The Book of
ECCLESIASTES
-- Literal Translation of the Holy Bible - Copyright 1976 - 2000 --

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Ecclesiastes 1
1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem:
2 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity!
3 What is the profit to a man in all his labor which he labors under the sun?
4 A generation passes away, and another generation comes; but the earth stands forever.
5 The sun also arises, and the sun goes even panting to its place; it arises there again.
6 The wind goes toward the south, and turning around to the north; the wind is going around and around. And the wind returns on its circuits.
7 All the rivers are going to the sea; yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers are going, there they are returning to go again.
8 All words are wearisome; a man is not able to utter it. The eye is not satisfied to see, nor is the ear filled from hearing.
9 That which has been, it is that which shall be. And that which has been done, it is that which will be done. And there is no new thing under the sun.
10 Is there a thing of which one might say, See this, it is new? It has already been for the ages which were before us.
11 There is no memory of former things; yea, nor is there any memory for them of things which will be afterward, with those who will be at the last.
12 I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
13 And I gave my heart to seek and to investigate by wisdom concerning all which is done under the heavens. It is an evil task God has given to the sons of men, to be afflicted by it.
14 I have seen all the works which are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and striving after wind!
15 What is crooked cannot be made straight, and that lacking cannot be numbered.
16 I spoke with my heart, saying, Lo, I have become great and have increased wisdom over all that have been over Jerusalem before me. Yea, my heart has seen much wisdom and knowledge.
17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness, and folly. I know that this also, it is striving after wind.
18 For in much wisdom is much grief; and he who increases knowledge increases pain.

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Ecclesiastes 2
1 I said in my heart, Come now, I will test you with mirth. Therefore, consider with goodness. And behold, this also is vanity.
2 I said of laughter, It is madness, and of mirth, What does it do?
3 I sought in my heart how to drag my flesh with wine, and leading my heart in wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, until I might see where the good for the sons of men is, that which they should do under the heavens the number of days of their life.
4 I made my works great; I built houses for myself; I planted vineyards for myself;
5 I made gardens and parks for myself; and I planted trees in them of every fruit;
6 I made pools of water for myself; to water from them the forest shooting forth trees;
7 I bought slaves and slave girls, and the sons of the house were mine. Also livestock, a herd and a great flock were mine, above all that were before me in Jerusalem.
8 I also gathered to me silver and gold, and the treasure of kings and of provinces. I made ready male singers and female singers for myself; and the delights of the sons of men, a concubine, and concubines.
9 And I became great and increased more than all who were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom stayed with me.
10 And all that my eyes desired, I did not set aside from them. I withheld not my heart from all joy; for my heart rejoiced from all my labor; and this was my part from all my labor.
11 Then I faced on all my works that my hands had done, and on the labor that I had labored to do. And, lo, all is vanity and striving after wind, and there is no profit under the sun.
12 And I turned to behold wisdom, and madness, and folly. For what can a man do who comes after the king, when they have already done it?
13 Then I saw that there is advantage to wisdom above folly, even as light has advantage over darkness.
14 The wise man's eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness; and I also know that one event happens with all of them.
15 And I said in my heart, As the event of the stupid one, even so it will happen to me; and why then was I more wise? Then I said in my heart that this also is vanity.
16 For there is not a memory of the wise more than with the fool forever, in that already the days to come will be forgotten. And how does the wise die above the fool?
17 So then I hated life; because the work that is done under the sun is evil to me; for all is vanity and striving after wind.
18 Yes, I, a laborer, hated all my labor under the sun, that I must leave it to the man who will be after me.
19 And who knows if he will be wise or a fool? Yet he shall rule among all my labor in which I labored, and acted wisely under the sun. This is also vanity.
20 And I turned to make my heart despair over all the labor which I labored under the sun.
21 When there is a man whose labor is with wisdom, and with knowledge, and with advantage; yet he shall give it to a man who has not labored with it, for his share; this also is vanity and a great evil.
22 For what is there for man in all his labor, and in striving of his heart, which he did as a laborer under the sun?
23 For all his days are pains, and his task is grief; his heart does not even take rest in the night. Even this also is vanity.
24 Is it not good that he should eat and drink and make his soul see good in his labor? This I also saw, that it was from the hand of God.
25 For who can eat, or who can enjoy, apart from me?
26 For God gives wisdom, and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight. But to the sinner He gives the task of gathering and to heap up, to give to him who is good before God. This also is vanity and striving after wind.

