Ecclesiastes 1-6 Young’s Literal Translation

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All Is Vanity

1 1  Words of a preacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: 2  Vanity of vanities, said the Preacher, Vanity of vanities: the whole 'is' vanity. 3  What advantage 'is' to man by all his labour that he laboureth at under the sun?

4  A generation is going, and a generation is coming, and the earth to the age is standing. 5  Also, the sun hath risen, and the sun hath gone in, and unto its place panting it is rising there. 6  Going unto the south, and turning round unto the north, turning round, turning round, the wind is going, and by its circuits the wind hath returned. 7  All the streams are going unto the sea, and the sea is not full; unto a place whither the streams are going, thither they are turning back to go. 8  All these things are wearying; a man is not able to speak, the eye is not satisfied by seeing, nor filled is the ear from hearing.

9  What 'is' that which hath been? it 'is' that which is, and what 'is' that which hath been done? it 'is' that which is done, and there is not an entirely new thing under the sun. 10  There is a thing of which 'one' saith: 'See this, it 'is' new!' already it hath been in the ages that were before us! 11  There is not a remembrance of former 'generations'; and also of the latter that are, there is no remembrance of them with those that are at the last.

The Experience of the Preacher

12  I, a preacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13  And I have given my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom concerning all that hath been done under the heavens. It 'is' a sad travail God hath given to the sons of man to be humbled by it. 14  I have seen all the works that have been done under the sun, and lo, the whole 'is' vanity and vexation of spirit! 15  A crooked thing 'one' is not able to make straight, and a lacking thing is not able to be numbered. 16  I—I spake with my heart, saying, 'I, lo, I have magnified and added wisdom above every one who hath been before me at Jerusalem, and my heart hath seen abundantly wisdom and knowledge. 17  And I give my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I have known that even this 'is' vexation of spirit; 18  for, in abundance of wisdom 'is' abundance of sadness, and he who addeth knowledge addeth pain.'

2 1  I said in my heart, 'Pray, come, I try thee with mirth, and look thou on gladness;' and lo, even it 'is' vanity. 2  Of laughter I said, 'Foolish!' and of mirth, 'What 'is' this it is doing?' 3  I have sought in my heart to draw out with wine my appetite, (and my heart leading in wisdom), and to take hold on folly till that I see where 'is' this—the good to the sons of man of that which they do under the heavens, the number of the days of their lives. 4  I made great my works, I builded for me houses, I planted for me vineyards. 5  I made for me gardens and paradises, and I planted in them trees of every fruit. 6  I made for me pools of water, to water from them a forest shooting forth trees. 7  I got men-servants, and maid-servants, and sons of the house were to me; also, I had much substance—herd and flock—above all who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8  I gathered for me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces. I prepared for me men-singers and women-singers, and the luxuries of the sons of man—a wife and wives. 9  And I became great, and increased above every one who had been before me in Jerusalem; also, my wisdom stood with me. 10  And all that mine eyes asked I kept not back from them; I withheld not my heart from any joy, for my heart rejoiced because of all my labour, and this hath been my portion, from all my labour, 11  and I have looked on all my works that my hands have done, and on the labour that I have laboured to do, and lo, the whole 'is' vanity and vexation of spirit, and there is no advantage under the sun!

12  And I turned to see wisdom, and madness, and folly, but what 'is' the man who cometh after the king? that which 'is' already—they have done it! 13  And I saw that there is an advantage to wisdom above folly, like the advantage of the light above the darkness. 14  The wise!—his eyes 'are' in his head, and the fool in darkness is walking, and I also knew that one event happeneth with them all; 15  and I said in my heart, 'As it happeneth with the fool, it happeneth also with me, and why am I then more wise?' And I spake in my heart, that also this 'is' vanity: 16  That there is no remembrance to the wise—with the fool—to the age, for that which 'is' already, 'in' the days that are coming is all forgotten, and how dieth the wise? with the fool!

