1 These are the words of the Teacher,[a] King David’s son, who ruled in Jerusalem.
Everything Is Meaningless
2 “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”
3 What do people get for all their hard work under the sun?4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes.5 The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again.6 The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles.7 Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea.8 Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.
9 History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new.10 Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new.11 We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.
The Teacher Speaks: The Futility of Wisdom
12 I, the Teacher, was king of Israel, and I lived in Jerusalem.13 I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done under heaven. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race.14 I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind.
15 What is wrong cannot be made right. What is missing cannot be recovered.
16 I said to myself, “Look, I am wiser than any of the kings who ruled in Jerusalem before me. I have greater wisdom and knowledge than any of them.”17 So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly. But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind.
18 The greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.
1:1Hebrew Qoheleth; this term is rendered “the Teacher” throughout this book.
You'll get this book and many others when you join Bible Gateway Plus. Learn more
You must be logged in to view your newly purchased content. Please log in below or if you don't have an account, creating one is easy and only takes a few moments. After you log in your content will be available in your library.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Now that you've created a Bible Gateway account, upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus: the ultimate online Bible reading & study experience! Bible Gateway Plus equips you to answer the toughest questions about faith, God, and the Bible with access to a vast digital Bible study library. And it's all integrated seamlessly into your Bible Gateway experience. Try it free for 30 days!