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Ecclesiastes: The Preacher [Solomon]


Ecclesiastes: The Preacher

Chapter 1

1 The words of the Preacher [Solomon], the son of David, King in Yerusalem:

2 Vanity of vanities! Says the Preacher: Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!

3 What profit has man of all his labor in which he labors under the sun?

4 One generation goes, and another generation comes, but the earth abides forever.

5 The sun also arises, and the sun goes down, and hurries to its place where it arises!

6 The wind goes toward the south, and turns about to the north! It turns about continually in its course, and the wind returns again to its circuits.

7 All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full! Unto the place where the rivers go, there they go again!

8 All things are full of weariness, man cannot utter it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.

9 What has been, is what will be! What has been done, is what will be done! There is no new thing under the sun.

10 Is there a thing of which it may be said: See, is this new? It has been long ago, in the ages which were before us.

11 There is no remembrance of the former generations. Neither will there be any remembrance of the latter generations that are to come, among those who come after.

12 I the Preacher was King over Yisrayah [Israel] in Yerusalem [Jerusalem].

13 I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven. It is a sore travail Yahwah gave to the sons of men to be exercised with.

14 I see all the works that are done under the sun. Behold, all is vanity, and grasping for the wind! [vanity and vexation of spirit!]

15 What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is wanting cannot be numbered. [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

16 I communed with my own heart, saying: Lo, I got me great wisdom above all who were before me in Yerusalem. Yea, my heart has great experience of wisdom, and knowledge.

17 I applied my heart to know wisdom, to know madness, and folly. I perceived this also is grasping for the wind.

18 For in much wisdom is much grief. He who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

Chapter 2

1 I said in my heart: Come now, I will prove you with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure. Behold, this also was vanity.

2 I said of laughter: It is mad! And of mirth: What does it?

3 I searched in my heart how to cheer my flesh with wine (my heart yet guiding me with wisdom), and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men that they should do under heaven all the days of their life.

4 I made great works. I built houses. I planted vineyards.

5 I made gardens and parks. I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruit.

6 I made me pools of water, to water the forest where trees were reared.

7 I bought men-servants and maid-servants, and had servants born in my house. I had great possessions of herds and flocks, above all who were before me in Yerusalem.

8 I gathered also silver and gold, the treasure of kings, and of the provinces. I got men-singers and women-singers, the delights of the sons of men, musical instruments, and that of all sorts.

9 So I was great, and increased more than all who were before me in Yerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me.

10 Whatsoever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any joy, for my heart rejoiced because of all my labor, and this was my portion from all my labor.

11 Then I looked on all the works my hands wrought, and on the labor I had labored to do. Behold, all was vanity, and grasping for the wind! There was no profit under the sun.

12 I turned myself to behold wisdom, madness, and folly. For what can the man do who comes after the king? Even what was done long ago.

13 Then I saw that wisdom excells folly, as far as light excells darkness.

14 The wise man's eyes are in his head, and the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that one event happens to them all [death].

15 Then I said in my heart: As it happens to the fool, so it will happen even to me. Why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart: This also is vanity.

16 For of the wise man, even as of the fool, there is no remembrance forever, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How does the wise man die even as the fool!

17 So I hated life, because the work that is wrought under the sun was grievous to me. For all is vanity, and a striving after wind!

18 I hated all my labor in which I labored under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will be after me.

19 Who knows whether he will be a wise man, or a fool? Yet he will have rule over all my labor in which I labored, and in which I showed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity!

20 Therefore I turned about to cause my heart to despair concerning all the labor in which I labored under the sun.

21 For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, with knowledge, and with skilfulness. Yet to a man who did not labor there, he will leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil!

22 For what has a man of all his labor, and of the striving of his heart, in which he labors under the sun?

23 All his days are but sorrows, and his travail is grief. Yea, even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity!

24 There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat, drink, and make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw, that it is from the hand of Yahwah.

25 Who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, more than I?

26 To the man who pleases Him Yahwah gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy. But to the sinner He gives travail, to gather and to heap up, that He may give to him who pleases Yahwah. This also is vanity, and a striving after wind!

Chapter 3

1 For every thing there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:

2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

9 What profit has he who works in that in which he labors?

10 I saw the travail Yahwah gives to the sons of men to be tested by.

11 He made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He set eternity in their heart, yet so that man cannot find out the work Yahwah does from the beginning even to the end.

12 I know there is nothing better for them than to rejoice, and to do good so long as they live.

13 Also that every man should eat, drink, and enjoy good in all his labor, is the gift of Yahwah.

14 I know whatsoever Yahwah does, it is forever. Nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it. Yahwah does it, that men should fear before Him.

