Ecclesiastes 1:1-18

1 * The words of Koheleth the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 2 * Perfect nonsense, says Koheleth—perfect nonsense—everything is nonsense. 3  How much is man better off by all the trouble he takes under the sun? 4  A generation goes and a generation comes, and the earth stands forever. 5 * And the sun rises and the sun sets and bustles to its place where it rises. 6  The wind goes off to the south and round to the north, goes clear round, and the wind goes to going round again. 7  All the rivers go to the sea and the sea is not full; to the place the rivers go to they go over again. 8  All things work hard; a man cannot tell it out; an eye does not do all the seeing it will nor an ear get full with, hearing. 9  What was, that will be; and what has been done, that will be done; and there is not anything new under the sun. 10  Is there a thing of which one says “See this, it is new”—it has already been in the ages that there were before ours. 11  There is no remembrance of the past; and also of the future that is to be there will be no remembrance among those who shall be subsequently. 12  I Koheleth was king over Israel in Jerusalem, 13 * and gave my mind to examining and exploring scientifically as to everything that is done under the skies—that is a bad employment God has given to mankind to employ themselves at. 14  I saw all the doings that go on under the sun, and found it was all nonsense and chasing after wind: 15  a crooked thing cannot be set straight and a deficit cannot be counted in. 16  I talked with myself, saying “Here I have greatened wisdom and added to it above all that there had been before me over Jerusalem, and my heart has seen a great deal of wisdom and knowledge, 17  and I have applied my heart to knowledge of wisdom and knowledge of craziness and foolery; I have learned that this too is a pursuit of wind, 18  because in much wisdom there is much vexation and one who adds to knowledge adds to pain.”


1:1 The Hebrew word Koheleth, used in this book as the name of the author, is a word meaning something like lecturer or class-leader; the Greek word Ecclesiastes has the same meaning.
1:2 Or Thinnest of thin air, says Koheleth—thinnest of thin air—everything is thin air Or Sheerest illusion, says Koheleth—sheerest illusion—everything is illusion Similarly in many other places throughout the book
1:5 Or plods to its place Lit. pants to its place
1:13 Var. under the sun