17  And I have hated life, for sad to me 'is' the work that hath been done under the sun, for the whole 'is' vanity and vexation of spirit. 18  And I have hated all my labour that I labour at under the sun, because I leave it to a man who is after me. 19  And who knoweth whether he is wise or foolish? yet he doth rule over all my labour that I have laboured at, and that I have done wisely under the sun! this also 'is' vanity. 20  And I turned round to cause my heart to despair concerning all the labour that I laboured at under the sun. 21  For there is a man whose labour 'is' in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity, and to a man who hath not laboured therein he giveth it—his portion! Even this 'is' vanity and a great evil. 22  For what hath been to a man by all his labour, and by the thought of his heart that he laboured at under the sun? 23  For all his days are sorrows, and his travail sadness; even at night his heart hath not lain down; this also 'is' vanity. 24  There is nothing good in a man who eateth, and hath drunk, and hath shewn his soul good in his labour. This also I have seen that it 'is' from the hand of God. 25  For who eateth and who hasteth out more than I? 26  For to a man who 'is' good before Him, He hath given wisdom, and knowledge, and joy; and to a sinner He hath given travail, to gather and to heap up, to give to the good before God. Even this 'is' vanity and vexation of spirit.

A Time for Everything

3 1  To everything—a season, and a time to every delight under the heavens: 2  A time to bring forth, And a time to die. A time to plant, And a time to eradicate the planted. 3  A time to slay, 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 skip. 5  A time to cast away stones, And a time to heap up stones. A time to embrace, And a time to be far from embracing. 6  A time to seek, And a time to destroy. 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 of war, And a time of peace. 9  What advantage hath the doer in that which he is labouring at? 10  I have seen the travail that God hath given to the sons of man to be humbled by it.

11  The whole He hath made beautiful in its season; also, that knowledge He hath put in their heart without which man findeth not out the work that God hath done from the beginning even unto the end. 12  I have known that there is no good for them except to rejoice and to do good during their life, 13  yea, even every man who eateth and hath drunk and seen good by all his labour, it 'is' a gift of God. 14  I have known that all that God doth is to the age, to it nothing is to be added, and from it nothing is to be withdrawn; and God hath wrought that they do fear before Him. 15  What is that which hath been? already it is, and that which 'is' to be hath already been, and God requireth that which is pursued.

The Injustice of Life

16  And again, I have seen under the sun the place of judgment—there 'is' the wicked; and the place of righteousness—there 'is' the wicked. 17  I said in my heart, 'The righteous and the wicked doth God judge, for a time 'is' to every matter and for every work there.' 18  I said in my heart concerning the matter of the sons of man that God might cleanse them, so as to see that they themselves 'are' beasts. 19  For an event 'is to' the sons of man, and an event 'is to' the beasts, even one event 'is' to them; as the death of this, so 'is' the death of that; and one spirit 'is' to all, and the advantage of man above the beast is nothing, for the whole 'is' vanity. 20  The whole are going unto one place, the whole have been from the dust, and the whole are turning back unto the dust. 21  Who knoweth the spirit of the sons of man that is going up on high, and the spirit of the beast that is going down below to the earth? 22  And I have seen that there is nothing better than that man rejoice in his works, for it 'is' his portion; for who doth bring him in to look on that which is after him?

4 1  And I have turned, and I see all the oppressions that are done under the sun, and lo, the tear of the oppressed, and they have no comforter; and at the hand of their oppressors 'is' power, and they have no comforter. 2  And I am praising the dead who have already died above the living who are yet alive. 3  And better than both of them 'is' he who hath not yet been, in that he hath not seen the evil work that hath been done under the sun.

4  And I have seen all the labour, and all the benefit of the work, because for it a man is the envy of his neighbour. Even this 'is' vanity and vexation of spirit. 5  The fool is clasping his hands, and eating his own flesh: 6  'Better 'is' a handful 'with' quietness, than two handfuls 'with' labour and vexation of spirit.'

7  And I have turned, and I see a vain thing under the sun: 8  There is one, and there is not a second; even son or brother he hath not, and there is no end to all his labour! His eye also is not satisfied with riches, and 'he saith not', 'For whom am I labouring and bereaving my soul of good?' This also is vanity, it is a sad travail. 9  The two 'are' better than the one, in that they have a good reward by their labour. 10  For if they fall, the one raiseth up his companion, but wo to the one who falleth and there is not a second to raise him up! 11  Also, if two lie down, then they have heat, but how hath one heat? 12  And if the one strengthen himself, the two stand against him; and the threefold cord is not hastily broken.

