2 Said I in my heart, Come now! I will prove thee with gladness and look thou on blessedness,—but lo! even that was vanity.
2 Of laughter I said, Madness! and of mirth What can it do?
3 I sought out with my heart, to cherish with wine my flesh,—but my heart was to guide with wisdom even in laying hold of folly, until I should see which was blessedness for the sons of men as to that which they could do under the heavens, during the number of the days of their life.
4 I enlarged my works,—I built me houses, I planted me vineyards;
5 I made me gardens and parks,—I planted in them trees of every kind of fruit;
6 I made me pools of water,—to irrigate therefrom the thick-set saplings growing up into trees:
7 I acquired men-servants and women-servants, and the children of the household were mine,—also possessions, herds and flocks in abundance were mine, beyond all who had been before me in Jerusalem;
8 I heaped me up both silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and provinces,—I provided me singing-men and singing-women, and the delights of the sons of men, a wife and wives.
9 So I became great and increased, more than any one who had been before me in Jerusalem,—moreover my wisdom remained with me;
10 and nothing that mine eyes asked withheld I from them,—I did not keep back my heart from any gladness, for my heart obtained gladness out of all my toil, and so this was my portion out of all my toil.
11 When I looked upon all my works which my hands had made, and on my toil whereon I had toilsomely wrought then lo! all was vanity and feeding on wind, and there was no profit under the sun.
12 Thus turned I to look at wisdom, and madness and folly,—for what can the man [do more] who cometh after the king? [save] that which already men have done.
13 Then saw I, that wisdom doth excel folly,—as far as light excelleth darkness.
14 As for the wise man his eyes are in his head, whereas the dullard in darkness doth walk,—but I myself knew that one destiny happeneth to them all.
15 Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the dullard even to me will it happen, but wherefore then became I wise to excess? Therefore spake I in my heart, Even this is vanity.
16 For there is no remembrance of a wise man more than of a dullard unto times age-abiding,—seeing that already in the days to come all hath been forgotten, how then cometh it that the wise man dieth equally with the dullard?
17 Therefore I hated life, for a vexation unto me was the work which was done under the sun,—for all was vanity and a feeding on wind.
18 Therefore hated I all my toil wherein I was toiling under the sun,—in that I should leave it for the man who should come after me;
19 and who could know whether a wise man he would be or a foolish, and yet he would lord it over all my toil wherein I had toiled and wherein I had acted wisely under the sun,—even this was vanity.
20 Then resolved I to give my heart over to despair,—concerning all the toil, wherein I had toiled under the sun.
21 For here is a man whose toil hath been with wisdom and with knowledge and with skill,—yet to a man who hath not toiled therein shall he leave it as his portion, even this was vanity and a great vexation.
22 For what hath the man for all his toil, and for the striving of his heart,—wherein he himself toiled under the sun?
23 For all his days are pains and vexatious is his employment, even in the night his heart lieth not down,—even this was vanity.
24 There was nothing more blessed for Man [than] that he should eat and drink, and see his desire for blessedness in his toil,—even this saw I myself, that from the hand of God it was.
25 For who could eat and who could enjoy so well as I?
26 For to a man who is good before him hath he given wisdom and knowledge and gladness,—whereas to the sinner he hath given employment to gather and heap up, to give to one who is good before God, even this was vanity and a feeding on wind.