Ecclesiastes 1-4 21st Century King James Version (KJ21)
1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
2 “Vanity of vanities,” saith the Preacher. “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
3 What profit hath a man from all his labor which he doeth under the sun?
4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth for ever.
5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteneth to his place where he arose.
6 The wind goeth toward the south and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
7 All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
8 All things are full of labor; man cannot utter it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done, is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun.
10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, “See, this is new”? It hath been already in olden times which were before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things, neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those that shall come after.
12 I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven. This sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.
14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight, and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.
16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, “Lo, I have come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem; yea, my heart had great experience in wisdom and knowledge.”
17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly. But I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.
18 For in much wisdom is much grief, and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
2 I said in mine heart, “Go now, I will test thee with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure.” And behold, this also is vanity.
2 I said of laughter: “It is madness”; and of mirth: “What good doeth it?”
3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine (yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom), and to lay hold on folly, until I might see what was good for the sons of men, which they should do under heaven all the days of their life.
4 I made me great work, I builded me houses, I planted me vineyards.
5 I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruit.
6 I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees.
7 I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house. Also I had great possessions of great and small cattle, above all that were in Jerusalem before me.
8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces. I got me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments, and those of all sorts.
9 So I was great and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me.
10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them; I withheld not my heart from any joy, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor, and this was my portion from all my labor.
11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do; and behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.
12 Then I turned myself to behold wisdom and madness and folly; for what can the man do that cometh after the king? Even that which hath been already done.
13 Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly as far as light excelleth darkness.
14 The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walketh in darkness. And I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.
15 Then I said in my heart, “As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me, and why was I then more wise?” Then I said in my heart, “This also is vanity.”
16 For there is no more remembrance of the wise for ever than of the fool, since all that now is shall be forgotten in the days to come. And how dieth the wise man? As the fool!
17 Therefore I hated life, because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me. For all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
18 Yea, I hated all my labor which I had done under the sun, because I must leave it unto the man who shall be after me.
19 And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? Yet shall he have rule over all my labor wherein I have labored, and wherein I have shown myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.
20 Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labor which I had done under the sun.
21 For a man may labor in wisdom and in knowledge and in equity; yet to a man who hath not labored therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.
22 For what hath man for all his labor and for the vexation of his heart wherewith he hath labored under the sun?
23 For all his days are sorrows and his travail grief. Yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.
24 There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labor. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.
25 For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto more than I?
26 For God giveth to a man what is good in His sight: wisdom and knowledge and joy; but to the sinner He giveth travail to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.
3 To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
9 What profit hath he that worketh in that for which he laboreth?
10 I have seen the travail which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time. Also He hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice and to do good in his life,
13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor: it is the gift of God.
14 I know that whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. And God doeth it, that men should fear before Him.
15 That which hath been is now, and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.
16 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.
17 I said in mine heart, “God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.”
18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other. Yea, they have all one breath, so that man hath no preeminence above a beast, for all is vanity.
20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
22 Therefore I perceived that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his portion; for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?
4 So I returned and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: And behold, the tears of those who were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power, but they had no comforter.
2 Therefore I praised the dead who are already dead more than the living who are yet alive;
3 yea, better than both of them is he who hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
4 Again, I considered all travail and every right work for which a man is envied by his neighbor. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.
5 The fool foldeth his hands together and eateth his own flesh.
6 Better is a handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of the spirit.
7 Again I returned, and I saw vanity under the sun:
8 There is one who is alone, and there is not a second; yea, he hath neither child nor brother, yet there is no end to all his labor. Neither is his eye satisfied with riches; nor saith he, “For whom do I labor and bereave my soul of good?” This is also vanity; yea, it is a sore travail.
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him that is alone when he falleth, for he hath not another to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, then they have heat, but how can one be warm alone?
12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threestrand cord is not quickly broken.
13 Better is a poor and wise child, than an old and foolish king who will no more be admonished.
14 For out of prison he cometh to reign; whereas also he that is born in his kingdom becometh poor.
15 I considered all the living who walk under the sun, with the second child who shall stand up in his stead.
16 There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them; they also who came after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.