The Futility of Life
1 There is another evil I have seen under the sun, and it weighs heavily upon mankind: 2 God gives a man riches, wealth, and honor, so that he lacks nothing his heart desires; but God does not allow him to enjoy them. Instead, a stranger will enjoy them. This is futile and a grievous affliction.
3 A man may father a hundred children and live for many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he is unsatisfied with his prosperity and does not even receive a proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. 4 For a stillborn child enters in futility and departs in darkness, and his name is shrouded in obscurity. 5 The child, though neither seeing the sun nor knowing anything, has more rest than that man, 6 even if he lives a thousand years twice over but fails to enjoy his prosperity. Do not all go to the same place?
7 All a man’s labor is for his mouth,
yet his appetite is never satisfied. a
8 What advantage, then, has the wise man over the fool? What gain comes to the poor man who knows how to conduct himself before others? 9 Better what the eye can see than the wandering of desire. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.
10 Whatever exists was named long ago, and what happens to a man is foreknown; but he cannot contend with one stronger than he. 11 For the more words, the more futility—and how does that profit anyone? 12 For who knows what is good for a man during the few days in which he passes through his fleeting life like a shadow? Who can tell a man what will come after him under the sun?
7 a Hebrew filled