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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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Ecclesiastes 2:1-26

2**  I said to myself “Come on, I will try you with merrymaking; have a good time!” and found that too was nonsense. 2  I said of laughter “crazy” and of merrymaking “What does this accomplish?” 3**  I thought up the idea of drawing my flesh on with wine while my mind kept the course with wisdom, taking a grip on foolery till I should see which thing is good for mankind to do under the skies such time as they live. 4  I made my works great: I built myself houses, planted myself vineyards, 5  made myself gardens and parks and planted all sorts of fruit trees in them, 6  made myself reservoirs of water to water groves and shrubberies out of, 7  bought slaves and raised slaves, also had more livestock, cattle and sheep and goats, than anybody that had been before me in Jerusalem, 8*  amassed myself silver and gold too and the rarities of kings and provinces, got myself singers of both sexes and mankind’s voluptuous delights, many a lady. 9  And I grew great and surpassed anybody that had been before me in Jerusalem; my wisdom too stood by me. 10*  And nothing that my eyes asked for did I cut off from them; I did not check my heart from any enjoyments, but my heart got enjoyment out of all my trouble, and this was the portion I had from all my trouble. 11  And I faced all my works that my hands had made and all the trouble that I had taken in the making, and found it was all nonsense and chasing after wind, and nobody was better off under the sun. 12**  And I faced round to see wisdom and craziness and foolery—because what is the man who comes after the king to do? what has been done already— 13  and I saw that wisdom has as much advantage over foolery as light has over darkness; 14  the wise man has his eyes in his head, and the fool walks in the dark. But I had also learned that one fate befalls them all. 15  And I thought to myself “A fate like the fool’s will befall me also, and then what was I wiser for?” and I said to myself that this too was nonsense, 16  for the wise man with the fool has no remembrance forever, inasmuch as in the coming days everything will already have been forgotten; and how the wise man has to die with the fool! 17  and I hated life, because I felt the work that is done under the sun to be a bad thing because everything is nonsense and chasing after wind. 18  And I hated everything I had taken so much trouble about under the sun, seeing I was to leave it to the man who should be after me— 19  and who knows whether he will be wise or foolish? but he will control everything I have taken so much trouble about and been so wise about under the sun—this is nonsense too; 20  and I swung round to lose interest in everything I had taken so much trouble about under the sun. 21  For there is a man whose trouble is taken with wisdom and knowledge and judgment, and he is to give it over to be the portion of a man that took no trouble about it—this too is nonsense, and a very bad thing. 22  For what does a man have by all his trouble and his purposes that he takes trouble for under the sun, 23*  that all his life he is taken up with pain and vexation, his heart does not even lie quiet at night? this too is nonsense. 24  There is nothing better among men than that one should eat and drink and let himself see good by his trouble. This too I have seen to be from God’s hand; 25  for who should eat or find flavor in anything without him? 26  For to the man who is good from his point of view he gives wisdom and knowledge and gladness, but to the sinner he gives a task of collecting and amassing to give to one who is good from God’s point of view—this too is nonsense and chasing after wind.

Footnotes

2:1 Lit. said in my heart
2:1 Lit. look at good!
2:3 Lit. hunted out in my heart to draw
2:3 Var. under the sun
2:8 Lit. a lady and ladies (the translation lady is uncertain)
2:10 Lit. put aside from them
2:12 Or are the men who come
2:12 Lit. what the man who is (or men who are) to come after the king? what they have already done
2:23 Lit. his occupation is pain and