15 What is, was long ago. What is to be, was long ago. Yahwah seeks again what is passed away.

16 Moreover I saw under the sun, in the place of justice, that wickedness was there. In the place of righteousness, that wickedness was there.

17 I said in my heart: Yahwah will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time there for every purpose, and for every work.

18 I said in my heart: It is because of the sons of men, that Yahwah may test them. That they may see they themselves are but as beasts!

19 For what befalls the sons of men befalls beasts, even one thing befalls them. As the one dies, so the other dies. Yea, they have all one breath, man has no preeminence above the beasts. For all is vanity.

20 All go to one place. All are of the dust, and all turn to dust again!

21 Who knows the spirit of man, whether it goes upward, and the spirit of the beast, whether it goes downward to the earth?

22 I saw there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his works, for that is his portion. For who will bring him back to see what will be after him?

Chapter 4

1 Then I returned, and saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. Behold, the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter. On the side of their oppressors there was power, but they had no comforter.

2 So I praised the dead who are long dead more than the living who are yet alive!

3 Yea, better than them both did I esteem him who has not yet been, who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.

4 Then I saw all labor and every skilful work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbor. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.

5 The fool folds his hands together, and eats his own flesh.

6 Better is a handful, with quietness, than two handfuls with labor and grasping for the wind.

7 Then I returned, and saw vanity under the sun.

8 There is one that is alone, and he has not a second. Yea, he has neither son nor brother. There is no end of all his labor, nor are his eyes satisfied with riches. He says: For who then do I labor, and deprive my soul of good? This also is vanity, yea, it is a sore travail.

9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.

10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, and does not have another to lift him up.

11 Again, if two lie together, then they have warmth. But how can one be warm alone?

12 If a man prevail against him who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.

13 Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king, who does not know how to receive admonition anymore.

14 For out of prison he came forth to be king. Yea, even in his kingdom he was born poor.

15 I saw all the living who walk under the sun, that they were with the youth, the second, that stood up instead of him.

16 There was no end of all the people, even of all them over whom he was. Yet those who come after will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity, and a striving after wind!

Chapter 5

1 Keep your foot when you go to the house of Yahwah. To draw near to hear is better than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know they do evil.

2 Do not be rash with your mouth, and do not let your heart be hasty to utter anything before Yahwah. Yahwah is in heaven, and you upon earth. Therefore let your words be few.

3 For a dream comes with a multitude of business, and a fool's voice with a multitude of words.

4 When you vow a vow to Yahwah, do not delay to pay it. He has no pleasure in fools, pay what you vow.

5 Better it is that you should not vow, than that you should vow and not pay.

6 Do not allow your mouth to cause your flesh to sin. Do not say before the malak: It was an error. Why should Yahwah be angry at your voice, and destroy the work of your hands?

7 There are vanities in the multitude of dreams, and in many words. Fear Yahwah!

8 If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent taking away of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter. For one higher than the high regards, and there are higher than they.

9 Moreover the profit of the earth is for all, the king himself is served by the field.

10 He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver, nor he who loves abundance with increase. This also is vanity.

11 When goods increase, those who eat them are increased. What advantage is there to the owner of it, save the beholding of them with his eyes?

12 The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much. But the fulness of the rich will not allow him to sleep.

13 There is a grievous evil which I saw under the sun, namely, riches kept by the owner of it to his hurt.

14 Those riches perish by evil adventure. If he begot a son, there is nothing in his hand.

15 As he came forth from his mother's womb, naked he goes again as he came! He takes nothing for his labor, which he may carry away in his hand.

16 This also is a grievous evil: That in all points as he came, so he goes! What profit has he, he who labors for the wind?

17 All his days he eats in darkness, he is sore vexed, and has sickness and wrath.

18 Behold, what I see to be good and to be comely, is for one to eat, and to drink. To enjoy good in all his labor, in which he labors under the sun, all the days of his life Yahwah gives him. For this is his portion.

19 Every man also to whom Yahwah gives riches and wealth, and gives him power to eat of it, to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labor, this is the gift of Yahwah.

20 He will not much remember the days of his life, because Yahwah answers him in the joy of his heart.

Chapter 6

1 There is an evil I see under the sun, and it is heavy upon men.

2 A man to whom Yahwah gives riches, wealth, and honor (so that he lacks nothing for his soul of all he desires), yet Yahwah does not give him power to eat of it. An alien eats it. This is vanity, and it is an evil disease.

3 If a man beget a hundred children, and live many years (so the days of his years are many, but his soul is not filled with good), and moreover he has no burial, I say: An untimely birth is better than he.

