Chapter One


The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem:

“Vanity of vanities,” saith the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities. All is vanity.”


What profit has a man for all his labors under the sun?

One generation passes away and another generation comes,

but the earth abides forever.


The sun also rises and the sun goes down,
and hastens to the place from whence it arose.

The wind goes toward the south and turns about to the north.
It whirls continually, and returns again according to its circuits.


All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full.
Unto the place from whence rivers come, there they again return.


Everything is wearisome beyond description.

The eye cannot be satisfied by seeing.
The ear cannot be filled with hearing.

That which has been, is that which shall be.

That which is done, is that which shall be done.

There is nothing new under the sun.


Is there anything of which it can be said, “See, this is new”?

Anything that has not already been in the ages before us?


There is no remembrance of things past.
Neither shall there be any remembrance of things today

by those who live after us.


I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem.

With all my heart and wisdom, I applied myself
to searching out the truth of all things that are done under heaven.
God has given this sore travail to the sons of man to keep them occupied.


I have seen all the works that are done under the sun,

and behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

That which is crooked cannot be made straight.
That which is not there cannot be numbered.


I communed with my heart, saying, “Lo, I have come to great estate,
and have gained more wisdom than all who ruled before me in Jerusalem.

Yea, my heart has absorbed great wisdom and knowledge.”


I gave over my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly.

And I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.

For in much wisdom is much grief,
and he who increases his knowledge, increases his sorrow.

Chapter Two


I said in my heart, “Very well, I will seek pleasure and enjoy myself.”

But this also proved to be meaningless.

I said of mirth, “It is madness,” and of pleasure, “What is gained by it?”


I gave myself over to wine – with wisdom yet guiding me –
and even tried living foolishly.
I wanted to know how man might best spend his short life on earth.


I created great works. I built great houses. I planted great vineyards.

I planted gardens and orchards, with all kinds of trees and fruits.

I made collection pools for water, to water the flourishing groves.

I acquired servants and maidens, and servants were born into my house.


I possessed numerous flocks and herds,
greater than all who ruled in Jerusalem before me.
I gathered for myself silver and gold, and the treasure
of many kings and provinces. I had men singers and women singers,

and musicians of all kinds, and many beautiful concubines.
I had all the delights of men.


I became great, far greater than all who ruled in Jerusalem before me.

Even so, my wisdom remained with me.

Whatever my eyes desired, I did not deny them.
I withheld from myself no pleasure,

for my heart rejoiced in all my labors, and this was my reward.


Then I looked upon the works my hands had wrought,
and on the labor I had struggled to perform, and behold,
all was vanity and vexation of spirit – a chasing after wind –

and there was nothing under the sun to be gained by it.


So I decided to look directly at wisdom, and madness, and folly.

Else, what further can a man do after he’s become king,
other than more of that he has done before.

I saw that wisdom excels folly, by as far as light excels darkness.

I saw that the wise have eyes in their heads, while fools walk blind.

Yet I also perceived that the same fate awaits them all.


And I asked myself, “If what befalls a fool is the same as what befalls me,

how then was I more wise?” And my heart answered, “This also is vanity.


There is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool,
for that which now is, shall all be forgotten in the days to come.

How does the wise man die? The same as the fool.”


And so I came to hate life. Everything under the sun was grievous to me –

nothing but vanity, and vexation of spirit, and chasing after wind.

Yea, and I hated all the works I had labored at,
for I must leave them to him who comes after me.


Who knows whether he shall be a wise man or a fool?
Yet he shall have rule over all the work I have done in my wisdom.

This also is vanity.


And my heart began to despair of all the labors I performed under the sun.


For here is a man who labored with wisdom, knowledge, and equity,
yet one who has done nothing for it, will have the fruits as his heritage.

This also is vanity. And a great evil.


What profits a man for all his toil and vexation of heart, with which he labors under the sun?

For all his days are sorrows, and his travail, grief.
Even at night his heart cannot rest. This also is vanity.


There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink,
and find enjoyment in his labors. I saw that these pleasures were of God.


For who can eat his food or enjoy his pleasures more than I?


God gives wisdom, and knowledge, and joy to those who please him.
To the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth,
so that he can take it from him, and give to those who are good in his eyes.

This also is vanity, and vexation of spirit, and chasing after wind.

