Ecclesiastes 2 Modern English Version (MEV)
The Vanity of Pleasure
2 And I said in my heart, “Come, and I will test you with selfish pleasures to experience desires.” And notice that this too is vanity. 2 And I said of frivolous fun, “They are only senseless ideas”; and regarding selfish pleasure, “What purpose is this?” 3 I investigated how to cheer up my body with wine, while my heart was still guiding me with wisdom, in order to grasp folly until I might experience what is good for sons of men to do under heaven during the number of days that they might have life.
4 I accomplished great works. I built houses for myself, and planted myself vineyards. 5 I made for myself royal gardens and parks, and I planted in them all sorts of fruit trees. 6 I made for myself pools of water to irrigate the forests of growing trees. 7 I even bought male and female slaves; even some were born to me in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks more than any who had been in Jerusalem before me. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and treasures of kings and provinces. I obtained singers, both men and women, and the delights of the sons of men, and many concubines. 9 So I became great and surpassed anyone who had been in Jerusalem before me. All the while my wisdom remained with me.
10 And everything that my eyes wanted I did not refuse them.
The Fate of the Wise and the Fool
12 So I turned to consider wisdom,
15 Then I said in my heart,
“What happens to the fool will happen to me also.
17 And I began to hate life for the labor that was done under the sun was contemptible to me, for all of this was vanity and chasing the wind. 18 And I despised all the toil in which I labored under the sun, which I will give up to the man who comes after me. 19 And who knows if this man will be wise or a fool? Yet he will gain power over every labor that I have toiled and my use of wisdom under the sun. Also this is vanity. 20 So I turned to give my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labors under the sun. 21 For there is a man who labors with wisdom, knowledge, and skill; yet to a man who did not labor for this, he leaves it as his inheritance. This also is vanity and a great distress. 22 For what becomes of a man with all his labor and with the striving in his heart that he toils under the sun? 23 For all his days are sorrowful, and his work is a vexation; even at night his heart finds no rest. Also this is fleeting.
24 There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in his labor. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God. 25 For who can even eat or have enjoyment more so than I?[a] 26 For to a man who is pleasing before Him, God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy; but to the sinner He gives the work of gathering and collecting to give him who is pleasing before God. Also this is vanity and chasing the wind.