New King James Version
The Grief of Wisdom
12 I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I set my heart to seek and (A)search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; (B)this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be [a]exercised. 14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.
15 (C)What is crooked cannot be made straight,
And what is lacking cannot be numbered.
16 I communed with my heart, saying, “Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained (D)more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has [b]understood great wisdom and knowledge.” 17 (E)And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind.
18 For (F)in much wisdom is much grief,
And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.
New King James Version
The End of the Wise and the Fool
12 Then I turned myself to consider wisdom (A)and madness and folly;
For what can the man do who succeeds the king?—
Only what he has already (B)done.
13 Then I saw that wisdom (C)excels folly
As light excels darkness.
14 (D)The wise man’s eyes are in his head,
But the fool walks in darkness.
Yet I myself perceived
That (E)the same event happens to them all.
15 So I said in my heart,
“As it happens to the fool,
It also happens to me,
And why was I then more wise?”
Then I said in my heart,
“This also is vanity.”
16 For there is (F)no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever,
Since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come.
And how does a wise man die?
As the fool!
17 Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.
18 Then I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, because (G)I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all my labor in which I toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 Therefore I turned my heart and despaired of all the labor in which I had toiled under the sun. 21 For there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; yet he must leave his [a]heritage to a man who has not labored for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 (H)For what has man for all his labor, and for the striving of his heart with which he has toiled under the sun? 23 For all his days are (I)sorrowful, and his work burdensome; even in the night his heart takes no rest. This also is vanity.
24 (J)Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat, or who can have enjoyment, [b]more than I? 26 For God gives (K)wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting, that (L)he may give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and grasping for the wind.Read full chapter