1 When the son of David was king in Jerusalem, he was known to be very wise,[a] and he said:
2 Nothing makes sense! Everything is nonsense. I have seen it all— nothing makes sense! 3 What is there to show for all of our hard work here on this earth? 4 People come, and people go, but still the world never changes.
5 The sun comes up, the sun goes down; it hurries right back to where it started from. 6 The wind blows south, the wind blows north; round and round it blows over and over again. 7 All rivers empty into the sea, but it never spills over; one by one the rivers return to their source.[b]
8 All of life is far more boring than words could ever say. Our eyes and our ears are never satisfied with what we see and hear. 9 Everything that happens has happened before; nothing is new, nothing under the sun. 10 Someone might say, “Here is something new!” But it happened before, long before we were born. 11 No one who lived in the past is remembered anymore, and everyone yet to be born will be forgotten too.
It Is Senseless To Be Wise
12 I said these things when I lived in Jerusalem as king of Israel. 13 With all my wisdom I tried to understand everything that happens here on earth. And God has made this so hard for us humans to do. 14 I have seen it all, and everything is just as senseless as chasing the wind.[c]
15 If something is crooked, it can’t be made straight; if something isn’t there, it can’t be counted.
16 I said to myself, “You are by far the wisest person who has ever lived in Jerusalem. You are eager to learn, and you have learned a lot.” 17 Then I decided to find out all I could about wisdom and foolishness. Soon I realized that this too was as senseless as chasing the wind. [d]
18 The more you know, the more you hurt; the more you understand, the more you suffer.
1.1known to be very wise: This stands for the Hebrew word often translated “preacher” or “teacher.” The word may refer to someone who was a very wise leader or to someone who had become wise from collecting sayings about wisdom.
1.7return to their source: Or “flow into the sea.”
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