The Futility of Labor

18 So I hated (A)all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, because I must (B)leave it to the man who will come after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be wise or (C)a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is (D)futility. 20 Therefore I [a]completely despaired over all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun. 21 When there is a person who has labored with wisdom, knowledge, and (E)skill, and then (F)gives his [b]legacy to one who has not labored for it; this too is futility and a great evil. 22 For what does a person get in (G)all his labor and in [c]his striving with which he labors under the sun? 23 Because all his days his activity is painful and (H)irritating; even at night his [d]mind (I)does not rest. This too is futility.

24 There is (J)nothing better for a person than to eat and drink, and show [e]himself some good in his trouble. This too I have seen, that it is (K)from the hand of God. 25 For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without [f]Him? 26 For to a person who is good in His sight, (L)He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting so that he may (M)give to one who is good in God’s sight. This too is (N)futility and striving after wind.

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Footnotes

  1. Ecclesiastes 2:20 Lit turned aside my heart to despair
  2. Ecclesiastes 2:21 Lit share
  3. Ecclesiastes 2:22 Lit the striving of his heart
  4. Ecclesiastes 2:23 Lit heart
  5. Ecclesiastes 2:24 Lit his soul
  6. Ecclesiastes 2:25 As in LXX; Heb me