1The words of the Gatherer, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
2 Only breath, says the Gatherer,
only breath! All is breath.
3 What does man win by all the work
at which he works under the sun?
4 A lifespring goes, and a lifespring comes,
but the earth stands forever.
5 The sun also rises, and the sun goes down,
and speeds to the stead where it rises.
6 The wind blows to the south
and goes about to the north;
about and about goes the wind,
and on its loops the wind comes back.
7 All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the stead where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
8 All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not sated with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there a thing of which it is said,
'See, this is new'?
It has been already
in the times before us.
11 There is no bethoughtfulness of former things,
nor will there be any bethoughtfulness
of later things yet to be
among those who come after.
12 I the Gatherer have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I betook my heart to seek and to find out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unblissful business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 14 I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is breath and a tilling after wind.
15 What is crooked cannot be made straight,
and what is lacking cannot be reckoned.
16 I said in my heart, "I have gotten great wisdom, overtaking all who were over Jerusalem before me, and my heart has swelled with great skillfulness in wisdom and knowledge." 17 And I betook my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and lackwitness. I saw that this also is but a tilling after wind.
18 For in much wisdom is much worry,
and he who deepens knowledge deepens sorrow.
1 I said in my heart, "Come now, I will find you out with gladness; brook yourself." But behold, this also was breath. 2 I said of laughter, "It is mad," and of gladness, "What use is it?" 3 I searched with my heart how to give myself to wine—my heart still leading me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on lackwitness, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. 4 I made great works. I built houses and planted wineyards for myself. 5 I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of berry trees. 6 I made myself pools from which to water the wood of growing trees. 7 I bought male and female thralls, and had thralls who were born in my house. I had also great belongings of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the hoard of kings and shires. I got singers, both men and women, and many bedfellows, the thrill of the sons of man.
9 So I became great and overtook all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom stood with me. 10 And whatever my eyes wished I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no gladness, for my heart found gladness in all my work, and this was my meed for all my work. 11 Then I looked at all that my hands had done and the work I had worked in doing it, and behold, all was breath and a tilling after wind, and there was nothing to be got under the sun.
12 So I turned to bethink of wisdom and madness and lackwitness. For what can the man do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done. 13 Then I saw that there is more yield in wisdom than in lackwitness, as there is more yield in light than in darkness. 14 The wise man has his eyes in his head, but the lackwit walks in darkness. And yet I besaw that the same hap happens to all of them. 15 Then I said in my heart, "What happens to the lackwit will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise?" And I said in my heart that this also is breath. 16 For of the wise as of the lackwit there is no withstanding bethoughtfulness, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How the wise dies just like the lackwit! 17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was ruthless to me, for all is breath and a tilling after wind.
18 I hated all my work in which I work under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, 19 and who knows whether he will be wise or a lackwit? Yet he will be head of all which I worked for and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is breath. 20 So I wended about and gave my heart up to hopelessness over all the work of my deeds under the sun, 21 because sometimes a person who has worked with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be brooked by someone who did not work for it. This also is breath and a great evil. 22 What has a man from all the work and tilling of heart with which he works beneath the sun? 23 For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a worry. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is breath.
24 There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink and find goodness in his work. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, 25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have more than me? 26 For to the one who gladens him God has given wisdom and knowledge and mirth, but to the sinner he has given the business of bringing and gathering, only to give to one who gladens God. This also is breath and a tilling after wind.
1 For everything there is a yeartide, and a time for every thing under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what 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 wirl;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to hug, and a time to forbear from hugging;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep the tung still, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for frith.
9 What yield has the worker from his work? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything lovely in its time. Also, he has put everlastingness into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I besaw that there is nothing better for them than to be mirthful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take gladness in all his work—this is God's gift to man.
14 I besaw that whatever God does lasts forever; nothing can be onput to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that folk fear before him. 15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.
