Bible: Ecclesiastes 1

Title

1:1 The words of the Teacher, 1  the son 2  of David, king 3  in Jerusalem: 4 

Introduction: Utter Futility

1:2Futile! Futile!” laments 5  the Teacher, 6 

“Absolutely futile! 7  Everything 8  is futile! 9 

Futility Illustrated from Nature

1:3 What benefit 10  do people 11  get from all the effort

which 12  they expend 13  on earth? 14 

1:4 A generation comes 15  and a generation goes, 16 

but the earth remains 17  the same 18  through the ages. 19 

1:5 The sun rises 20  and the sun sets; 21 

it hurries away 22  to a place from which it rises 23  again. 24 

1:6 The wind goes to the south and circles around to the north;

round and round 25  the wind goes and on its rounds it returns. 26 

1:7 All the streams flow 27  into the sea, but the sea is not full,

and to the place where the streams flow, there they will flow again. 28 

1:8 All this 29  monotony 30  is tiresome; no one can bear 31  to describe it: 32 

The eye is never satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear ever content 33  with hearing.

1:9 What exists now 34  is what will be, 35 

and what has been done is what will be done;

there is nothing truly new on earth. 36 

1:10 Is there anything about which someone can say, “Look at this! It is new!”? 37 

It was already 38  done long ago, 39  before our time. 40 

1:11 No one remembers the former events, 41 

nor will anyone remember 42  the events that are yet to happen; 43 

they will not be remembered by the future generations. 44 

Futility of Secular Accomplishment

1:12 I, the Teacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 45 

1:13 I decided 46  to carefully 47  and thoroughly examine 48 

all that has been accomplished on earth. 49 

I concluded: 50  God has given people 51  a burdensome task 52 

that keeps them 53  occupied. 54 

1:14 I reflected on everything that is accomplished by man 55  on earth, 56 

and I concluded: Everything 57  he has accomplished 58  is futile 59 like chasing the wind! 60 

1:15 What is bent 61  cannot be straightened, 62 

and what is missing 63  cannot be supplied. 64 

Futility of Secular Wisdom

1:16 I thought to myself, 65 

“I have become much wiser 66  than any of my predecessors who ruled 67  over Jerusalem; 68 

I 69  have acquired much wisdom and knowledge.” 70 

1:17 So I decided 71  to discern the benefit of 72  wisdom and knowledge over 73  foolish behavior and ideas; 74 

however, I concluded 75  that even 76  this endeavor 77  is like 78  trying to chase the wind! 79 

1:18 For with great wisdom comes 80  great frustration;

whoever increases his 81  knowledge merely 82  increases his 83  heartache.

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