Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:11Contemporary English Version (CEV)
It Is Senseless To Be Wise
12 I said these things when I lived in Jerusalem as king of Israel. 13 With all my wisdom I tried to understand everything that happens here on earth. And God has made this so hard for us humans to do. 14 I have seen it all, and everything is just as senseless as chasing the wind.[a]
15 If something is crooked, it can’t be made straight; if something isn’t there, it can’t be counted.
16 I said to myself, “You are by far the wisest person who has ever lived in Jerusalem. You are eager to learn, and you have learned a lot.” 17 Then I decided to find out all I could about wisdom and foolishness. Soon I realized that this too was as senseless as chasing the wind. [b]
18 The more you know, the more you hurt; the more you understand, the more you suffer.
It Is Senseless To Be Selfish
2 I said to myself, “Have fun and enjoy yourself!” But this didn’t make sense. 2 Laughing and having fun is crazy. What good does it do? 3 I wanted to find out what was best for us during the short time we have on this earth. So I decided to make myself happy with wine and find out what it means to be foolish, without really being foolish myself.
4 I did some great things. I built houses and planted vineyards. 5 I had flower gardens and orchards full of fruit trees. 6 And I had pools where I could get water for the trees. 7 I owned slaves, and their sons and daughters became my slaves. I had more sheep and goats than anyone who had ever lived in Jerusalem. 8 Foreign rulers brought me silver, gold, and precious treasures. Men and women sang for me, and I had many wives[c] who gave me great pleasure.
9 I was the most famous person who had ever lived in Jerusalem, and I was very wise. 10 I got whatever I wanted and did whatever made me happy. But most of all, I enjoyed my work. 11 Then I thought about everything I had done, including the hard work, and it was simply chasing the wind.[d] Nothing on earth is worth the trouble.
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