Chapter Three


To everything there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under heaven.

A time to be born, and a time to die.
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.


A time to kill, and a time to heal.
A time to break down, and a time to build up.


A time to weep, and a time to laugh.
A time to mourn, and a time to dance.


A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together.

A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.

A time to get, and a time to lose.
A time to keep, and a time to cast away.


A time to rend, and a time to sew.
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.


A time to love, and a time to hate.
A time of war, and a time of peace.


What profits a man from all his struggles?

I have seen the work God has given to the sons of men to occupy them.


He has made everything perfect in its season,
but he has not given man knowledge of his purpose,
nor of his plan from beginning to end.


I know now that there is nothing better for a man
than to rejoice and do good in his life.

Every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the fruits of all his labor.

It is the gift of God.


I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever.
Nothing can be added to it or taken from it.
God does this so that men shall come to revere him and his ways.


That which has been, is now. That which is yet to be, has already been.

To God, what is, what was, and what will be are not different.


Moreover, I saw that in the places where there should be justice,
there is wickedness, and in places where there should be righteousness,

there is wickedness there as well.


I said in my heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked,
for there is a time for every purpose, and for every work.


I saw that things are as they are so that God might test the hearts of men,

and reveal to them that they are but beasts.

For that which befalls the beasts, befalls the sons of men.
The death of one is the same as the death of the other.

They all have one spirit. Man has no preeminence over the beasts.

This also is vanity.


All go to one place. All come from dust, and to dust they all shall return.


How can anyone say that the spirit of man goes upward,
and the spirit of beasts goes downward to the earth?


Therefore, I perceived that there is nothing better for a man

than to rejoice in his own works each day. That is his portion.

For who can say what might come after this?

Chapter Four


Again, I looked at all the injustices done under the sun.
I beheld the tears of those who were oppressed,
and they had no comforter. On the side of their oppressors

there was power, but they, too, had no comforter.


Therefore, I deemed the dead, who have already died,
more fortunate than the living, who are yet alive.

But more fortunate than either is one who has never existed,

who has not seen the evil works done under the sun.


Again, I saw that all man’s labor and achievement stems from his desire

to be envied by his neighbor. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

But the fool who merely folds his hands together, consumes his own flesh.


Better is a handful of quietness,
than two fists full of travail and vexation of spirit.


Then I saw another vanity under the sun.

This is the man alone, with no companion, no children, no brethren,
yet there is no end to all his labor for he is never satisfied with his wealth.

He never thinks, “For whom do I labor, and deprive my soul of good now?”

This also is vanity, and a sore travail.


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


And if one falls, the other will lift up him up.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help.



If two lie together, then they have heat. But how can one be warm alone?


A man alone can be overpowered by another, but two can withstand him.

Three is even better. A three-cord braided rope is not easily broken.


Better a poor and wise youth,
than an old and foolish king who will no longer listen to counsel.

The poor and wise youth may come to reign though he has been in prison,

while he who was born to reign may become poor.


I considered all the living who walk under the sun,
and saw them stand with the young king in the old king’s stead.

There is no end to all the people he rules,
but those who come later do not delight in him.
Surely this also is vanity, and vexation of spirit, and chasing after wind.

Chapter Five


Guard your steps when you enter the house of God.

Be more ready to hear than to offer a fool’s sacrifice,

for fools know not that they do evil.


Do not be rash with your mouth, nor hasty in your heart
to utter things before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth,

therefore, let your words be few.

Dreams come from the multitude of thoughts.
A fool's speech is known by its multitude of words.



When you make a vow unto God, defer not to pay it,
for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay that which you have vowed.


It is better to not vow, than to vow and not pay.


Do not let your mouth cause your flesh to sin,

so that you have to tell the angel it was an error.

Why cause God to be angered by your words

and destroy the works of your hands?


The multitude of dreams and many words arise in emptiness.

Fear God.


When you see oppression of the poor, and corrupt perversion of justice

in a local province, understand that the higher officials know,
and also the higher officials over them.


The bounty of the earth profits all.
The king himself is served by the fields.


He who loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver,

neither shall he who loves wealth be satisfied with increase.

This also is vanity.


When goods increase, so do the numbers of those who consume them.

What benefit is there to the owner except to behold them with his eyes?


The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eats little or much.

But the over-abundance of the rich will not let him rest.