4 It comes in vanity, departs in darkness, and the name of it is covered with darkness.

5 Moreover it has not seen the sun nor known it. This has rest rather than the other.

6 Yea, though he twice live a thousand years told, and yet enjoy no good, do not all go to one place?

7 All the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled!

8 What advantage has the wise more than the fool? Or what has the poor man, who knows how to walk before the living?

9 Better is the sight of the eyes, than the wandering of the desire. This also is vanity, and a grasping for the wind.

10 Whatever has been, the name of it was given long ago. It is known what man is, he cannot contend with Him who is mightier than he.

11 Seeing there are many things that increase vanity, what is man the better?

12 Who knows what is good for man in his life, all the days of his vain life which he spends as a shadow? Who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun?

Chapter 7

1 A good name is better than precious oil. The day of death, than the day of one's birth.

2 It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men, and the living will lay it to his heart.

3 Sorrow is better than laughter, for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made glad.

4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.

6 As the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool. This also is vanity.

7 Surely extortion makes the wise man foolish, and a bribe destroys the understanding.

8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning of it. The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

9 Do not be hasty in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.

10 Do not say: What is the reason the former days were better than these? For you do not inquire wisely concerning this.

11 Wisdom is as good as an inheritance, yea, more excellent it is for those who see the sun.

12 Wisdom is a defence, even as money is a defence. But the excellency of knowledge is: Wisdom preserves the life of him who has her.

13 Consider the work of Yahwah. Who can make straight, what He makes crooked??

14 In the day of prosperity, be joyful. In the day of adversity, consider. Yea, Yahwah made the one side by side with the other, to the end that man should not find out anything that will be after him.

15 All this I saw in my days of vanity. There is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his evil-doing.

16 Do not be overly righteous, nor make yourself overwise. Why should you destroy yourself?

17 Do not be overly wicked, nor be foolish. Why should you die before your time?

18 It is good that you should take hold of this (yea, also from that do not withdraw your hand): he who fears Yahwah will come forth from them all.

19 Wisdom is a strength to the wise man more than ten rulers that are in a city.

20 Surely there is not a righteous man upon earth, that does good, and does not sin.

21 Also do not heed to all words that are spoken, else you hear your servant curse you.

22 For oftentimes also your own heart knows you yourself likewise have cursed others.

23 All this I proved in wisdom. I said: I am wise. But it was far from me.

24 What is, is far off, and exceeding deep. Who can find it out?

25 I turned about, my heart was set to know, to search out, to seek wisdom and the reason of things, to know that wickedness is folly, and foolishness is madness.

26 I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are bands. Whoever pleases Yahwah escapes from her, but the sinner is taken by her.

27 Behold, this I found, says the Preacher, Laying one thing to another, to find out the account

28 (which my soul still seeks, but I have not found), one [good] man among a thousand I found, but a [good] woman among all those I did not find.

29 Behold, this only I found, Yahwah made man upright, but they sought out many inventions.

Chapter 8

1 Who is as the wise man? Who knows the interpretation of a thing? A man's wisdom makes his face to shine, and the hardness of his face is changed.

2 I counsel you, Keep the king's command, and that in regard of the oath of Yahwah.

3 Do not be hasty to go out of his presence. Do not persist in an evil thing, for he does whatsoever pleases him.

4 The king's word has power, and who may say to him: What do you do?

5 Whoever keeps the commandments knows no evil thing, and a wise man's heart discerns time and judgment.

6 To every purpose there is a time and judgment, because the misery of man is great upon him.

7 He does not know what will be, for who can tell him how it will be?

8 There is no man who has power over the spirit to retain the spirit. Nor has he power over the day of death. There is no discharge in war. Nor will wickedness deliver him who is given to it.

9 All this I saw, and applied my heart to every work that is done under the sun. There is a time in which one man has power over another to his hurt.

10 So I saw the wicked buried, and they came to the grave. Those who did right went away from the holy place, and were forgotten in the city. This also is vanity.

11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore, the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

12 Though a sinner do evil a hundred times, and prolong his days, yet surely I know it will be well with those who fear Yahwah, who fear before Him.

13 But it will not be well with the wicked, nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow because he does not fear before Yahwah.

14 There is a vanity which is done upon the earth, that there are righteous men to whom it happens according to the work of the wicked. Again, there are wicked men to whom it happens according to the work of the righteous. I said this is vanity also.

15 Then I commended mirth, because a man has no better thing under the sun, than to eat, to drink, and to be joyful! For that will abide with him in his labor all the days of his life Yahwah gives him under the sun.

16 I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth (for also there is one who never sees sleep day nor night with his eyes).

17 I beheld all the work of Yahwah, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. Because however much a man labor to seek it out, yet he will not find it. Yea, moreover, though a wise man think to know it, yet he will not be able to find it.

