2 Vanity[a] of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
Ecclesiastes 1:2The Hebrew term hebel, translated vanity or vain, refers concretely to a “mist,” “vapor,” or “mere breath,” and metaphorically to something that is fleeting or elusive (with different nuances depending on the context). It appears five times in this verse and in 29 other verses in Ecclesiastes
Ecclesiastes 1:12-14English Standard Version (ESV)
The Vanity of Wisdom
12 I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem.13 And I applied my heart[a] to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with.14 I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity[b] and a striving after wind.[c]
Ecclesiastes 1:13The Hebrew term denotes the center of one's inner life, including mind, will, and emotions
Ecclesiastes 2:18-26English Standard Version (ESV)
The Vanity of Toil
18 I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that 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 be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity.20 So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun,21 because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil.22 What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun?23 For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.
24 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment[a] in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God,25 for apart from him[b] who can eat or who can have enjoyment?26 For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.
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