English Standard Version
All Is Vanity
1 The words of (A)the Preacher,[a] the son of David, (B)king in Jerusalem.
2 (C)Vanity[b] of vanities, says (D)the Preacher,
(E)vanity of vanities! (F)All is vanity.
3 (G)What (H)does man gain by all the toil
at which he toils under the sun?
4 A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but (I)the earth remains forever.
5 (J)The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
and hastens[c] to the place where it rises.
6 (K)The wind blows to the south
and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
and on its circuits the wind returns.
7 All (L)streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
8 All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;
(M)the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 (N)What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been (O)already
in the ages before us.
11 There is no (P)remembrance of former things,[d]
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things[e] yet to be
among those who come after.
The Vanity of Wisdom
12 I (Q)the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I (R)applied my heart[f] to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy (S)business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 14 I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is (T)vanity[g] and a striving after wind.[h]
15 (U)What is crooked cannot be made straight,
and what is lacking cannot be counted.
16 I said in my heart, “I have acquired great (V)wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I (W)applied my heart to know wisdom and to know (X)madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but (Y)a striving after wind.
18 For (Z)in much wisdom is much vexation,
and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.
- Ecclesiastes 1:1 Or Convener, or Collector; Hebrew Qoheleth (so throughout Ecclesiastes)
- Ecclesiastes 1:2 The Hebrew term hebel, translated vanity or vain, refers concretely to a “mist,” “vapor,” or “mere breath,” and metaphorically to something that is fleeting or elusive (with different nuances depending on the context). It appears five times in this verse and in 29 other verses in Ecclesiastes
- Ecclesiastes 1:5 Or and returns panting
- Ecclesiastes 1:11 Or former people
- Ecclesiastes 1:11 Or later people
- Ecclesiastes 1:13 The Hebrew term denotes the center of one's inner life, including mind, will, and emotions
- Ecclesiastes 1:14 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (see note on 1:2)
- Ecclesiastes 1:14 Or a feeding on wind; compare Hosea 12:1 (also in Ecclesiastes 1:17; 2:11, 17, 26; 4:4, 6, 16; 6:9)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.