecclesiastes 1

All Is Vanity

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,
“Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”

What advantage does man have in all his labor
In which he labors under the sun?
A generation goes and a generation comes,
But the earth stands forever.
Also, the sun rises and the sun sets;
And hastening to its place it rises there again.
Going toward the south,
Then circling toward the north,
The wind goes circling along;
And on its circular courses the wind returns.
All the rivers go into the sea,
Yet the sea is not full.
To the place where the rivers go,
There they continually go.
All things are wearisome;
Man is not able to speak of it.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
Nor is the ear filled with hearing.
That which has been is that which will be,
And that which has been done is that which will be done.
So there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which one might say,
“See this, it is new”?
Already it has been for ages
Which were before us.
There is no remembrance of earlier things;
And also of the later things which will be,
There will be for them no remembrance
Among those who will come later still.

The Vanity of Wisdom

12 I, the Preacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem.
13 And I gave my heart to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is a grievous endeavor which God has given to the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. 14 I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind. 15 What is bent cannot be straightened, and what is lacking cannot be counted. 16 I spoke within my heart, saying, “Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my heart has seen an abundance of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and simpleminded folly; I came to know that this also is striving after wind. 18 Because in much wisdom there is much vexation, and whoever increases knowledge increases pain.