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The Vanity of Life

There is an (A)evil which I have seen under the sun and it is prevalent [a]among men— a man to whom God (B)gives riches and wealth and honor so that his soul (C)lacks nothing of all that he desires; yet God does not empower him to eat from them, for a foreigner eats from them. This is [b]vanity and a sickening evil. If a man becomes the father of one hundred children and lives many years, however many the days of his years may be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things, and he does not even have a proper (D)burial, then I say, “Better (E)the miscarriage than he, for that one comes in vanity and goes into darkness; and that one’s name is covered in darkness. Indeed, that one never sees the sun and never knows anything; [c]that one has more rest than he. Even if the other man lives one thousand years twice and does not see good things—(F)do not all go to the same place?”

(G)All a man’s labor is for his mouth, and yet the soul is not fulfilled. For (H)what advantage does the wise man have over the fool? What advantage does the afflicted man have, knowing how to walk before the living? What the eyes (I)see is better than what the soul goes after. This too is (J)vanity and striving after wind.

10 Whatever (K)exists has already been named, and it is known what man is; and he (L)cannot dispute with him who is stronger than he is. 11 For there are many words which increase vanity. What then is the advantage to a man? 12 For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few days of his vain life? He will make do with them like a (M)shadow. For who can tell a man (N)what will be after him under the sun?


  1. Ecclesiastes 6:1 Lit upon
  2. Ecclesiastes 6:2 Or futility
  3. Ecclesiastes 6:5 Lit more rest has this one than that