Ecclesiastes 2

1I said to myself, “I should have fun—I should enjoy everything the most I can.” But I learned that this is also useless. 2It is foolish to laugh all the time. Having fun doesn’t do any good. 3So I decided to fill my body with wine while I filled my mind with wisdom. I tried this foolishness because I wanted to find a way to be happy. I wanted to see what was good for people to do during their few days of life. 4Then I began doing great things. I built houses, and I planted fields of grapes for myself. 5I planted gardens, and I made parks. I planted all kinds of fruit trees. 6I made pools of water for myself. And I used these pools to water my growing trees. 7I bought men slaves and women slaves. And there were slaves born in my house. I owned many great things. I had herds of cattle and flocks of sheep. I owned more things than any other person in Jerusalem. 8I also gathered silver and gold for myself. I took treasures from kings and their nations. I had men and women singing for me. I had everything anyone could want. 9I became very rich and famous. I was greater than any person that lived in Jerusalem before me. And my wisdom was always there to help me. 10Anything my eyes saw and wanted, I got for myself. My mind was pleased with all the things I did. And this happiness was the reward for all my hard work. 11But then I looked at all the things I had done. I thought about all the hard work I did. I decided it was all a waste of time! It was like trying to catch the wind. There is nothing to gain from all the things we do in this life. 12No person can do more than a king can do. Some king has already done anything you might want to do. ˻And I learned that even the things a king does are a waste of time.˼ So I again began to think about being wise, being foolish, and doing crazy things. 13I saw that wisdom is better than foolishness in the same way that light is better than darkness. 14It is like this: A wise man uses his mind like eyes to see where he is going. But a fool is like someone walking in the dark. But I also saw that the foolish man and the wise man both end the same way. ˻They both die.˼ 15I thought to myself, “The same thing that happens to a foolish person will also happen to me. So why have I tried so hard to become wise?” I said to myself, “Being wise is also useless.” 16The wise man and the foolish person will both die! And people will not remember either the wise man or the foolish person forever. In the future, people will forget everything they did. So both the wise man and the foolish person are really the same. 17This made me hate life. It made me very sad to think that everything in this life is useless, like trying to catch the wind. 18I began to hate all the hard work I had done. I had worked hard, but I saw that the people that live after me will get the things that I worked for. I will not be able to take those things with me. 19Some other person will control everything I worked and studied for. And I don’t know if that person will be wise or foolish. This is also senseless. 20So, I became sad about all the work I had done. 21A person can work hard using all his wisdom and knowledge and skill. But that person will die and other people will get the things he worked for. Those people did not do the work, but they will get everything. That makes me very sad. That is also not fair and is senseless. 22What does a person really have after all his work and struggling in this life? 23All his life he has pain, frustrations, and hard work. Even at night, a person’s mind does not rest. This is also senseless. 24- 25Is there any person that tried to enjoy life more than I have? No! And this is what I learned: The best thing a person can do is eat, drink, and enjoy the work he must do. I also saw that this comes from God. 26If a person does good and pleases God, then God will give that person wisdom, knowledge, and joy. But a person that sins will get only the work of gathering and carrying things. God takes from the bad person and gives to the good person. But all this work is useless. It is like trying to catch the wind.

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