NASB — Ecclesiastes 2 — KJV

The Futility of Pleasure and Possessions

1 I said Ito myself, “Come now, I will test you with apleasure. So IIenjoy yourself.” And behold, it too was futility. 2 aI said of laughter, “It is madness,” and of pleasure, “What does it accomplish?” 3 I explored with my Imind [how] to astimulate my body with wine while my Imind was guiding [me] wisely, and how to take hold of bfolly, until I could see cwhat good there is for the sons of men IIto do under heaven the few IIIyears of their lives. 4 I enlarged my works: I abuilt houses for myself, I planted bvineyards for myself; 5 I made agardens and bparks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees; 6 I made aponds of water for myself from which to irrigate a forest of growing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and I had Iahomeborn slaves. Also I possessed flocks and bherds larger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. 8 Also, I collected for myself silver and agold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I provided for myself bmale and female singers and the pleasures of men—many concubines.

[1] ILit in my heart IILit consider with goodness aEc 7:4; 8:15
[2] aPv 14:13; Ec 7:3, 6
[3] ILit heart IILit which they do IIILit days aJg 9:13; Ps 104:15; Ec 10:19 bEc 7:25 cEc 2:24; 3:12, 13; 5:18; 6:12; 8:15; 12:13
[4] a1K 7:1-12 bSo 8:11
[5] aSo 4:16; 5:1 bNe 2:8
[6] aNe 2:14; 3:15, 16
[7] ILit sons of the house aGn 14:14; 15:3 b1K 4:23
[8] a1K 9:28; 10:10, 14, 21 b2S 19:35

9 ¶ Then I became agreat and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me. 10 aAll that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my breward for all my labor. 11 Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had Iexerted, and behold all was IIavanity and striving after wind and there was bno profit under the sun.

[9] a1Ch 29:25; Ec 1:16
[10] aEc 6:2 bEc 3:22; 5:18; 9:9
[11] ILit labored to do IIOr futility, and so throughout the ch aEc 1:14; 2:22, 23 bEc 1:3; 3:9; 5:16

Wisdom Excels Folly

12 ¶ So I turned to aconsider wisdom, madness and folly; for what [will] the man [do] who will come after the king [except] bwhat has already been done? 13 And I saw that awisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. 14 The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the afool walks in darkness. And yet I know that bone fate befalls them both. 15 Then I said Ito myself, “aAs is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me. bWhy then have I been extremely wise?” So III said to myself, “This too is vanity.” 16 For there is ano Ilasting remembrance of the wise man [as] with the fool, inasmuch as [in] the coming days all will be forgotten. And bhow the wise man and the fool alike die! 17 So I ahated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was Igrievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind.

[12] aEc 1:17 bEc 1:9, 10; 3:15
[13] aEc 7:11, 12, 19; 9:18; 10:10
[14] a1 Jn 2:11 bPs 49:10; Ec 3:19; 6:6; 7:2; 9:2, 3
[15] ILit in my heart IILit I spoke in my heart aEc 2:16 bEc 6:8, 11
[16] ILit forever aEc 1:11; 9:5 bEc 2:14
[17] ILit evil aEc 4:2, 3

The Futility of Labor

18 ¶ Thus I hated aall the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must bleave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or aa fool? Yet he will have Icontrol over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is bvanity. 20 Therefore I Icompletely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun. 21 When there is a man who has labored with wisdom, knowledge and askill, then he bgives his Ilegacy to one who has not labored with them. This too is vanity and a great evil. 22 For what does a man get in aall his labor and in Ihis striving with which he labors under the sun? 23 Because all his days his task is painful and agrievous; even at night his Imind bdoes not rest. This too is vanity.

[18] aEc 1:3; 2:11 bPs 39:6; 49:10
[19] ILit dominion a1K 12:13 b1Ti 6:10
[20] ILit turned aside my heart to despair
[21] ILit share aEc 4:4 bEc 2:18
[22] ILit the striving of his heart aEc 1:3; 2:11
[23] ILit heart aJb 5:7; 14:1; Ec 1:18; 5:17 bPs 127:2

24 ¶ There is anothing better for a man [than] to eat and drink and Itell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is bfrom the hand of God. 25 For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without IHim? 26 For to a person who is good in His sight aHe has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may bgive to one who is good in God’s sight. This too is cvanity and striving after wind.

[24] ILit cause his soul to see good in his labor aEc 2:3; 3:12, 13, 22; 5:18; 6:12; 8:15; 9:7; Is 56:12; Lk 12:19; 1Co 15:32; 1Ti 6:17 bEc 3:13
[25] ISo Gr; Heb me
[26] aJb 32:8; Pv 2:6 bJb 27:16, 17; Pv 13:22 cEc 1:14


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The vanity of human courses in the works of pleasure.

1 ¶ I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also [is] vanity. 2 I said of laughter, [It is] mad: and of mirth, What doeth it? 3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what [was] that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life. 4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: 5 I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all [kind of] fruits: 6 I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: 7 I got [me] servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: 8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, [as] musical instruments, and that of all sorts. 9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. 10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour. 11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all [was] vanity and vexation of spirit, and [there was] no profit under the sun.

