Ecclesiastes 1
New American Bible Revised Edition

1The words of David’s son, Qoheleth, king in Jerusalem:* a

2Vanity of vanities,* says Qoheleth,

vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!b

Vanity of Human Toil

3What profit have we from all the toil

which we toil at under the sun?* c

4One generation departs and another generation comes,

but the world forever stays.

5The sun rises and the sun sets;

then it presses on to the place where it rises.

6Shifting south, then north,

back and forth shifts the wind, constantly shifting its course.

7All rivers flow to the sea,

yet never does the sea become full.

To the place where they flow,

the rivers continue to flow.

8All things are wearisome,*

too wearisome for words.

The eye is not satisfied by seeing

nor has the ear enough of hearing.d

9What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun!e 10Even the thing of which we say, “See, this is new!” has already existed in the ages that preceded us.f 11There is no remembrance of past generations;g nor will future generations be remembered by those who come after them.*

I. Qoheleth’s Investigation of Life

Twofold Introduction. 12I, Qoheleth, was king over Israel in Jerusalem, 13and I applied my mind to search and investigate in wisdom all things that are done under the sun.h

A bad business God has given

to human beings to be busied with.

14I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind.* i

15What is crooked cannot be made straight,

and you cannot count what is not there.*

16j Though I said to myself, “See, I have greatly increased my wisdom beyond all who were before me in Jerusalem, and my mind has broad experience of wisdom and knowledge,” 17yet when I applied my mind to know wisdom and knowledge, madness and folly, I learned that this also is a chase after wind.k

18For in much wisdom there is much sorrow;

whoever increases knowledge increases grief.*

Book Introduction


Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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