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Ecclesiastes 2:16-26 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

16 Whether people are wise or foolish, they will still die, and no one will remember either one of them forever. In the future, people will forget everything both of them did. So the two are really the same.

Is There Real Happiness in Life?

17 This made me hate life. It was depressing to think that everything in this life is useless, like trying to catch the wind.

18 I began to hate all the hard work I had done, because I saw that the people who live after me would get the things that I worked for. I will not be able to take them with me. 19 Some other person will control everything I worked and studied for. And I don’t know if that person will be wise or foolish. This is also senseless.

20 So I became sad about all the work I had done. 21 People can work hard using all their wisdom and knowledge and skill. But they will die and other people will get the things they worked for. They did not do the work, but they will get everything. That makes me very sad. It is also not fair and is senseless.

22 What do people really have after all their work and struggling in this life? 23 Throughout their life, they have pain, frustrations, and hard work. Even at night, a person’s mind does not rest. This is also senseless.

24-25 There is no one who has tried to enjoy life more than I have. And this is what I learned: The best thing people can do is eat, drink, and enjoy the work they must do. I also saw that this comes from God.[a] 26 If people do good and please God, he will give them wisdom, knowledge, and joy. But those who sin will get only the work of gathering and carrying things. God takes from the bad person and gives to the good person. But all this work is useless. It is like trying to catch the wind.


  1. Ecclesiastes 2:24 Or “24 The best people can do is eat, drink, and enjoy their work. I also saw that this comes from God. 25 No one can eat or enjoy life without God.”
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International


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