Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement

A Partnership between the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion,
Omar Ibn Al Khattab Foundation, & USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture

Ketuvim - Writings

Ecclesiastes

Chapter 2

1 I said in my heart: 'Come now, I will try thee with mirth, and enjoy pleasure'; and, behold, this also was vanity.
2 I said of laughter: 'It is mad'; and of mirth: 'What doth it accomplish?'
3 I searched in my heart how to pamper my flesh with wine, and, my heart conducting itself with wisdom, how yet to lay hold on folly, till I might see which it was best for the sons of men that they should do under the heaven the few days of their life.
4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards;
5 I made me gardens and parks, and I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruit;
6 I made me pools of water, to water therefrom the wood springing up with trees;
7 I acquired men-servants and maid-servants, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of herds and flocks, above all that were before me in Jerusalem;
8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and treasure such as kings and the provinces have as their own; I got me men-singers and women-singers, and the delights of the sons of men, women very many.
9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom stood me in stead.
10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them; I withheld not my heart from any joy, for my heart had joy of all my labour; and this was my portion from 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 a striving after wind, and there was no profit under the sun.
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, his eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness. And I also perceived that one event happeneth to them all.
15 Then said I in my heart: 'As it happeneth to the fool, so will it happen even to me; and why was I then more wise?' Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.
16 For of the wise man, even as of the fool, there is no remembrance for ever; seeing that in the days to come all will long ago have been forgotten. And how must the wise man die even as the fool!
17 So I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun was grievous unto me; for all is vanity and a striving after wind.
18 And I hated all my labour wherein I laboured under the sun, seeing that I must leave it unto the man that shall be after me.
19 And who knoweth whether he will be a wise man or a fool? yet will he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity.
20 Therefore I turned about to cause my heart to despair concerning all the labour wherein I had laboured under the sun.
21 For there is a man whose labour is with wisdom, and with knowledge, and with skill; 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 a man of all his labour, and of the striving of his heart, wherein he laboureth under the sun?
23 For all his days are pains, and his occupation vexation; yea, even in the night his heart taketh not rest. This also is vanity.
24 There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and make his soul enjoy pleasure for his labour. This also I saw, that it is from the hand of G-d.
25 For who will eat, or who will enjoy, if not I?
26 For to the man that is good in His sight He giveth wisdom, and knowledge, and joy; but to the sinner He giveth the task, to gather and to heap up, that he may leave to him that is good in the sight of G-d. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.
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