The Emptiness of Pleasure

I said to myself, “Go ahead, I will test you with pleasure;(A) enjoy what is good.” But it turned out to be futile. I said about laughter,(B) “It is madness,” and about pleasure, “What does this accomplish?” I explored with my mind how to let my body enjoy life[a] with wine(C) and how to grasp folly(D)—my mind still guiding me with wisdom—until I could see what is good for people to do under heaven[b] during the few days of their lives.(E)

The Emptiness of Possessions

I increased my achievements. I built houses(F) and planted vineyards(G) for myself. I made gardens(H) and parks for myself and planted every kind of fruit tree in them. I constructed reservoirs of water for myself from which to irrigate a grove of flourishing trees.(I) I acquired male and female servants and had slaves who were born in my house.(J) I also owned many herds of cattle and flocks, more than all who were before me in Jerusalem.(K) I also amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces.(L) I gathered male and female singers for myself,(M) and many concubines, the delights of men.[c][d] So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem;(N) my wisdom also remained with me. 10 All that my eyes desired, I did not deny them.(O) I did not refuse myself any pleasure, for I took pleasure in all my struggles. This was my reward for all my struggles.(P) 11 When I considered all that I had accomplished[e] and what I had labored to achieve, I found everything to be futile and a pursuit of the wind.(Q) There was nothing to be gained under the sun.(R)

Read full chapter


  1. Ecclesiastes 2:3 Lit to pull my body
  2. Ecclesiastes 2:3 Two Hb mss, LXX, Syr read the sun
  3. Ecclesiastes 2:8 LXX, Theod, Syr read and male cupbearers and female cupbearers; Aq, Tg, Vg read a cup and cups; Hb obscure
  4. Ecclesiastes 2:8 Or many treasures that people delight in
  5. Ecclesiastes 2:11 Lit all my works that my hands had done

Bible Gateway Recommends