2 I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity.[a]2 I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?”3 I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life.4 I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself.5 I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees.6 I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees.7 I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem.8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines,[b] the delight of the sons of man.
9 So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me.10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil.11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
The Vanity of Living Wisely
12 So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly. For what can the man do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done.
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