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Jehovah’s Witnesses

English

Online Bible

NEW WORLD TRANSLATION OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES (2013 REVISION)

Ecclesiastes 1:1-18

OUTLINE OF CONTENTS

  • Everything is futile (1-11)

    • Earth remains forever (4)

    • Natural cycles continue (5-7)

    • Nothing new under the sun (9)

  • Human wisdom limited (12-18)

    • A chasing after the wind (14)

1  The words of the congregator,*+ the son of David, the king in Jerusalem.+   “The greatest futility!”* says the congregator, “The greatest futility! Everything is futile!”+   What does a person gain from all his hard work At which he toils under the sun?+   A generation is going, and a generation is coming, But the earth remains* forever.+   The sun rises,* and the sun sets; Then it hurries back* to the place where it rises again.+   The wind goes south and circles around to the north; Round and round it continuously circles; the wind keeps making its rounds.   All the streams* flow into the sea, yet the sea is not full.+ To the place from which the streams flow, there they return so as to flow again.+   All things are wearisome; No one can even speak of it. The eye is not satisfied at seeing; Nor is the ear filled from hearing.   What has been is what will be, And what has been done will be done again; There is nothing new under the sun.+ 10  Is there anything of which one may say, “Look at this—it is new”? It already existed from long ago; It already existed before our time. 11  No one remembers people of former times; Nor will anyone remember those who come later; Nor will they be remembered by those who come still later.+ 12  I, the congregator, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem.+ 13  I set my heart to study and explore with wisdom+ everything that has been done under the heavens+—the miserable occupation that God has given to the sons of men that keeps them occupied. 14  I saw all the works that were done under the sun, And look! everything was futile, a chasing after the wind.+ 15  What is crooked cannot be made straight, And what is lacking cannot possibly be counted. 16  Then I said in my heart: “Look! I have acquired great wisdom, more than anyone who was before me in Jerusalem,+ and my heart gained a great deal of wisdom and knowledge.”+ 17  I applied my heart to knowing wisdom and to knowing madness* and to knowing folly,+ and this too is a chasing after the wind. 18  For an abundance of wisdom brings an abundance of frustration, So that whoever increases knowledge increases pain.+

Footnotes

Or “assembler; convener.”
Or “vanity.”
Lit., “is standing.”
Or “shines forth.”
Or “returns panting.”
Or “winter streams; seasonal streams.”
Or “extreme foolishness.”