13  Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king, who hath not known to be warned any more. 14  For from a house of prisoners he hath come out to reign, for even in his own kingdom he hath been poor. 15  I have seen all the living, who are walking under the sun, with the second youth who doth stand in his place; 16  there is no end to all the people, to all who were before them; also, the latter rejoice not in him. Surely this also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

The Folly of Rash Vows

5 1  Keep thy feet when thou goest unto a house of God, and draw near to hear rather than to give of fools the sacrifice, for they do not know they do evil. 2  Cause not thy mouth to hasten, and let not thy heart hasten to bring out a word before God, for God is in the heavens, and thou on the earth, therefore let thy words be few. 3  For the dream hath come by abundance of business, and the voice of a fool by abundance of words.

4  When thou vowest a vow to God, delay not to complete it, for there is no pleasure in fools; that which thou vowest—complete. 5  Better that thou do not vow, than that thou dost vow and dost not complete. 6  Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin, nor say before the messenger, that 'it 'is' an error,' why is God wroth because of thy voice, and hath destroyed the work of thy hands? 7  For, in the abundance of dreams both vanities and words abound; but fear thou God.

The Vanity of Life

8  If oppression of the poor, and violent taking away of judgment and righteousness thou seest in a province, do not marvel at the matter, for a higher than the high is observing, and high ones 'are' over them.

9  And the abundance of a land is for all. A king for a field is served. 10  Whoso is loving silver is not satisfied 'with' silver, nor he who is in love with stores 'with' increase. Even this 'is' vanity. 11  In the multiplying of good have its consumers been multiplied, and what benefit 'is' to its possessor except the sight of his eyes? 12  Sweet 'is' the sleep of the labourer whether he eat little or much; and the sufficiency of the wealthy is not suffering him to sleep. 13  There is a painful evil I have seen under the sun: wealth kept for its possessor, for his evil. 14  And that wealth hath been lost in an evil business, and he hath begotten a son and there is nothing in his hand! 15  As he came out from the belly of his mother, naked he turneth back to go as he came, and he taketh not away anything of his labour, that doth go in his hand. 16  And this also 'is' a painful evil, just as he came, so he goeth, and what advantage 'is' to him who laboureth for wind? 17  Also all his days in darkness he consumeth, and sadness, and wrath, and sickness abound.

18  Lo, that which I have seen: 'It is' good, because beautiful, to eat, and to drink, and to see good in all one's labour that he laboureth at under the sun, the number of the days of his life that God hath given to him, for it 'is' his portion. 19  Every man also to whom God hath given wealth and riches, and hath given him power to eat of it, and to accept his portion, and to rejoice in his labour, this is a gift of God. 20  For he doth not much remember the days of his life, for God is answering through the joy of his heart.

6 1  There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it 'is' great on man: 2  A man to whom God giveth wealth, and riches, and honour, and there is no lack to his soul of all that he desireth, and God giveth him not power to eat of it, but a stranger eateth it; this 'is' vanity, and it 'is' an evil disease. 3  If a man doth beget a hundred, and live many years, and is great, because they are the days of his years, and his soul is not satisfied from the goodness, and also he hath not had a grave, I have said, 'Better than he 'is' the untimely birth.' 4  For in vanity he came in, and in darkness he goeth, and in darkness his name is covered, 5  Even the sun he hath not seen nor known, more rest hath this than that. 6  And though he had lived a thousand years twice over, yet good he hath not seen; to the same place doth not every one go?

7  All the labour of man 'is' for his mouth, and yet the soul is not filled. 8  For what advantage 'is' to the wise above the fool? What to the poor who knoweth to walk before the living? 9  Better 'is' the sight of the eyes than the going of the soul. This also 'is' vanity and vexation of spirit. 10  What 'is' that which hath been? already is its name called, and it is known that it 'is' man, and he is not able to contend with him who is stronger than he.

11  For there are many things multiplying vanity; what advantage 'is' to man? 12  For who knoweth what 'is' good for a man in life, the number of the days of the life of his vanity, and he maketh them as a shadow? for who declareth to man what is after him under the sun?

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