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ECCLESIASTES: CHAPTER 1
The words of the preacher; the son of David; king in Jerusalem:
2 “Vanity of vanities,” says the preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”
3 What profit does mankind have in all their work that they do under the sun?
4 A generation passes away, and a generation comes, but the earth abides forever.
5 The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hastening to its place it rises there again.
6 The wind blows toward the south, then turning toward the north it swirls about continually, and returns again on its course.
7 All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is not full; to the place where the rivers flow, there they return again.
8 All things are full of labor, mankind is not able to tell. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear filled with hearing.
9 The thing that has been, is that which will be, and that which is done, is that which will be done. And there is no new thing under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one might say, “See this, it is new”? It has been already from old time, which was before us.
11 There is no remembrance of earlier things, neither will there be remembrance of things that are to come, among those who will come later.
12 I, the preacher, have been 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 is a grievous task Elohim has given to the children of men to be afflicted with.
14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.
15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight, and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.
16 In my heart I said to myself, “Behold, I have gotten more wisdom than all that have been before me in Jerusalem. Yes, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.”
17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly; I perceived that this also is chasing after the wind,
18 because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge increases sorrow.
ECCLESIASTES: CHAPTER 2
I said in my heart, “Go now, I will test you with mirth. Therefore, enjoy pleasure.” And behold, this also is vanity.
2 I said of laughter, “It is madness,” and of pleasure, “What is it for?”
3 I sought in my heart to give myself to wine, yet acquainting my heart with wisdom, and to lay hold of folly, till I might see what good there might be for the children of men, which they should do under heaven all the days of their lives.
4 I made great works; I built houses for myself; I planted vineyards for myself;
5 I made gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruit.
6 I made for myself pools of water, from which to water my forests of growing trees.
7 I bought male and female slaves, and I had servants born in my house. Also I possessed great flocks and herds, larger than all who were in Jerusalem before me.
8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got for myself male and female singers, and the delights of the children of men: Musical instruments, and many wives.
9 So I was great, and increased more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. And my wisdom also stood by me.
10 And whatsoever my eyes desired, I kept nothing from them; I withheld my heart from no joy! And my heart rejoiced in all my labor, and this was my reward for all my labor.
11 Then I looked upon all the works that my hands had done, and the labor that I had expended, and behold, everything was vanity and chasing after the wind, and there was no profit under the sun.
12 And I turned to consider wisdom, madness and folly, for what can the man do who will come after the king, except that which has already been done?
13 And I saw that wisdom is more excellent than folly, just as light is more excellent than darkness;
14 the eyes of the wise are in their head, but fools walk in darkness. And yet I know that one fate befalls them both.
15 Then I said in my heart, “As it happens to the fool, so it happens even to me; why then was I so wise?” Then I said in my heart, “This also is vanity,
16 for there is no remembrance of the wise more than the fool forever; seeing that in days to come that which is now will all be forgotten, and that both the wise and the fool alike die.”
17 So I hated life, because the work that was done under the sun was grievous to me, for everything is vanity and chasing after wind.
18 Yes, I hated all the labor that I had exerted under the sun, because I should leave it for the man that shall come after me.
19 And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will rule over all of my labor for which I have labored, and through which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This too is vanity.
20 Therefore, my heart despaired of all the labor that I did under the sun,
21 for those who labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, must then give their legacy to one who has not labored with them. This too is vanity and a great evil,
22 for what has anyone for all their labor and desires, with which they have labored under the sun?
23 For all their days are sorrows, and desires, and grief. Yes, even their hearts take no rest in the night, and this too is vanity.
24 There is nothing better for anyone than that they should eat and drink, and that they should make their soul enjoy the good of their labor. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of Elohim,
25 for who can eat, or who can have enjoyment more than that?
26 For Elohim gives to whoever is good of mankind: Wisdom and knowledge and joy. But to the sinner He has given the task of gathering and collecting, so that they may give to those who are good in Elohim’s eyes. This too is vanity and chasing after the wind.
ECCLESIASTES: CHAPTER 3
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under 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; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to get, and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to be silent, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
9 What profit is there to the worker from that in which they toil?
10 I have seen the travail, which Elohim has given to the children of men, with which to occupy themselves.
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that no one can learn all the work that Elohim has done from the beginning even to the end.
12 I know that there is nothing better for them, than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime.
13 Moreover, that everyone should eat and drink, and enjoy all the good of their labor, for this is a gift of Elohim.
14 I know that whatever Elohim does, it will remain forever. Nothing can be added to it, nor can anything be taken away from it, for Elohim does this, so that humanity should revere Him.
15 That which is – has been already, and that which will be, has already been, for Elohim seeks that which has passed.
16 And moreover, I saw under the sun the place of judgment, and that wickedness is there. In the place of righteousness, iniquity is also there.
