Ecclesiastes 2 Expanded Bible (EXB)
Does “Having Fun” Bring Happiness?
2 I said ·to myself [L in my heart], “·I will try having fun [L Come now, I will test you with pleasure]. I will ·enjoy myself [experience the good life; L see good].” ·But I found that [L Behold] this is also useless [1:2]. 2 I thought, “It is ·foolish [mad; crazy; insane] to laugh, and ·having fun [pleasure] ·doesn’t accomplish anything [L what can it do…?].” 3 I ·decided [L explored with my heart] to cheer ·myself up [L my body/flesh] with wine and embrace folly while my mind was ·still thinking wisely [guided by wisdom]. I wanted to see what was good for people to do ·on earth [L under heaven; 1:3] during their few days of life.
Does Hard Work Bring Happiness?
4 Then I did great things: I built houses and planted vineyards for myself [1 Kin. 7:1–12; 9:15; 2 Chr. 8:1–6]. 5 I made gardens and parks, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made pools of water for myself and used them to water my ·growing [flourishing forest of] trees. 7 I ·bought [acquired] male and female slaves, and slaves were also born in my house. I had large herds and flocks, more than anyone in Jerusalem had ever had before. 8 I also gathered silver and gold for myself, treasures ·from [or of] kings and ·other areas [provinces; 1 Kin. 10:14–25; 2 Chr. 9:27]. I had male and female singers and ·all the women a man could ever want [L many concubines—the pleasure of men]. 9 I ·became very famous, even greater than [surpassed] anyone who had lived in Jerusalem before me. My wisdom ·helped me in all this [L stayed with me].
10 Anything ·I saw and wanted [L my eyes requested], I ·got for [L did not refuse] myself;
Maybe Wisdom Is the Answer
12 Then I ·began to think again about being wise,
15 I ·thought to myself [L said in my heart],
Is There Real Happiness in Life?
17 So I hated life. ·It made me sad to think that everything [L For evil is the work that is done] ·here on earth [L under the sun; 1:3] is useless [1:2], like chasing the wind. 18 I hated all the things I had ·worked [toiled] for ·here on earth [L under the sun; 1:3], because I must leave them to someone who will live after me. 19 Someone else will control everything for which I ·worked so hard [toiled so wisely] ·here on earth [L under the sun; 1:3], and ·I don’t know [L who knows…?] if he will be wise or foolish. This is also useless [1:2]. 20 So I ·became sad [despaired; L caused my heart to despair] about all the ·hard work [toil] I had done ·here on earth [L under the sun; 1:3]. 21 People can work hard using all their wisdom, knowledge, and ·skill [success], but they will ·die, and other people will get the things for which they worked [L leave their reward to others]. They did not do the work, but they will get everything. This is ·also unfair [a great evil] and useless [1:2]. 22 What do people get for all their ·work [toil] and ·struggling [anxiety] ·here on earth [L under the sun; 1:3]? 23 All of their ·lives [L days] their work is full of pain and ·sorrow [frustration], and even at night their ·minds [L hearts] don’t ·rest [L lie down]. This is also useless [1:2].
24 ·The best that people can do is [L There is nothing better for people than to] eat, drink, and enjoy their ·work [toil]. I saw that even this comes from God, 25 because ·no one [L who…?] can eat or ·enjoy life [or worry] without him. 26 If people please God, God will give them wisdom, knowledge, and ·joy [pleasure]. But ·sinners [or people who offend; C offend God] will get only the work of gathering wealth that they will have to give to the ones who please God. So all their work is useless [1:2], like chasing the wind [3:12–14, 22; 5:18–20; 8:15; 9:7–10; C the little pleasures are distractions from the meaningless world].
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.
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.
It looks like you’re already subscribed to Bible Gateway Plus! To manage your subscription, visit your Bible Gateway account settings.
Want to get the most out of Bible Gateway? Find out why Bible Gateway Plus is the ultimate toolkit for anyone seeking to grow closer to the Word. For less than the cost of a latte, Plus membership gives you access to a complete digital Bible study library and reduced banner ads. Try it free for 30 days!
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.