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The Blue Letter Bible

Ecclesiastes 2 :: Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

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The Emptiness of Pleasure
(cf. 1Ki 4:20–28 )
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:1 -

I said to myself, “Go ahead, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy what is good.” But it turned out to be futile.

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:2 -

I said about laughter, “It is madness,” and about pleasure, “What does this accomplish? ”

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:3 -

I explored with my mind the pull of wine on my body ​— ​my mind still guiding me with wisdom — and how to grasp folly, until I could see what is good for people to do under heaven[fn] during the few days of their lives.

The Emptiness of Possessions
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:4 -

I increased my achievements. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself.

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:5 -

I made gardens and parks for myself and planted every kind of fruit tree in them.

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:6 -

I constructed reservoirs for myself from which to irrigate a grove of flourishing trees.

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:7 -

I acquired male and female servants and had slaves who were born in my house. I also owned livestock ​— ​large herds and flocks ​— ​more than all who were before me in Jerusalem.

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:8 -

I also amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I gathered male and female singers for myself, and many concubines, the delights of men.[fn][fn]

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:9 -

So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; my wisdom also remained with me.

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:10 -

All that my eyes desired, I did not deny them. I did not refuse myself any pleasure, for I took pleasure in all my struggles. This was my reward for all my struggles.

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:11 -

When I considered all that I had accomplished[fn] and what I had labored to achieve, I found everything to be futile and a pursuit of the wind.[fn] There was nothing to be gained under the sun.

The Relative Value of Wisdom
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:12 -

Then I turned to consider wisdom, madness, and folly, for what will the king’s successor[fn] be like? He[fn] will do what has already been done.

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:13 -

And I realized that there is an advantage to wisdom over folly, like the advantage of light over darkness.

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:14 -

The wise person has eyes in his head,

but the fool walks in darkness.

Yet I also knew that one fate comes to them both.

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:15 -

So I said to myself, “What happens to the fool will also happen to me. Why then have I been overly wise? ” And I said to myself that this is also futile.

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:16 -

For, just like the fool, there is no lasting remembrance of the wise, since in the days to come both will be forgotten. How is it that the wise person dies just like the fool?

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:17 -

Therefore, I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me. For everything is futile and a pursuit of the wind.

The Emptiness of Work
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:18 -

I hated all my work that I labored at under the sun because I must leave it to the one who comes after me.

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:19 -

And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will take over all my work that I labored at skillfully under the sun. This too is futile.

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:20 -

So I began to give myself over[fn] to despair concerning all my work that I had labored at under the sun.

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:21 -

When there is a person whose work was done with wisdom, knowledge, and skill, and he must give his portion to a person who has not worked for it, this too is futile and a great wrong.

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:22 -

For what does a person get with all his work and all his efforts that he labors at under the sun?

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:23 -

For all his days are filled with grief, and his occupation is sorrowful; even at night, his mind does not rest. This too is futile.

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:24 -

There is nothing better for a person than to eat, drink, and enjoy[fn][fn] his work. I have seen that even this is from God’s hand,

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:25 -

because who can eat and who can enjoy life[fn] apart from him?[fn]

Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:26 -

For to the person who is pleasing in his sight, he gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy; but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and accumulating in order to give to the one who is pleasing in God’s sight. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.

CSB Footnotes
Two Hb mss, LXX, Syr read the sun
LXX, Theod, Syr read and male cupbearers and female cupbearers ; Aq, Tg, Vg read a cup and cups ; Hb obscure
Or many treasures that people delight in
Lit all my works that my hands had done
Or a feeding on wind, or an affliction of spirit ; also in vv. 17,26
Lit the man who comes after the king
Some Hb mss read They
Lit And I turned to cause my heart
Syr, Tg; MT reads There is no good in a person who eats and drinks and enjoys
Lit and his soul sees good
LXX, Theod, Syr read can drink
Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr read me

Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers.

Additional information is provided here.

For more information on this translation, see the CSB Preface.

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