16 Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the stead of fairness, even there was wickedness, and in the stead of righteousness, even there was wickedness. 17 I said in my heart, God will deem the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for everything and for every work. 18 I said in my heart with heed to the children of man that God is finding them out that they may see that they themselves are but deer. 19 For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the deer is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no behoof over the deer, for all is breath. 20 All go to one stead. All are from the dust, and wend to dust again. 21 Who knows whether the ghost of man goes upward and the ghost of the deer goes down into the earth? 22 So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should be glad in his work, for that is his lot. Who can bring him to see what will be after him?
1 Again I saw all the threats that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the threatened, and they had no one to frover them! On the side of their threateners there was might, and there was no one to frover them. 2 And I thought the dead who are already dead more lucky than the living who are still alive. 3 But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.
4 Then I saw that all work and all skill in working come from a man's hateful look of his neighbor. This also is breath and a tilling after wind.
5 The lackwit folds his hands and eats his own flesh.
6 Better is a handful of stillness than two hands full of work and a tilling after wind.
7 Again, I saw breath under the sun: 8 one man who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his work, and his eyes are never sated with riches, so that he never asks, "For whom am I working and bereaving myself of gladness?" This also is breath and an unblissful business.
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good meed for their work. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might overtake against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold string is not quickly broken.
13 Better was an earm and wise youth than an old and witless king who no longer knew how to take rede. 14 For he went from the gallows to the kingseat, though in his own kingdom he had been born earm. 15 I saw all the living who go about under the sun, along with that youth who was to stand in the king's stead. 16 There was no end of all the folk, all of whom he led. Yet those who come later will not be glad in him. Truely this also is breath and a tilling after wind.
1 Ward your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the holywight of lackwits, for they do not know that they are doing evil. 2 Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be swift to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. 3 For a dream comes with much business, and a lackwit's voice with many words.
4 When you swear an oath to God, do not forestall in yielding it, for he has no gladness in lackwits. Yield what you swear. 5 It is better that you should not swear than that you should swear and not yield. 6 Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the sender that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your steven and unbuild the work of your hands? 7 For when dreams swell and words grow many, there is breath; but God is the one you must fear.
8 If you see in a shire the threatening of the earm and the breach of fairness and righteousness, do not be bewildered at the thing, for the high sheriff is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them. 9 But this is a yield for a land in every way: a king betook to tilled fields.
10 He who loves silver will not be sated with silver, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is breath. 11 When goods swell, they swell who eat them, and what behoof has their owner but to see them with his eyes? 12 Sweet is the sleep of a worker, whether he eats little or much, but the full belly of the rich will not let him sleep.
13 There is a ruthless evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his harm, 14 and those riches were lost in a bad dare. And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. 15 As he came from his mother's womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his work that he may bear away in his hand. 16 This also is a ruthless evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what yield is there to him who works for the wind? 17 Moreover, all his days he eats in darkness in much worry and sickness and anger.
18 Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find goodness in all the work with which one works under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. 19 Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and belongings and the might to brook them, and to intake his lot and be glad in his work—this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not much bethink the days of his life because God keeps him busy with mirth in his heart.
1 There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind: 2 a man to whom God gives wealth, worth, and belongings, so that he lacks nothing of all that he wishes, yet God does not give him might to brook them, but a guest enjoys them. This is breath; it is a ruthless evil. 3 If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul is not sated with life's good things, and he also has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. 4 For it comes in breath and goes in darkness, and in darkness its name is overlaid. 5 Moreover, it has not seen the sun or known anything, yet it finds rest rather than he. 6 Even though he should live a thousand years twice over, yet see no good—do not all go to the one stead?
7 All the work of man is for his mouth, yet his hunger is not filled. 8 For what behoof has the wise man over the lackwit? And what does the earm man have who knows how to lead himself before the living? 9 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the hunger: this also is breath and a tilling after wind.
10 Whatever has come to be has already been named, and it is known what man is, and that he is not able to moot with one stronger than he. 11 The more words, the more breath, and what is the behoof to man? 12 For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his life of breath, which he outlays like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun?
1 A good name is better than worthy salve,
and the day of death than the day of birth.
