The Question and Answer for the Meaning of Life

All Is Vanity

The words of the Preacher,[a] the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

Vanity[b] of vanities, says the Preacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What does man gain by all the toil
at which he toils under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
and hastens[c] to the place where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
and on its circuits the wind returns.
All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.
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 ages before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things,[d]
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things[e] yet to be
among those who come after.

Vanity[a] of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.

Fear God and Keep His Commandments

Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. 10 The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.

11 The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected 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 study is a weariness of the flesh.

13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.[b] 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, with[c] every secret thing, whether good or evil.

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Footnotes

  1. Ecclesiastes 12:8 The Hebrew term hebel can refer to a “vapor” or “mere breath” (three times in this verse); see note on 1:2
  2. Ecclesiastes 12:13 Or the duty of all mankind
  3. Ecclesiastes 12:14 Or into the judgment on
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