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Ecclesiastes - Chapter 2

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Ecclesiastes Chapters

1 I thought to myself, 'Very well, I will try pleasure and see what enjoyment has to offer.' And this was futile too.

2 This laughter, I reflected, is a madness, this pleasure no use at all.

3 I decided to hand my body over to drinking wine, my mind still guiding me in wisdom; I resolved to embrace folly, to discover the best way for people to spend their days under the sun.

4 I worked on a grand scale: built myself palaces, planted vineyards;

5 made myself gardens and orchards, planting every kind of fruit tree in them;

6 had pools made for watering the young trees of my plantations.

7 I bought slaves, male and female, had home-born slaves as well; herds and flocks I had too, more than anyone in Jerusalem before me.

8 I amassed silver and gold, the treasures of kings and provinces; acquired singers, men and women, and every human luxury, chest upon chest of it.

9 So I grew great, greater than anyone in Jerusalem before me; nor did my wisdom leave me.

10 I denied my eyes nothing that they desired, refused my heart no pleasure, for I found all my hard work a pleasure, such was the return for all my efforts.

11 I then reflected on all that my hands had achieved and all the effort I had put into its achieving. What futility it all was, what chasing after the wind! There is nothing to be gained under the sun.

12 My reflections then turned to wisdom, stupidity and folly. For instance, what can the successor of a king do? What has been done already.

13 More is to be gained from wisdom than from folly, just as one gains more from light than from darkness; this, of course, I see:

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14 The wise have their eyes open, the fool walks in the dark. No doubt! But I know, too, that one fate awaits them both.

15 'Since the fool's fate', I thought to myself, 'will be my fate too, what is the point of my having been wise?' I realised that this too is futile.

16 For there is no lasting memory for the wise or the fool, and in the days to come both will be forgotten; the wise, no less than the fool, must die.

17 Life I have come to hate, for what is done under the sun disgusts me, since all is futility and chasing after the wind.

18 All I have toiled for under the sun and now bequeath to my successor I have come to hate;

19 who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all the work into which I have put my efforts and wisdom under the sun. That is futile too.

20 I have come to despair of all the efforts I have expended under the sun.

21 For here is one who has laboured wisely, skilfully and successfully and must leave what is his own to someone who has not toiled for it at all. This is futile too, and grossly unjust;

22 for what does he gain for all the toil and strain that he has undergone under the sun-

23 since his days are full of sorrow, his work is full of stress and even at night he has no peace of mind? This is futile too.

24 There is no happiness except in eating and drinking, and in enjoying one's achievements; and I see that this too comes from God's hand;

25 for who would get anything to eat or drink, unless all this came from him?

26 Wisdom, knowledge and joy, God gives to those who please him, but on the sinner he lays the task of gathering and storing up for someone else who is pleasing to him. This too is futility and chasing after the wind.

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