17 And I said in my heart, “Elohim will judge both the righteous and the wicked,” for there is a time there for every purpose, and for every matter.
18 I also said in my heart concerning the cause of the children of men, “That Elohim has shown them, so that they would see, that they themselves are beasts.”
19 For that which happens to the children of men happens also to the beasts; every single thing. As one dies, so dies the other; indeed, they all have but one breadth, so that mankind has 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 knows the spirit of mankind that goes upward, and the spirit of the beast that goes downward to the earth?
22 Therefore, I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a person should rejoice in their own works, for that is their portion. For who shall bring them to see what shall be after them?
ECCLESIASTES: CHAPTER 4
So I looked again and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed had no comforter, and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no comforter.
2 Therefore I commended the dead, who are already dead, more than the living, which are still alive.
3 Yet better than both of them, are those who had not yet been; who have not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
4 Again I considered all travail, and every good work for which people are envied by their neighbors. This also is vanity and chasing after the wind.
5 Fools fold their hands and eat their own flesh.
6 Better is a handful with quietness, than both hands full with travail and chasing after the wind.
7 Then I looked again to see vanity under the sun:
8 There was an unmarried person; single, having no child or kindred, yet there was no end to all their labor, nor was their eye satisfied with riches. And they never asked, “For whom do I labor and deprive my soul of good?” This also is vanity; yes, it is a grievous task.
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor,
10 for if one falls, the other will lift up their friend, but woe to the one who is alone when they fall, for there is not another to help them up.
11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat, but how can one be warm alone?
12 And if one can prevail against any who are alone, two shall withstand them; and a cord of three is not quickly broken.
13 Better a poor yet wise child, than an old and foolish king who will no longer be enlightened,
14 for out of the prison house he came forth to reign; while they who are born in his kingdom become poor.
15 I considered all the living that walk under the sun, with the second child that will stand up in his stead.
16 There is no end of all the people, even of all that have been before them. They also that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely, this is vanity and chasing after the wind.
ECCLESIASTES: CHAPTER 5
Guard your steps as you go to the house of Elohim, and draw near to hear, rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they consider not that they do evil.
2 Be not hasty with words, or let your heart be hasty to utter anything before Elohim, for Elohim is in heaven and you are upon the earth, therefore let your words be few.
3 For the dream comes through much sorrow, and the voice of a fool is known through many words.
4 When you make a vow to Elohim, do not defer to pay it, for He has no pleasure in fools; pay what you vow!
5 It is better that you should not vow, than that you should vow and not pay.
6 Do not let your mouth cause you to sin, and do not say in the presence of an angel that it was an error. Why should Elohim be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands?
7 For in a multitude of dreams, and in many words, there is emptiness. Rather, revere Elohim.
8 If you see oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of justice and righteousness in the province, marvel not at the matter, for one higher than the high is watching, and they are higher than they.
9 Moreover the profit of the earth is for all; the king himself is served by the field.
10 Those who love silver will not be satisfied with silver, nor those who love abundance, with increase. This too is vanity.
11 When goods increase, they are increased to those who consume them, so what good is there to the owners of it, except to look on with their eyes?
12 The sleep of the worker is sweet, whether they eat little or much, but the abundance of the rich will not allow them to sleep.
13 There is a grievous evil I have seen under the sun: Riches being hoarded by their owner to their hurt,
14 when those riches were lost through unwise dealings; and though they had a son, there was nothing left for his support.
15 As he came forth from his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and will take nothing of his labor, which he may carry away in his hand.
16 And this also is a grievous evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go. And what profit has he who has labored for the wind?
17 All his days also he eats in darkness, with great sorrow, anger and sickness.
18 Behold what I have seen that is good and fitting: For one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all their labor that they do under the sun; all the days of their life, which Elohim gives them, for this is their portion.
19 Every person also, to whom Elohim has given riches and wealth, and has given power to eat of it, and to take their portion, and to rejoice in their labor; this is the gift of Elohim.
20 For they will not often consider the years of their life, because Elohim answers them in the joy of their heart.
ECCLESIASTES: CHAPTER 6
There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it is common among mankind:
2 A person to whom Elohim has given riches and wealth and honor, so that their soul lacks nothing of all that they desire, yet Elohim has not empowered them to eat from it; for a foreigner enjoys it. This is vanity and an evil affliction.
3 If a man fathers a hundred and lives many years, however many they be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things, and he does not even have a proper burial, I say, “Better an untimely birth than he.
4 For he comes in vanity and departs in darkness, and his name shall be covered with darkness.
5 He never sees the sun, or knows anything. He has more rest than the others.
6 Even though he lives a thousand years twice, yet does not see any good things. Do not all go to one place?”
7 All the labor of mankind is for their mouth, and yet the appetite is not satisfied.
8 For what have the wise more than the fool? What do the poor have, knowing how to walk before the living?
9 Better the sight of the eyes, than the wandering of the desire. This also is vanity and striving after the wind.
10 That which has been is named already, and it is known that it is mankind. And they cannot contend with Him Who is mightier than they.