Chapter 9

1 All this I laid to my heart. Even to explore all this, that the righteous, the wise, and their works, are in the hand of Yahwah! Whether it is love or hatred, man does not know it. All is before them.

2 All things come alike to all. There is one event to the righteous and to the wicked; to the good; to the clean and to the unclean; to him that sacrifices and to him who does not sacrifice; as is the good, so is the sinner; and he who swears, as he who fears an oath.

3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one event to all. Yea, also, the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

4 To him who is joined with all the living there is hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

5 The living know they will die, but the dead do not know anything, nor have they a reward any more. The memory of them is forgotten.

6 As well their love, their hatred, and their envy, perished long ago. Nor have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.

7 Go your way, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for Yahwah already accepted your works.

8 Let your garments always be white, and do not let your head lack oil.

9 Live joyfully with the wife you love all the days of your life of vanity, which He gives you under the sun, all your days of vanity. For that is your portion in life, and in your labor in which you labor under the sun.

10 Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might. For there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, where you go.

11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all.

12 For man does not know his time. As the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare: even so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly upon them.

13 I also saw wisdom under the sun in this way, and it seemed great to me:

14 There was a little city, and few men within it. There came a great king against it, besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it.

15 Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no man remembered that same poor man!

16 Then I said: Wisdom is better than strength. Nevertheless, the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.

17 The words of the wise heard in quiet, are better than the cry of him who rules among fools.

18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.

Chapter 10

1 Dead flies cause the oil of the perfumer to send forth an evil odor, so does a little folly outweigh wisdom and honor.

2 A wise man's heart is at his right hand, but a fool's heart at his left.

3 Yea also, when the fool walks by the way, his understanding fails him, and he says to everyone that he is a fool.

4 If the spirit of the ruler rise up against you, do not leave your place, for gentleness allays great offences.

5 There is an evil I saw under the sun, as it were an error which proceeds from the ruler:

6 Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in a low place.

7 I saw servants upon horses, and princes walking like servants upon the earth.

8 He that digs a pit falls into it. Whoever breaks through a wall, a serpent bites him.

9 Whoever hews out stones are hurt with them, and he who cleaves wood is endangered that way.

10 If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength. Wisdom is profitable to direct.

11 If the serpent bites before it is charmed, then there is no advantage in the charmer.

12 The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious, but the lips of a fool will swallow himself up.

13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness, and the end of his talk is mischievous madness.

14 A fool multiplies words, yet man does not know what will be. Who can tell him what will be after him?

15 The labor of fools wearies every one of them, for he does not know how to go to the city.

16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes eat in the morning!

17 Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, and your princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!

18 By slothfulness the roof sinks in, and through idleness of the hands the house leaks.

19 A feast is made for laughter, wine makes the life glad, and money answers all things.

20 Do not revile the king, no, not in your thought; and do not revile the rich in your bedchamber: for a bird of the heavens will carry your voice, and what has wings will tell the matter.

Chapter 11

1 Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.

2 Give a portion to seven, yea, even to eight, for you do not know what evil is upon the earth.

3 If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth. If a tree falls toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it will be!

4 He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

5 As you do not know what is the way of the wind, nor how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, even so you do not know the work of Yahwah who does all.

6 In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, whether this or that, or whether they will both be good.

7 Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.

8 Yea, if a man lives many years, let him rejoice in them all. But let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. All that comes is vanity.

9 Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes. But know, for all these things Yahwah will bring you into judgment.

10 Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.

Chapter 12

1 Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw near when you say: I have no pleasure in them.

2 Before the sun, the light, the moon, and the stars, are darkened, and the clouds return after the rain,

3 in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men bow themselves (the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows will be darkened,

4 and the doors will be shut in the street, when the sound of the grinding is low, one will rise up at the voice of a bird, and all the daughters of music will be brought low),

5 they will be afraid of what is high. Terrors will be in the way. The almond-tree will blossom, and the grasshopper will be a burden. Desire will fail, because man goes to his everlasting home, and the mourners go about the streets.

6 The silver cord is loosed, the golden bowl is broken, the pitcher is broken at the fountain, the wheel broken at the cistern,

7 the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to Yahwah who gave it.

8 Vanity of vanities! Says the Preacher: All is vanity!

9 But because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge. Yea. He pondered, searched out, and set many proverbs in order.

10 The Preacher searched to find out acceptable words, and what was written uprightly, even words of truth.

11 The words of the wise are as goads. As nails well fastened are the words of the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.

12 Furthermore, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end. And much study is a weariness of the flesh.

13 This is the end of the matter, all has been heard. Fear Yahwah! Keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

14 Yahwah will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it is good, or whether it is evil.

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