The Vanity of Self-Indulgence

I (A)said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity.[a] I (B)said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” I (C)searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on (D)folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. I made great works. I (E)built houses and planted (F)vineyards for myself. I made myself (G)gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and had (H)slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of (I)herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and (J)gold and the treasure of (K)kings and (L)provinces. I got (M)singers, both men and women, and many (N)concubines,[b] the delight of the sons of man.

So I became great and (O)surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my (P)wisdom remained with me. 10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart (Q)found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my (R)reward for all my toil. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was (S)vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing (T)to be gained under the sun.

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Footnotes

  1. Ecclesiastes 2:1 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath”; also verses 11, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 26 (see note on 1:2)
  2. Ecclesiastes 2:8 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain

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