Ecclesiastes 2:12-23New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Wisdom Excels Folly
12 So I turned to consider wisdom, madness and folly; for what will the man do who will come after the king exceptwhat has already been done?13 And I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.14 The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I know that one fate befalls them both.15 Then I said [a]to myself, “As is the fate of the fool, it will also befall me. Why then have I been extremely wise?” So [b]I said to myself, “This too is vanity.”16 For there is no [c]lasting remembrance of the wise man as with the fool, inasmuch as in the coming days all will be forgotten. And how the wise man and the fool alike die!17 So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was [d]grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind.
The Futility of Labor
18 Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me.19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have [e]control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity.20 Therefore I [f]completely despaired of all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun.21 When there is a man who has labored with wisdom, knowledge and skill, then he gives his [g]legacy to one who has not labored with them. This too is vanity and a great evil.22 For what does a man get in all his labor and in [h]his striving with which he labors under the sun?23 Because all his days his task is painful and grievous; even at night his [i]mind does not rest. This too is vanity.
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