2 It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of merrymaking,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will lay it to heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of look the heart is made glad.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of lackwits is in the house of mirth.
5 It is better for a man to hear the chide of the wise
than to hear the song of lackwits.
6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot,
so is the laughter of the lackwits;
this also is breath.
7 Surely threatening drives the wise into madness,
and a gift unbuilds the heart.
8 Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,
and the forbearer of mind is better than the proud of mind.
9 Be not quick in your mind to become angry,
for anger rests in the bosom of lackwits.
10 Say not, "Why were the former days better than these?"
For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.
11 Wisdom is good with a brithright,
a behoof to those who see the sun.
12 For the ward of wisdom is like the ward of money,
and the behoof of knowledge is that wisdom forlasts the life of him who has it.
13 Bethink the work of God:
who can make straight what he has made crooked?
14 In the day of good luck be merry, and in the day of hardship bethink: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.
15 In my life of breath I have seen everything. There is a righteous man who forfares in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who stretches out his life in his evildoing. 16 Be not overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise. Why should you unbuild yourself? 17 Be not overly wicked, neither be a lackwit. Why should you die before your time? 18 It is good that you should take hold of this, and from that withhold not your hand, for the one who fears God shall come out from both of them.
19 Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten leaders who are in a borough.
20 Truly there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.
21 Do not take to heart all the things that folks say, lest you hear your knave cursing you. 22 Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.
23 All this I have found out by wisdom. I said, "I will be wise," but it was far from me. 24 That which has been is far off, and deep, very deep; who can find it out?
25 I wended my heart to know and to find out and to seek wisdom and the ground of things, and to know the wickedness of lackwitness and the recklessness that is madness. 26 And I find something more bitter than death: the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters. He who gladens God gets away from her, but the sinner is taken by her. 27 Behold, this is what I found, says the Gatherer, while onputting one thing to another to find the ground of things— 28 which my soul has sought again and again, but I have not found. One man among a thousand I found, but a woman among all these I have not found. 29 See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many frames.
1 Who is like the wise?
And who knows the layout of a thing?
A man's wisdom makes his look shine,
and the hardness of his look is shifted.
2 I bid you to keep the king's hest, because of God's oath to him. 3 Be not swift to go from his thereness. Do not take your stand in an evil thing, for he does whatever gladens him. 4 For the word of the king is mighty, and who may say to him, "What are you doing?" 5 Whoever keeps a hest will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the meet time and the upright way. 6 For there is a time and a way for everything, although man's evil lies heavy on him. 7 For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be? 8 No man has the might to keep the ghost, or might over the day of death. There is no unload from war, nor will wickedness unfree those who are given to it. 9 All this I have seen while betaking my heart to all that is done under the sun, when man had might over man to his harm.
10 Then I saw the wicked buried, who were going in and out of the holy stead and were blessed in the borough where they had done such things. This also is breath. 11 Because the doom against an evil deed is not ferried out speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. 12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and forlongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him. 13 But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he forlong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God.
14 There is a breath which is done on earth, that there are righteous folk to whom it happens by the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked folk to whom it happens by the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is breath. 15 Then I behested mirth, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be glad, for this shall go with him in his work through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.
16 When I betook my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on earth, how neither day nor night do one's eyes see sleep, 17 then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may work in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man thinks he knows, he cannot find it out.
1 But all this I laid to heart, going over everything, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God. Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before him. 2 It is the same for all, since the same hap happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who gives holywights and him who does not give holywights. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. 3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same hap happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. 4 But he who is linked with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead manecat. 5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more meed, for the thought of them is forgotten. 6 Their love and their hate and their hateful look have already forfaired, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun.
7 Go, eat your bread with mirth, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already intook what you do.
8 Let your clothes be always white. Let not salve be lacking on your head.
9 Live gladly life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your life of breath that he has given you under the sun, because that is your deal in life and in your work at which you work under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in the grave, to which you are going.
