Ecclesiastes 2 New Life Version (NLV)
Fun Is of No Worth
2 I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with things that are fun. So have a good time.” But see, this also was for nothing. 2 I said of laughing, “It is crazy,” and of fun, “What use is it?” 3 I tried to find in my mind how to make my body happy with wine, yet at the same time having my mind lead me with wisdom. I tried to find how to take hold of what is foolish, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven during the few years of their lives. 4 I did great things. I built houses for myself. I planted grape-fields for myself. 5 I made gardens and beautiful places for myself, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. 6 I made pools of water for myself from which to water many new trees. 7 I bought men and women servants, and had other servants who were born in my house. I had more flocks and cattle than anyone before me in Jerusalem. 8 I gathered for myself silver and gold and the riches of kings and lands. I got for myself male and female singers, and kept many women who acted as my wives, the joy of man. 9 Then I became great, greater than all who lived before me in Jerusalem. And my wisdom stayed with me. 10 Whatever my eyes wanted I did not keep away from them. I did not keep my heart from anything that was pleasing, for my heart was pleased with all my work. This was my reward for all my work. 11 Then I thought about all that my hands had done, and the work I had done. I saw that it was all for nothing. It was like trying to catch the wind, and there was nothing to get for it under the sun.
The End of the Wise Man or Fool
12 So I turned to think about wisdom and what is crazy and foolish. For what can the man do who comes after the king, except what has already been done? 13 And I saw that wisdom is better than what is foolish, as light is better than darkness. 14 The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. Yet I know that one thing will happen to both of them. 15 Then I said to myself, “What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise?” So I said to myself, “This also is for nothing.” 16 For the wise man will not be remembered forever any more than the fool. All will be forgotten in the days to come. The wise man dies just like the fool! 17 So I hated life. For the work which had been done under the sun brought sorrow to me. Because everything is for nothing and is like trying to catch the wind.
18 I hated what came from all my work which I had done under the sun. For I must leave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows if he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will rule over all that I have worked for by acting with wisdom under the sun. This also is for nothing. 20 So I was filled with sorrow for all I had worked for under the sun. 21 For here is a man who has worked with wisdom, much learning, and an able hand. Yet he must give this to one who has not worked for it. This also is for nothing, and very wrong. 22 For what does a man get from all his work and trouble under the sun? 23 For his work brings pain and sorrow all his days. Even during the night his mind does not rest. This also is for nothing.
24 There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and find joy in his work. I have seen that this also is from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat and who can find joy without Him? 26 For God has given wisdom and much learning and joy to the person who is good in God’s eyes. But to the sinner He has given the work of gathering and getting many riches together to give to the one who pleases God. This also is for nothing, like trying to catch the wind.