The Futility 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 has (B)given riches and wealth and honor so that his soul (C)lacks nothing of all that he desires; yet God has not empowered him to eat from them, for a foreigner [b]enjoys them. This is [c]vanity and a severe affliction. If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, however many [d]they 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 it comes in futility and goes into obscurity; and its name is covered in obscurity. It never sees the sun and it never knows anything; [e]it is better off than he. Even if the other man lives a thousand years twice and does not [f]enjoy good things—(F)do not all go to one place?”

(G)All a man’s labor is for his mouth and yet the [g]appetite is not [h]satisfied. For (H)what advantage does the wise man have over the fool? What advantage does the poor man have, knowing how to walk before the living? What the eyes (I)see is better than what the soul [i]desires. This too is (J)futility and a striving after wind.

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


  1. Ecclesiastes 6:1 Lit upon
  2. Ecclesiastes 6:2 Lit eats from them
  3. Ecclesiastes 6:2 Or futility
  4. Ecclesiastes 6:3 Lit the days of his years
  5. Ecclesiastes 6:5 Lit more rest has this one than that
  6. Ecclesiastes 6:6 Lit see
  7. Ecclesiastes 6:7 Lit soul
  8. Ecclesiastes 6:7 Lit filled
  9. Ecclesiastes 6:9 Lit goes after
  10. Ecclesiastes 6:12 Lit days
  11. Ecclesiastes 6:12 Lit do

Bible Gateway Sponsors