Here is a tragedy I have observed under the sun,(A) and it weighs heavily on humanity:[a] God gives a man riches, wealth, and honor(B) so that he lacks nothing of all he desires for himself,(C) but God does not allow him to enjoy them. Instead, a stranger will enjoy them. This is futile and a sickening tragedy. A man may father a hundred children and live many years. No matter how long he lives,[b] if he is not satisfied by good things and does not even have a proper burial,(D) I say that a stillborn child is better off than he.(E) For he comes in futility and he goes in darkness, and his name is shrouded in darkness. Though a stillborn child does not see the sun and is not conscious, it has more rest than he. And if he lives a thousand years twice, but does not experience happiness, do not both go to the same place?

All man’s labor is for his stomach,[c](F)
yet the appetite is never satisfied.

What advantage then does the wise man have over the fool?(G) What advantage is there for the poor person who knows how to conduct himself before others? Better what the eyes see than wandering desire.(H) This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.(I)

10 Whatever exists was given its name long ago,[d](J) and it is known what man is. But he is not able to contend with the One stronger than he.(K) 11 For when there are many words, they increase futility.(L) What is the advantage for man? 12 For who knows what is good for man in life, in the few days of his futile life that he spends like a shadow?(M) Who can tell man what will happen after him under the sun?


  1. Ecclesiastes 6:1 Or it is common among men
  2. Ecclesiastes 6:3 Lit how many years
  3. Ecclesiastes 6:7 Lit mouth
  4. Ecclesiastes 6:10 Lit name already

I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on mankind: God gives some people wealth, possessions and honor, so that they lack nothing their hearts desire, but God does not grant them the ability to enjoy them,(A) and strangers enjoy them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil.(B)

A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn(C) child is better off than he.(D) It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness its name is shrouded. Though it never saw the sun or knew anything, it has more rest than does that man— even if he lives a thousand years twice over but fails to enjoy his prosperity. Do not all go to the same place?(E)

Everyone’s toil is for their mouth,
    yet their appetite is never satisfied.(F)
What advantage have the wise over fools?(G)
What do the poor gain
    by knowing how to conduct themselves before others?
Better what the eye sees
    than the roving of the appetite.
This too is meaningless,
    a chasing after the wind.(H)

10 Whatever exists has already been named,(I)
    and what humanity is has been known;
no one can contend
    with someone who is stronger.
11 The more the words,
    the less the meaning,
    and how does that profit anyone?

12 For who knows what is good for a person in life, during the few and meaningless days(J) they pass through like a shadow?(K) Who can tell them what will happen under the sun after they are gone?