1 These are the words of the Teacher,a King David’s son, who ruled in Jerusalem.
Everything Is Meaningless
2 “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”
3 What do people get for all their hard work under the sun?
4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes.
5 The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again.
6 The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles.
7 Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea.
8 Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.
9 History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.
10 Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new.
11 We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.
The Teacher Speaks: The Futility of Wisdom
12 I, the Teacher, was king of Israel, and I lived in Jerusalem.
13 I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done under heaven. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race.
14 I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless — like chasing the wind.
15 What is wrong cannot be made right.
What is missing cannot be recovered.
16 I said to myself, “Look, I am wiser than any of the kings who ruled in Jerusalem before me. I have greater wisdom and knowledge than any of them.”
17 So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly. But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind.
18 The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief.
To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.
Ecclesiastes, 1 chapter. New Living Translation.