Ecclesiastes 2Expanded 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].
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