For there is a sore ill I have seen under the sun,
namely, hoarding riches harms the owner.


Moreover, those riches can perish by misfortune,
and if he has fathered a son, there is nothing left for him.


As he came forth from his mother's womb, so shall he leave,
naked as he came. Nothing of all his labors shall he take with him.


And this also is a sore ill, that in all ways as he came, so shall he go.


What profits a man for all his chasing after wind,
if all his life he eats in darkness, fear, sorrow and wrath?


Behold, I have seen that it is good and comely for one to eat and drink,

and to enjoy the good of all his labors on earth
for whatever days of his life God gives him. This is his reward.



If God gives a man riches and wealth, and the power to enjoy them –

to take his reward and rejoice in his labor – this is a gift from God.


And he shall not much consider the number of his days,
because God has given him joy in his heart.

Chapter Six


There is an evil I have seen under the sun, and it is common among men:


God gives a man riches, wealth and honor, so that he wants for nothing

and has all he desires, yet God does not give him the power to enjoy it,

but rather a stranger gets to enjoy it. This is vanity, and a grievous ill.


Even if a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years,
if his soul is not filled with goodness, and no one mourns at his funeral,

I say that a stillborn child is better off than he.


For the stillborn comes in vain and departs in darkness,
and his name shall ever remain in darkness.


Moreover, he has never seen the sun, nor ever known anything.

Therefore, he has greater rest than the living,


who, though he live two thousand years, does not enjoy goodness.

Do not all go to the same place?


All the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet his appetite is not satisfied.


What has the wise man more than the fool?

What does the poor man gain by knowing how to conduct himself in life?


Better to enjoy what you have than always wanting more.

This also is vanity and vexation of spirit, like chasing wind.


Everything that happens was already determined,

and what a man is, was already known.
He has no power over the mighty One.


Since more words and more things only increase the vanity of life,

what is best for man?

Who knows what is good for man in all the days of his vain life,

through which he passes like a shadow?

Who can tell a man what comes after him under the sun?

Chapter Seven


A good name is better than precious ointment.
The day of one’s death is better than the day of one's birth.


It is better to visit the house of mourning than the house of feasting,

for that is the end of all men, and the living should take it to heart.


Sorrow is better than merriment.
It may sadden your face, but your heart is made stronger.


The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning.
The heart of the fool is in the house of mirth.


It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than the song of fools.


The laughter of fools is like the crackling of thorns in a cooking fire.

This also is vanity.


Extortion makes a wise man foolish.

A bribe corrupts the heart.


The end of a matter is better than the beginning.
Better to be patient in spirit than proud.

Do not be quick to anger. Anger lodges in the bosom of fools.


Do not ask, “Why were former days better than these?”

Such a question does not come from wisdom.


It is good to be wise with your inheritance.
By it there is profit to those who see the sun.


Wisdom provides protection, and money provides protection.

The advantage of wisdom is that it gives life to those who have it.


Consider the work of God.
Who can make straight what he has made crooked?

In the day of prosperity be joyful. In the day of adversity,

remember that God sends one as well as the other.
No man can know what comes next for him.


I have seen all things in this vain life. A just man may perish
in his righteousness, while an evil man lives long in his wickedness.


Do not be overly righteous, or overly wise. Why destroy yourself?


Neither be overly wicked or foolish. Why die before your time?

It is good that you take hold of the one without letting go of the other.

He who fears God shall escape it all.


Wisdom strengthens a wise man
more than ten mighty men strengthen a city.


There is no man on earth so righteous

that he does only good and never sins.


Do not listen to the conversations of others,
lest you hear your servant curse you.

For you know in your heart that you have likewise cursed others.


All these have I proven by wisdom.
I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me.

That which is far from us, and exceeding deep, who can find it out?

I applied my heart to know, to seek out wisdom and the reason of things,

to know that wickedness is folly, and folly is madness.


More bitter than death is the woman who is a trap,
whose heart is a snare, whose hands are like chains.
A man who pleases God shall escape her, but the sinner shall be captured.


“This is what I have found,” saith the Preacher,
“after looking for meaning in everything.

My soul continually searches but finds not.
I have found only one true man in every thousand,
and in all the thousands I have not found one true woman.


This alone I have found: God made man upright,

but he is the victim of his own inventions.”