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Ecclesiastes 1 Wycliffe Bible (WYC)

The words of Ecclesiastes[a], son of David, king of Jerusalem.

Vanity of vanities, said Ecclesiastes; vanity of vanities, and all things be vanity. (Emptiness and futility, said Ecclesiastes; emptiness and futility, yea, everything is empty and futile.)

What hath a man more[over] of all his travail, by which he travaileth under the sun? (What profiteth a person from all his labour, that he laboureth at under the sun?)

A generation passeth away, [and] another generation cometh; but the earth standeth without end. (One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth endureth forever.)

The sun riseth [up], and goeth down, and turneth again to his place (and returneth to its place); and there it riseth again,

and compasseth by the south, and turneth again to the north. The spirit compassing all things goeth about, and turneth again into his circles. (and goeth around to the south, and then returneth to the north. Going around, the wind goeth about touching all things, and then returneth full circle.)

All floods enter into the sea, and the sea floweth not over the marks set of God; the floods turn again to the place from whence they come forth, that they flow [out] again. (All the rivers enter into the sea, and the sea floweth not over the boundaries set by God; the rivers return to the places from where they came forth, only so that they can flow out again.)

All things be hard; a man may not declare those things by word (a person cannot declare all of these things with words alone); the eye is not (ful)filled by sight, neither the ear is filled by hearing.

What is that thing that was, that that shall come? What is that thing that is made, that that shall be made? Nothing under the sun is new, (What is that thing that was, but that which shall come again? What is that thing that is made, but that which shall be made later? Nothing is new under the sun,)

10 neither any man may say, Lo! this thing is new; for now it went before in worlds, that were before us. (nor can anyone say, Lo! this is new; for it hath already come before, in the time that was before us.)

11 Mind of the former things is not, but soothly neither thinking of those things, that shall come afterward, shall be at them that shall come in the last time. (Remembering the former things is not done, and those things that come now, shall not be remembered by those who shall come after us.)

12 I Ecclesiastes was king of Israel in Jerusalem;

13 and I purposed in my soul to seek and ensearch wisely of all things, that be made under the sun. God gave this evil occupation to the sons of men, that they should be occupied therein. (and I purposed in my mind to wisely seek out and to search into everything, that is done under the sun. God gave this difficult task to the sons and daughters of men, so that they would be occupied with it.)

14 I saw all things that be made under the sun, and lo! all things be vanity and torment of spirit. (I saw everything that is done under the sun, and lo! everything is empty and futile, like chasing the wind.)

15 Wayward men be amended of hard (The wayward can only be corrected with great difficulty); and the number of fools is great without end.

16 I spake in mine heart, and I said, Lo! I am made great, and I passed in wisdom all men, that were before me in Jerusalem; and my soul saw many things wisely, and I learned. (I said in my heart, Lo! I am made great, and I have surpassed in wisdom all who were before me in Jerusalem; I have seen many things, and I have become wise, yea, I have learned much.)

17 And I gave mine heart, that I should know prudence and doctrine, and errors and folly. And I knew that in these things also was travail and torment of spirit; (And I gave my heart, or I applied my mind, so that I would understand wisdom and doctrine, and errors and foolishness. And I learned that all these things were also empty and futile, like chasing the wind;)

18 for in much wisdom is much indignation, and he that increaseth knowing, increaseth also travail. (for the greater one’s wisdom, the greater one’s anger, or one’s vexation, and he who increaseth his knowledge, also increaseth his own troubles.)


  1. Ecclesiastes 1:1 That is, (the words) of Solomon, for ‘Ecclesiastes’ is said, ‘a speaker to the people’.

Ecclesiastes 1 New International Version (NIV)

Everything Is Meaningless

The words of the Teacher,[a] son of David, king in Jerusalem:

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
    says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
    Everything is meaningless.”

What do people gain from all their labors
    at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go,
    but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun sets,
    and hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
    and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
    ever returning on its course.
All streams flow into the sea,
    yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
    there they return again.
All things are wearisome,
    more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
    nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say,
    “Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
    it was here before our time.
11 No one remembers the former generations,
    and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
    by those who follow them.

Wisdom Is Meaningless

12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

15 What is crooked cannot be straightened;
    what is lacking cannot be counted.

16 I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.

18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
    the more knowledge, the more grief.


  1. Ecclesiastes 1:1 Or the leader of the assembly; also in verses 2 and 12
New International Version (NIV)

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