[1] Gn 11:3, 7; 2K 5:5; Ps 10:6; 14:1; 27:8; 30:6; Ec 1:16; 2:15; 3:17; 8:15; 11:9; Is 5:5; 50:5, 11; Lk 12:19; 16:19, 23; Tit 3:3; Jm 4:13; 5:1, 5; Rv 18:7.
[2] Pv 14:13; Ec 7:2; Is 22:12; Am 6:3; 1P 4:2.
[3] Gn 47:9; 1S 25:36; Jb 14:14; Ps 90:9; Pv 20:1; 23:29; 31:4; Ec 1:17; 6:12; 7:18; 12:13; Mt 6:24; 2Co 6:15; Ep 5:18.
[4] Gn 11:4; Dt 8:12; 2S 18:18; 1K 7:1, 8; 9:1; 10:19; 15:19; 1Ch 27:27; 2Ch 8:1, 11; 26:10; Ps 49:11; So 1:14; 7:12; 8:11; Is 5:1; Dn 4:30.
[5] Gn 2:8; So 4:12; 5:1; 6:2; Jr 39:4; Lk 17:27.
[6] Ne 2:14; Ps 1:3; So 7:4; Jr 17:8.
[7] Gn 13:2; 17:12; 1K 9:20; 2K 3:4; 1Ch 27:29; 2Ch 26:10; 32:27; Ezr 2:58; Ne 7:57; Jb 1:3; 42:12.
[8] 2S 19:35; 1K 9:14, 28; 10:10; 14:21, 27; 1Ch 25:1, 6; 2Ch 9:11, 15; Ezr 2:65; Jb 21:11; Ps 150:3; Dn 3:5, 7, 15; Am 6:5.
[9] 1K 3:12; 10:7, 23; 1Ch 29:25; 2Ch 1:1; 9:22; Ec 1:16.
[10] Gn 3:6; 6:2; Jg 14:2; Jb 31:1; Ps 119:37; 128:2; Pv 23:5; Ec 2:22; 3:22; 5:18; 6:9; 9:9; 11:9; 1Jn 2:16.
[11] Gn 1:31; Ex 39:43; Ec 1:3, 14; 2:17; Hab 2:13; 1Ti 6:6; 1Jn 2:16.

Though the wise be better than the fool, yet both have one event.

12 ¶ And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly: for what [can] the man [do] that cometh after the king? [even] that which hath been already done. 13 Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness. 14 The wise man's eyes [are] in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all. 15 Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also [is] vanity. 16 For [there is] no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now [is] in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise [man]? as the fool. 17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun [is] grievous unto me: for all [is] vanity and vexation of spirit.

[12] Ec 1:17; 2:25; 7:25.
[13] Ps 119:105, 130; Pv 4:5, 18; 16:16; Ec 7:11; 9:16; 11:7; Mal 3:18; 4:1; Mt 6:23; Lk 11:34; Ep 5:8.
[14] Ps 19:10; 49:10; Pv 14:8; 17:24; Ec 8:1; 9:1, 11, 16; 10:2; 1Jn 2:11.
[15] 1K 3:12; Ec 1:2, 14, 16, 18; 2:1.
[16] Ex 1:6, 8; 2S 3:33; Ps 49:10; 88:12; 103:16; Ec 1:11; 6:8; Mal 3:16; He 9:27.
[17] Nu 11:15; 1K 19:4; Jb 3:20; 7:15; 14:13; Ps 89:47; Ec 1:14; 2:11, 22; 3:16; 6:9; Jr 20:14; Ezk 3:14; Jna 4:3, 8; Hab 1:3; Php 1:23.

The vanity of human labour, in leaving it they know not to whom.

18 ¶ Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me. 19 And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise [man] or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This [is] also vanity. 20 Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun. 21 For there is a man whose labour [is] in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it [for] his portion. This also [is] vanity and a great evil. 22 For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? 23 For all his days [are] sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.

[18] 1K 11:11; Ps 17:14; 39:6; 49:10; Ec 1:13; 2:4, 26; 4:3; 5:13, 18; 9:9; Lk 12:20; 16:27; Ac 20:29; 1Co 3:10.
[19] 1K 12:14; 14:25; 2Ch 10:13; 12:9; Ec 3:22; 9:13; Lk 16:8; Jm 1:17; 3:17.
[20] Gn 43:14; Jb 17:11; Ps 39:6; 1Co 15:19; 2Co 1:8; 1Th 3:3.
[21] 2Ch 31:20; 33:2; 34:2; 35:18; 36:5; Ec 2:17; 9:18; Jr 22:15, 17.
[22] Ps 127:2; Pv 16:26; Ec 1:3; 3:9; 4:6, 8; 5:10, 17; 6:7; 8:15; Mt 6:11, 25, 34; 16:26; Lk 12:22, 29; Php 4:6; 1Ti 6:8; 1P 5:7.
[23] Gn 47:9; Es 6:1; Jb 5:7; 7:13; 14:1; Ps 6:6; 32:4; 77:2; 90:7, 15; 127:2; Ec 5:12; Dn 6:18; Ac 14:22.

Nothing better than joy in our labour; but that is God's gift.

24 ¶ [There is] nothing better for a man, [than] that he should eat and drink, and [that] he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it [was] from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat, or who else can hasten [hereunto], more than I? 26 For [God] giveth to a man that [is] good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to [him that is] good before God. This also [is] vanity and vexation of spirit.

[24] Dt 12:12, 18; Ne 8:10; Ec 3:12, 13, 22; 5:18, 19; 6:2; 8:15; 9:7; 11:9; Mal 2:2; Lk 12:19; Ac 14:17; 1Ti 6:17.
[25] 1K 4:21; Ec 2:1.
[26] Gn 7:1; 2Ch 31:20; Jb 27:16; Pv 3:13; 13:22; 28:8; Is 3:10; Lk 1:6; Jn 16:24; Ro 14:17; 1Co 1:30; Ga 5:22; Col 1:9; 3:16; Jm 3:17.


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