Bible: Eccl 1:12-6:9
Futility of Secular Accomplishment
1:12 I, the Teacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 1
all that has been accomplished on earth. 5
Futility of Secular Wisdom
1:16 I thought to myself, 21
1:18 For with great wisdom comes 36 great frustration;
Futility of Self-Indulgent Pleasure
2:2 I said of partying, 48 “It is folly,”
Futility of Materialism
2:4 I increased my possessions: 65
I built houses for myself; 66
I planted vineyards for myself.
and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them.
2:6 I constructed pools of water for myself,
to irrigate my grove 70 of flourishing trees.
2:7 I purchased male and female slaves,
and I owned slaves who were born in my house; 71
I also possessed more livestock – both herds and flocks –
than any of my predecessors in Jerusalem. 72
2:8 I also amassed silver and gold for myself,
I acquired male singers and female singers for myself,
yet I maintained my objectivity: 79
2:10 I did not restrain myself from getting whatever I wanted; 80
I did not deny myself anything that would bring me pleasure. 81
So all my accomplishments gave me joy; 82
this was my reward for all my effort. 83
2:11 Yet when I reflected on everything I had accomplished 84
and on all the effort that I had expended to accomplish it, 85
like chasing the wind!
Wisdom is Better than Folly
For what more can the king’s successor do than what the king 96 has already done?
2:13 I realized that wisdom is preferable to folly, 97
just as light is preferable to darkness:
2:14 The wise man can see where he is going, 98 but the fool walks in darkness.
2:15 So I thought to myself, “The fate of the fool will happen even to me! 101
So I lamented to myself, 104
for all the benefits of wisdom 117 are futile – like chasing the wind.
Futility of Being a Workaholic
2:19 Who knows if he will be a wise man or a fool?
This also is futile!
2:21 For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge, and skill;
to someone else who did not work for it.
This also is futile, and an awful injustice! 139
Painful Days and Restless Nights
2:22 What does a man acquire from all his labor
and from the anxiety that accompanies his toil on earth? 140
and even at night his mind cannot relax! 143
This also is futile!
Enjoy Work and its Benefits
2:26 For to the one who pleases him, 155 God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy,
A Time for All Events in Life
a time to plant, and a time to uproot what was planted;
3:3 A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
3:5 A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
3:6 A time to search, and a time to give something up as lost; 169
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
3:7 A time to rip, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent, and a time to speak.
3:8 A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
Man is Ignorant of God’s Timing
3:10 I have observed the burden
that God has given to people 172 to keep them occupied.
3:11 God has made everything fit beautifully 173 in its appropriate time,
Enjoy Life in the Present
than 184 to be happy and to enjoy
themselves 185 as long as they live,
3:13 and also that everyone should eat and drink, and find enjoyment in all his toil,
for these things 186 are a gift from God.
3:14 I also know that whatever God does will endure forever;
nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken away from it.
God has made it this way, so that men will fear him.
3:15 Whatever exists now has already been, and whatever will be has already been;
The Problem of Injustice and Oppression
3:16 I saw something else on earth: 190
In the place of justice, there was wickedness,
and in the place of fairness, 191 there was wickedness.
3:17 I thought to myself, “God will judge both the righteous and the wicked;
for there is an appropriate time for every activity,
and there is a time of judgment 192 for every deed.
3:19 For the fate of humans 197 and the fate of animals are the same:
As one dies, so dies the other; both have the same breath.
There is no advantage for humans over animals,
for both are fleeting.
3:20 Both go to the same place,
both come from the dust,
and to dust both return.
3:21 Who really knows if the human spirit 198 ascends upward,
and the animal’s spirit descends into the earth?
because that is their 201 reward;
for who can show them what the future holds? 202
Evil Oppression on Earth
This is what I saw: 208
more fortunate than those who are still alive. 215
4:3 But better than both is the one who has not been born 216
and has not seen the evil things that are done on earth. 217
Labor Motivated by Envy
This also is profitless – like 223 chasing the wind.
4:5 The fool folds his hands and does no work, 224
so he has nothing to eat but his own flesh. 225
4:6 Better is one handful with some rest
than two hands full of toil 226 and chasing the wind.
Labor Motivated by Greed
4:8 A man who is all alone with no companion, 231
he has no children nor siblings; 232
yet there is no end to all his toil,
and he 233 is never satisfied with riches.
This also is futile and a burdensome task! 237
Labor is Beneficial When Its Rewards Are Shared
4:9 Two people are better than one,
4:10 For if they fall, one will help his companion up,
but pity 240 the person who falls down and has no one to help him up.
4:11 Furthermore, if two lie down together, they can keep each other warm,
but how can one person keep warm by himself?
4:12 Although an assailant may overpower 241 one person,
two can withstand him.
Moreover, a three-stranded cord is not quickly broken.
Labor Motivated by Prestige-Seeking
4:13 A poor but wise youth is better than an old and foolish king
who no longer knows how to receive advice.
4:14 For he came out of prison 242 to become king,
even though he had been born poor in what would become his 243 kingdom.
4:15 I considered all the living who walk on earth, 244
yet future generations 249 will not rejoice in him.
This also is profitless and like 250 chasing the wind.5:1
for they do not realize that they are doing wrong.
5:2 Do not be rash with your mouth or hasty in your heart to bring up a matter before God,
for God is in heaven and you are on earth!
Therefore, let your words be few.
5:3 Just as dreams come when there are many cares, 257
For God 263 takes no pleasure in fools:
Pay what you vow!
5:5 It is better for you not to vow
than to vow and not pay it. 264
5:6 Do not let your mouth cause you 265 to sin,
Why make God angry at you 268
so that he would destroy the work of your hands?”
5:7 Just as there is futility in many dreams,
so also in many words. 269
Therefore, fear God!
5:8 If you see the extortion 270 of the poor,
do not be astonished by the matter.
For the high official is watched by a higher official, 273
and there are higher ones over them! 274
5:9 The produce of the land is seized 275 by all of them,
This also is futile.
5:12 The sleep of the laborer is pleasant – whether he eats little or much –
but the wealth of the rich will not allow him to sleep.
Materialism Thwarts Enjoyment of Life
Wealth hoarded by its owner to his own misery.
5:14 Then that wealth was lost through bad luck; 290
although he fathered a son, he has nothing left to give him. 291
5:15 Just as he came forth from his mother's womb, naked will he return as he came,
and he will take nothing in his hand that he may carry away from his toil.
5:16 This is another misfortune: 292
Just as he came, so will he go.
What did he gain from toiling for the wind?
5:17 Surely, he ate in darkness every day of his life, 293
and he suffered greatly with sickness and anger.
Enjoy the Fruit of Your Labor
5:18 I have seen personally what is the only beneficial and appropriate course of action for people: 294
during the few days of their life which God has given them,
for this is their reward. 299
5:19 To every man whom God has given wealth, and possessions,
he has also given him the ability 300
to eat from them, to receive his reward and to find enjoyment in his toil;
these things 301 are the gift of God.
Not Everyone Enjoys Life
6:2 God gives a man riches, property, and wealth
This is fruitless and a grave misfortune. 319
6:3 Even if a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years –
even if he lives a long, long time, 320 but cannot enjoy his prosperity –
even if he were to live forever 321 –
though its name is shrouded in darkness, 327
yet it has more rest 330 than that man –
6:6 if he should live a thousand years twice, yet does not enjoy his prosperity.
For both of them die! 331
yet his appetite 334 is never satisfied!
6:8 So what advantage does a wise man have over a fool? 335
than for one’s heart always to crave more. 340