11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the fight to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the men of understanding, nor worth to those with knowledge, but time and luck happen to them all. 12 For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are latched in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it swiftly falls upon them.
13 I have also seen this byspel of wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great to me. 14 There was a little borough with few men in it, and a great king came against it and beset it, building great setworks against it. 15 But there was found in it a earm, wise man, and he by his wisdom set the city free. Yet no one again thought of that poor man. 16 But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the earm man's wisdom is behated and his words are not heard.
17 The words of the wise heard in stillness are better than the shouting of a leader among lackwits. 18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner unbuilds much good.
1 Dead flies make the stencher's salve give off a smell;
so a little lackwitness outweighs wisdom and worth.
2 A wise man's heart is at his right hand,
but a lackwit's heart is at the left.
3 Even when the lackwit walks on the road, his wisdom bewrays him,
and he says to everyone that he is a lackwit.
4 If the anger of the leader rises against you, do not leave your stead,
for healing will put great harms to rest.
5 There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, as it were a wrong going forth from the leader: 6 lackwitness is set in many high steads, and the rich sit in a low stead. 7 I have seen thralls on horses, and heads of shire walking on the ground like thralls.
8 He who digs a pit will fall into it,
and a snake will bite him who breaks through a wall.
9 He who moves stones away is hurt by them,
and he who cleaves wood is beharmed by them.
10 If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge,
he must use more strength,
but wisdom helps one to win.
11 If the snake bites before it is bewitched,
there is no behoof to the witch.
12 The words of a wise man's mouth win him worth,
but the lips of a lackwit withtake him.
13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is lackwitness,
and the end of his talk is evil madness.
14 A lackwit also is full of words,
though no man knows what is to be,
and who can tell him what will be after him?
15 The work of a lackwit wearies him,
for he does not know the way to the borough.
16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child,
and your heads of shire eat in the morning!
17 Happy are you, O land, when your king is the son of highbreds,
and your heads of shire eat at the right time,
for strength, and not for drunkenness!
18 Through sloth the roof sinks in,
and through idleness the house leaks.
19 Bread is made for laughter,
and wine gladdens life,
and yield answers everything.
20 Even in your thoughts, do not curse the king,
nor in your bedroom curse the rich,
for a bird of the air will carry your steven,
or some winged wight tell the thing.
1 Throw your bread upon the waters,
for you will find it after many days.
2 Give a share to seven, or even to eight,
for you know not what evil may happen on earth.
3 If the clouds are full of rain,
they empty themselves on the earth,
and if a tree falls to the south or to the north,
in the stead where the tree falls, there it will lie.
4 He who overwatches the wind will not sow,
and he who looks at the clouds will not reap.
5 As you do not know the way the ghost comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.
6 In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will do well, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.
7 Light is sweet, and it is lovely for the eyes to see the sun.
8 So if a man lives many years, let him be glad in them all; but let him bear in mind that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is breath.
9 Be glad, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart gladden you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you to your doom.
10 Take sorrow away from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh, for youth and the dawn of life are breath.
1 Keep in mind also your Maker in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, "I have no happiness in them"; 2 before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds come back after the rain, 3 in the day when the keepers of the house shake, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders stop because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, 4 and the doors on the street are shut—when the pitch of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the pitch of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low— 5 they are afraid also of what is high, and fears are in the way; the nut tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and craving does not win, because man is going to his everlasting home, and the mourners go about the streets— 6 before the silver string is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the cup is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the waterchest, 7 and the dust comes back to the earth as it was, and the ghost comes back to God who gave it. 8 Only breath, says the Gatherer; all is breath.
9 Besides being wise, the Gatherer also taught the people knowledge, weighing and learning and putting together many sayings with great care. 10 The Gatherer sought to find words of mirth, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.
11 The words of the wise are like goads, and like fastened nails are the gathered sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. 12 My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much learning is a weariness of the flesh.
13 Let us hear the end of the thing: Fear God and keep his behests, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into doom, with every hidden thing, whether it is good, or whether it is evil.