New International Version
Pleasures Are Meaningless
2 I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure(A) to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. 2 “Laughter,”(B) I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” 3 I tried cheering myself with wine,(C) and embracing folly(D)—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.
4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself(E) and planted vineyards.(F) 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves(G) who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 8 I amassed silver and gold(H) for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces.(I) I acquired male and female singers,(J) and a harem[a] as well—the delights of a man’s heart. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem(K) before me.(L) In all this my wisdom stayed with me.
10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
and this was the reward for all my toil.
11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;(M)
nothing was gained under the sun.(N)
- Ecclesiastes 2:8 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.