December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 The words of David's son, Qoheleth, king in Jerusalem:
- 2 Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!
- 3 What profit has man from all the labor which he toils at under the sun?
- One generation passes and another comes, but the world forever stays.
- The sun rises and the sun goes down; then it presses on to the place where it rises.
- Blowing now toward the south, then toward the north, the wind turns again and again, resuming its rounds.
- All rivers go to the sea, yet never does the sea become full. To the place where they go, the rivers keep on going.
- 4 All speech is labored; there is nothing man can say. The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor is the ear filled with hearing.
- What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun.
- Even the thing of which we say, "See, this is new!" has already existed in the ages that preceded us.
- 5 There is no remembrance of the men of old; nor of those to come will there be any remembrance among those who come after them.
- I, Qoheleth, was king over Israel in Jerusalem,
- and I applied my mind to search and investigate in wisdom all things that are done under the sun. A thankless task God has appointed for men to be busied about.
- 6 I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind.
- What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is missing cannot be supplied.
- Though I said to myself, "Behold, I have become great and stored up wisdom beyond all who were before me in Jerusalem, and my mind has broad experience of wisdom and knowledge";
- yet when I applied my mind to know wisdom and knowledge, madness and folly, I learned that this also is a chase after wind.
- For in much wisdom there is much sorrow, and he who stores up knowledge stores up grief.
Table of Contents Introduction Next Chapter
1  Qoheleth: see Introduction.
2  Vanity of vanities: a Hebrew superlative expressing the supreme degree of futility and emptiness.
3  Under the sun: used throughout this book to signify "on the earth."
4  All speech . . . man can say: or "All things are wearisome beyond man's power to tell."
5  Men remember nothing long, God never forgets.
6  Chase after wind: futility, like an attempt to corral the winds. Cf Hosea 12:2. The ancient versions understood "affliction of spirit." These words are used to conclude sections of the discourse, as far as Eccl 6:9.
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