Search Bible
Click for Help   Click for QuickNav   Click for Advanced Search Options
Search NLT
Your Bible Version is the NLT
Go to Top
Link to This Page Cite This Page
Share this page Follow the BLB
Printable Page
Left Context Bar Edge 1Left Context Bar BackgroundLeft Context Bar Edge 2Previous BookPrevious ChapterQuick NavNext ChapterNext BookCopy VersesCopy OptionsShow StrongsFormat by Verse or ParagraphListen to the BibleRed Letter OnRight Context Bar Edge 2Right Context Bar BackgroundRight Context Bar Edge 1
The Blue Letter Bible

Ecclesiastes 2 :: New Living Translation (NLT)

toggle collapse
Choose a new font size and typeface
Listen to the Bible
The Futility of Pleasure
(cf. 1Ki 4:20–28 )
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:1 - I said to myself, “Come on, let’s try pleasure. Let’s look for the ‘good things’ in life.” But I found that this, too, was meaningless.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:2 - So I said, “Laughter is silly. What good does it do to seek pleasure?”
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:3 - After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine. And while still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way, I tried to experience the only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:4 - I also tried to find meaning by building huge homes for myself and by planting beautiful vineyards.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:5 - I made gardens and parks, filling them with all kinds of fruit trees.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:6 - I built reservoirs to collect the water to irrigate my many flourishing groves.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:7 - I bought slaves, both men and women, and others were born into my household. I also owned large herds and flocks, more than any of the kings who had lived in Jerusalem before me.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:8 - I collected great sums of silver and gold, the treasure of many kings and provinces. I hired wonderful singers, both men and women, and had many beautiful concubines. I had everything a man could desire!
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:9 - So I became greater than all who had lived in Jerusalem before me, and my wisdom never failed me.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:10 - Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:11 - But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.
The Wise and the Foolish
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:12 - So I decided to compare wisdom with foolishness and madness (for who can do this better than I, the king?[fn]).
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:13 - I thought, “Wisdom is better than foolishness, just as light is better than darkness.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:14 - For the wise can see where they are going, but fools walk in the dark.” Yet I saw that the wise and the foolish share the same fate.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:15 - Both will die. So I said to myself, “Since I will end up the same as the fool, what’s the value of all my wisdom? This is all so meaningless!”
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:16 - For the wise and the foolish both die. The wise will not be remembered any longer than the fool. In the days to come, both will be forgotten.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:17 - So I came to hate life because everything done here under the sun is so troubling. Everything is meaningless—like chasing the wind.
The Futility of Work
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:18 - I came to hate all my hard work here on earth, for I must leave to others everything I have earned.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:19 - And who can tell whether my successors will be wise or foolish? Yet they will control everything I have gained by my skill and hard work under the sun. How meaningless!
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:20 - So I gave up in despair, questioning the value of all my hard work in this world.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:21 - Some people work wisely with knowledge and skill, then must leave the fruit of their efforts to someone who hasn’t worked for it. This, too, is meaningless, a great tragedy.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:22 - So what do people get in this life for all their hard work and anxiety?
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:23 - Their days of labor are filled with pain and grief; even at night their minds cannot rest. It is all meaningless.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:24 - So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God.
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:25 - For who can eat or enjoy anything apart from him?[fn]
Unchecked Copy BoxEcc 2:26 - God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please him. But if a sinner becomes wealthy, God takes the wealth away and gives it to those who please him. This, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.
NLT Footnotes
The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
As in Greek and Syriac versions; Hebrew reads apart from me?

Holy Bible, New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Full copyright information is provided here. Visit the New Living Translation website.

BLB Searches
Search the Bible
Search NLT

Advanced Options

Other Searches

Multi-Verse Retrieval
Search NLT

Let's Connect
Daily Devotionals

Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

Daily Bible Reading Plans

Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one's mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible in a year.

One-Year Plans

Two-Year Plan

Donate Contact

Blue Letter Bible study tools make reading, searching and studying the Bible easy and rewarding.

Blue Letter Bible is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization