Ecclesiastes 6
International Standard Version Par ▾ 

Enjoyment of Life as a Gift from God

1There exists another misfortune that I have observed on earth, and it is a heavy burden upon human beings: 2a man to whom God gives wealth, riches, and honor, so that he lacks none of his heart’s desires—but God does not give him the capability to enjoy them. Instead, a stranger consumes them. This is pointless and a grievous affliction.

3A man might father a hundred children,a and live for many years, so that the length of his lifeb is long—but if his life does not overflow with goodness, and he doesn’t receive a properc burial, I maintain that stillborn childrend are better off than he is, 4because stillborn childrene arrive in pointlessness, leave in darkness, and their names are covered in darkness. 5Furthermore, though they never saw the sun nor learned anything,f they are more content than the other. 6Even if he lives a thousand years twice over without experiencing the best—aren’t all of them going to the same place?

7Every person works for his own self-interests,g

but his desires remain unsatisfied.

8For what advantage has the wise person over the fool?

What advantage does the poor man have

in knowing how to face life?h

9It is better to focus on what you can see

than to meander after your self-interest;

this also is pointless and a chasing after wind.

10Whatever exists has been named already;i

people know what it meansj to be human—

and a person cannot defeat one who is more powerful than he.

11Because many words lead to pointlessness,

how do people benefit from this?

12Who knows what is best for people in this life, every day of their pointless lives that they pass throughk like a shadow? Who informs people on earth what will come along after them?

a 6:3 The Heb. lacks children
b 6:3 Lit. years
c 6:3 The Heb. lacks proper
d 6:3 Lit. child; and so through v. 5
e 6:3 Lit. because he
f 6:5 The Heb. lacks anything
g 6:7 Lit. for his mouth
h 6:8 Lit. knows to walk before the living
i 6:10 i.e. its destiny is known
j 6:10 Lit. already; it is known
k 6:12 Or they spend

The Holy Bible: International Standard Version® Release 2.1
Copyright © 1996-2012 The ISV Foundation

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