11 Seeing as there are many things that increase vanity, what then is the advantage to mankind?
12 For who knows what is good for mankind during their lifetime; the few years of their vain life, which they spend as a shadow? They will spend them like a shadow, for who can tell anyone what will be after them under the sun?
ECCLESIASTES: CHAPTER 7
A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death is better than the day of one’s birth.
2 It is better to go to a house of mourning, than to go to a house of feasting, because that is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it up in their heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter, for when a face is sad a heart may be content.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, while the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.
5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for anyone to hear the song of fools,
6 for as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool, and this too is vanity.
7 Surely oppression makes a wise person mad, and a bribe destroys the heart.
8 Better is the end of a matter, than the beginning of it, and patience of spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9 Do not be hasty in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.
10 Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?” For you do not inquire wisely concerning this.
11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance, and by it there is profit to those that see the sun,
12 for wisdom is a defense, but the excellency of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to those that have it.
13 Consider the work of Elohim, for who can make straight, that which He has made crooked?
14 In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider: Elohim has set one against the other, to the end that mankind would not discover anything afterward.
15 I have seen everything in the days of my vanity: There are the just that perish in their righteousness, and there are the wicked that prolong their lives in their wickedness.
16 Do not be exceedingly righteous, and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself?
17 Do not be exceedingly wicked, and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time?
18 It is good that you take hold of this; yes, also that you do not withdraw your hand, for the one who reveres Elohim shall come forth of them all.
19 Wisdom strengthens the wise, more than ten with might who are in a city.
20 Surely, there is not a just person upon earth, that does good and never sins.
21 Also, do not take heed unto all the words that are spoken, lest you hear your servant cursing you,
22 for oftentimes also your own heart knows that you likewise have cursed others.
23 All this I have tested with wisdom. I said, “I will be wise,” but it was far from me.
24 That which is far off and exceedingly deep, who can find it out?
25 I applied my heart to know, to search, and to seek out wisdom and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly; even the foolishness of madness,
26 and I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets; whose hands are manacles. Whoever is pleasing to Elohim will escape from her, but the sinner will be taken in by her.
27 “Behold, this I have found,” says the Preacher, “counting one by one to find out the matter,
28 which yet my soul seeks, but I find it not: One man among a thousand have I found, but a woman among all those have I not found.
29 Behold, I have found only this, that Elohim made mankind upright, but they have sought out many inventions.”
ECCLESIASTES: CHAPTER 8
Who is like the wise, and who knows the interpretation of a matter? A person’s wisdom makes their face to shine, and the boldness of their face shall be changed.
2 I say, “Keep the king’s commandment, and that, because of the oath of Elohim.
3 Be not hasty to go out of his sight. Stand not in an evil thing, for he will do whatever pleases him.”
4 Since in the word of the king there is power, who can say unto him, “What are you doing?”
5 Whoever keeps the commandment shall feel no evil thing, and the hearts of the wise discern both time and justice,
6 for to every purpose there is a time and judgment, therefore the misery of a person is great upon them,
7 for they know not that which shall be. For who can tell them when it shall be?
8 No human has that power over The Spirit to retain The Spirit. Neither have they power in the day of death, and there is no release from that war. Neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.
9 All this I have seen, and applied my heart unto every deed that is done under the sun. There is a time when one person rules over another person to their own hurt.
10 And so I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the holy place, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done. This also is vanity.
11 Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, the hearts of the children of men are fully set in them to do evil.
12 Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and their days are prolonged, yet surely I know that it will be well for those who fear Elohim; who revere Him openly.
13 But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will they prolong their days, which are as a shadow, because they fear not before Elohim.
14 There is a vanity done upon the earth, that is, there are the just, unto whom it happens according to the works of the wicked, and there are wicked to whom it happens according to the works of the righteous. I say that this also is vanity.
15 Then I commended mirth, because a human has no better thing under the sun than to eat and to drink and to be merry, for that will abide with them in their labors all the days of their life, which Elohim has given them under the sun.
16 When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth (even though neither day nor night sees sleep),
17 and I beheld all the work of Elohim, I saw that mankind cannot find out all the work that is done under the sun, because though humans labor to seek it out, yet shall they not find further. And even though the wise might say, “I know!” they cannot know all.
ECCLESIASTES: CHAPTER 9
For all this I considered in my heart, even to declare all this: That the righteous and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of Elohim. Nobody knows whether love or hatred awaits them.
2 All things come alike to all. There is one event for the righteous and for the wicked; for the good and clean, and for the unclean; for those who offer sacrifices, and for those who do not sacrifice. As are the good, so are the sinners; as are those who swear, so are they who are afraid to swear.
