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Ecclesiastes 1:12-18 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Limitations of Wisdom

12 I, the Teacher, have been[a] king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I applied my mind to examine and explore through wisdom all that is done under heaven. God has given people[b] this miserable task to keep them occupied. 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun and have found everything to be futile, a pursuit of the wind.[c]

15 What is crooked cannot be straightened;
what is lacking cannot be counted.

16 I said to myself, “See, I have amassed wisdom far beyond all those who were over Jerusalem before me, and my mind has thoroughly grasped[d] wisdom and knowledge.” 17 I applied my mind to know wisdom and knowledge, madness and folly; I learned that this too is a pursuit of the wind.

18 For with much wisdom is much sorrow;
as knowledge increases, grief increases.

Footnotes:

  1. 1:12 Or Teacher, was
  2. 1:13 Or given the descendants of Adam
  3. 1:14 Or a feeding on wind, or an affliction of spirit; also in v. 17
  4. 1:16 Or discerned
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

Ecclesiastes 1:12-18 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Futility of Seeking Wisdom

12 I, the Teacher,[a] when king over Israel in Jerusalem, 13 applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with. 14 I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and a chasing after wind.[b]

15 What is crooked cannot be made straight,
    and what is lacking cannot be counted.

16 I said to myself, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I applied my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a chasing after wind.[c]

18 For in much wisdom is much vexation,
and those who increase knowledge increase sorrow.

Footnotes:

  1. Ecclesiastes 1:12 Heb Qoheleth, traditionally rendered Preacher
  2. Ecclesiastes 1:14 Or a feeding on wind. See Hos 12.1
  3. Ecclesiastes 1:17 Or a feeding on wind. See Hos 12.1
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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