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Those Who Have Wealth but Do Not Enjoy It Are Pitiful

Here is another misfortune that I have seen under the sun, and it is prevalent among humankind. God gives a man wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing his heart desires; yet God does not enable him to enjoy it—instead someone else ends up enjoying it. This is vanity—indeed, it is a grievous ill!

Even if a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years so that the days of his years are many, if his heart[a] is not satisfied with his prosperity[b] and he does not receive a proper burial,[c] I deem the stillborn better than him. For he comes into vanity and departs into darkness, and his name is shrouded in darkness. He has neither seen nor known the sun, yet he has more rest than him. Even if a man[d] lives a thousand years twice, if he[e] does not enjoy prosperity,[f] both suffer the same fate![g]

One Must Learn to Be Content with What One Has

All of a man’s toil is for his mouth—
    yet his appetite is never satisfied.
So do the wise really have an advantage over fools?
    Can the poor really gain anything by knowing how to act in front of others?[h]
Better to be content with what your eyes see
    than for your soul to constantly crave more.[i]
This also is vanity and chasing wind!

It is Futile for Humans to Complain about God’s Irresistible Will

10 Whatever is—it was already determined,
    what will be—it has already been decided.[j]
As for man, he cannot argue
    against what is more powerful than him.
11 Increasing words only multiplies futility,[k]
    how does that profit anyone?

The Future is Inscrutable to Humans

12 For who knows what is good for a man in his life during the few days of his fleeting life, which are fleeting as a shadow? For who can tell anyone what will happen in the future[l] under the sun?


  1. Ecclesiastes 6:3 Or “his soul”
  2. Ecclesiastes 6:3 Literally “the good”
  3. Ecclesiastes 6:3 Literally “and also there is no burial for him”
  4. Ecclesiastes 6:6 Hebrew “he”
  5. Ecclesiastes 6:6 Hebrew “and”
  6. Ecclesiastes 6:6 Literally “good”
  7. Ecclesiastes 6:6 Literally “are not the all going to the same place?”
  8. Ecclesiastes 6:8 Literally “What is there for the poor knowing how to conduct themselves before the living?”
  9. Ecclesiastes 6:9 Literally “Sight of the eyes is better than wandering of desire”
  10. Ecclesiastes 6:10 Literally “and his name is known what he is man”
  11. Ecclesiastes 6:11 Literally “Where there are numerous words, it makes numerous vanity”
  12. Ecclesiastes 6:12 Literally “after him”