3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one event for all. Furthermore, the hearts of the children of men are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live. And after that they go to the dead.
4 For whoever is joined to all the living, there is hope, for a live dog is better than a dead lion.
5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; neither have they any more a reward, for the memory of them is forgotten.
6 Also their love, and their hate, and their envy have perished, neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.
7 Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for Elohim has already accepted your works.
8 Let your clothes always be white, and let your head lack no ointment.
9 Enjoy life with the wife whom you love all the days of the life of your vanity, which He has given to you under the sun, for that is your portion in this life and in your labor, under which you toil under the sun.
10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do with all your might, for there is no work or device, nor knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.
11 I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong; neither is bread to the wise, nor riches to those of understanding, nor favor to the skillful, for time and chance happen to them all.
12 For humans also know not their time. Like fish that are caught in a wicked net, and as birds trapped in a snare, so the children of men are ensnared in an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.
13 Also this wisdom have I seen under the sun, and it seemed great to me:
14 There was a small city with few men in it, and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great siege works against it.
15 But there was found in it a poor wise man, and he delivered the city by his wisdom. Yet no one remembered that poor man.
16 So I said, “Wisdom is better than strength, but the poor person’s wisdom is despised, and their words are not heeded.”
17 The words of the wise heard in quiet, are more valuable than the cry of a ruler among fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.
ECCLESIASTES: CHAPTER 10
Dead flies cause the perfumer’s oil to stink, just as a little folly ruins the reputation of the wise and honorable.
2 A wise person’s heart leans toward the right, but a fool’s heart leans toward the left.
3 Also, when the fool walks along the road, their wisdom fails them, and they declare to everyone that they are a fool.
4 If the spirit of a ruler rises up against you, leave not your position, for yielding comforts great offenses.
5 There is an evil I have seen under the sun, like an error that goes forth from the ruler:
6 Folly is given great dignity, while the noble sit in humble places.
7 I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking like servants upon the land.
8 Those that dig pits may fall into them, and whoever breaks through a hedge, may be bitten by a serpent.
9 Those that quarry rocks may be hurt by them, just as those who split wood may be endangered by it.
10 If the axe is dull and edge is not sharpened, then they must exert more strength, but wisdom is profitable to success.
11 Surely the serpent will bite without being charmed, just as the babbler will babble without gain.
12 Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but the lips of fools consume them;
13 the beginning of the words of their mouth is folly, and the end of their talk is wicked madness,
14 yet the fool multiplies words. Nobody can tell what will be; and what shall be after that, who can tell?
15 The toil of the foolish wearies all of them, because they know not how to walk among the population.
16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your prince’s feast in the morning;
17 blessed are you, O land, when your king is of nobility, and your princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness.
18 By much slothfulness the building decays, and through idleness of the hands the roof leaks.
19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes living merry, but money answers everything.
20 Curse not the king; no, not in any thought, and curse not the rich in your bedchamber, for a bird of the air shall carry your voice, and that which has wings will tell of the matter.
ECCLESIASTES: CHAPTER 11
Cast your bread upon the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days.
2 Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what evil shall be upon the earth.
3 If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth, and if the tree falls toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it shall be.
4 Those who watch the wind will not sow, and those who look at the clouds will not reap.
5 Just as you do not know the path of the wind, or how bones grow in the womb of her that is with child, even so you know not the works of Elohim Who makes all things.
6 Sow your seed in the morning, and do not withhold your hand in the evening, for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether they both alike will be good.
7 The light is sweet, and it is a pleasant thing for the eyes to see the sun,
8 but if anyone lives many years, rejoice in them all; yet let them remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many. And everything that comes is vanity.
9 Rejoice, O youth, in your childhood, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. And walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes, but know that for all these things, Elohim will bring you into judgment.
10 Therefore, remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh, for childhood and youth are fleeting.
ECCLESIASTES: CHAPTER 12
Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw near when you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”;
2 while the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, are not darkened, or the clouds return after the rain;
3 in the day that the keepers of the house tremble, and the mighty shall bow themselves; and the grinders cease, because they are few; and those who look out of the windows are darkened;
4 and the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low; and one shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of song will be brought low.
5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be on the way; and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden; and desire shall fail, because mankind goes to their eternal home; and the mourners go about the streets,
6 before the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to Elohim who gave it.
8 “Vanity of vanities,” says the preacher, “all is vanity!”
9 And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.
10 The preacher sought to find acceptable words, and that which was written was upright; even words of truth.
11 The words of the wise are like goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assembly, which are given by one Shepherd.
12 And further, by these, my child, be admonished. The making of many books is endless, and much study is weariness to the flesh.
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Revere Elohim, and keep His commandments. And this is the whole purpose of mankind,
14 for Elohim will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether of good, or whether of evil.
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Lawrence T. Vosen, PhD.