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Ecclesiastes 3
1 To all there is an appointed time, even a time for every purpose under the heavens:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pull up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew together; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
9 What advantage has he who works in that which he did as a laborer?
10 I have seen the task which God has given to the sons of men, to be humbled by it.
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has set eternity in their heart, without which man cannot find out the work that God makes from the beginning even to the end.
12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice to do good in his life.
13 And also every man that eats and drinks, and sees good in his labor, it is the gift of God.
14 I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever; nothing is to be added to it, and nothing is to diminish from it. And God does it so that they fear before Him.
15 That which has been, it already is; and that which is to be, it already has been. And God seeks what has gone by.
16 And again I saw under the sun the place of justice: wickedness is there; and the place of righteousness, wickedness is there.
17 I said in my heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked; for there is a time there for every good purpose and for every work.
18 I said in my heart concerning the issue of the sons of men, that God may test them and see that they by themselves are beasts.
19 For that which happens to the sons of men, and that which happens to beasts, even one event is to them. As this one dies, so that one dies; yea, one breath is to all; so that there is to the man no advantage over the beast; for all is vanity.
20 All go to one place; all are of the dust, and all return to the dust.
21 Who knows the spirit of the sons of man, whether it goes upward; and the spirit of the beast, whether it goes downward to the earth?
22 And I have seen that nothing is better than that the man should rejoice in his works; for that is his portion; for who can bring him to see what shall be after him?

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Ecclesiastes 4
1 So I returned and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold the tears of those who were oppressed, and they had no comforter! And at the hand of those who oppressed them was power; but there was no comforter to them.
2 And I commended the dead who already have died, more than the living who are alive until now.
3 Yea, better than both is he who has not yet been, who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
4 And I considered every labor, and every advantage of the work, that it is the envy of a man against his neighbor; this is also vanity and striving after wind.
5 The fool folds his hands together and eats his own flesh.
6 Better is a hand filled with rest, than two fists with labor and striving after wind.
7 Then I returned and saw vanity under the sun.
8 There is one alone, and there is not a second; yea, he has neither son nor brother; and there is no end to all his labor; even his eyes are not satisfied with riches; and he says , For whom do I labor, and take good from my soul? This is also vanity. Yes, it is an evil task.
9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, this one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him, the one that falls, and there is not another to lift him up.
11 Also if two lie together, then they have warmth; but for one, how is he warm?
12 And if one overthrows him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly torn apart.
13 A poor and a wise child is better than the old and stupid king who does not know to be warned any more.
14 For from the house of the imprisoned he goes forth to reign, although in his kingdom he was born poor.
15 I saw all the living who walk about under the sun, with the second child who shall stand up in his place.
16 There is no end to all the people, to all who have been before them; they also who come after shall not rejoice with him. Surely this is also vanity and striving after wind.

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Ecclesiastes 5
1 Guard your feet when you go to the house of God, and draw near to hear, more than to give a sacrifice, as do the fools. For they do not know that they are doing evil.
2 Do not be hasty with your mouth, and do not let your heart hurry to bring forth a word before God. For God is in Heaven, and you are on earth; on account of this, let your words be few.
3 For the dream comes through the greatness of the task; and the voice of the fool is known by the many words.
4 When you vow a vow to God, do not wait to fulfill it. For He has no pleasure in fools. Fulfill that which you have vowed.
5 It is better that you should not vow, than that you should vow and not fulfill it.
6 Do not allow your mouth to cause your flesh to sin; do not say before the angel that it was an error. Why should God be angry over your voice, and destroy the work of your hands?
7 For in the multitude of dreams, both words and vanities abound; but fear God.
8 If you see the oppression of the poor, or the removing of justice and righteousness in the province, do not be amazed at the purpose. For a high one over a high one is watching; and high ones are over them.
9 And the advantage of a land, it is among all; even a king has a field being tilled.
10 He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; and he who loves abundance does not gain. This is also vanity.
11 When the good thing increases, those who devour it increase; then what profit is it to its owners, except to see it with his eyes?
12 The sleep of the laboring man is sweet, whether he eats little or much. But the abundance of the rich will not allow him to sleep.
13 There is a painful evil which I have seen under the sun: riches being kept for their owner to his evil;
14 but those riches perish by an evil use; and he fathers a son, and nothing is in his hand.
15 As he came forth from his mother's womb naked, he shall return to go as he came. And from his labor he may not carry anything that may go in his hand.
16 And this also is a painful evil, that in all, as he came, so shall he go. And what profit is to him who has labored for the wind?
17 Also all his days he eats in darkness, and with much grief, along with his sickness and wrath.
18 See what I have seen: It is good which a laborer does to eat and to drink and to see good in all his labor which as a laborer does under the sun, the number of the days of his life which God gives to him, for it is his portion.
19 Also every man to whom God has given riches and treasures, and gives him power to eat of it, and to take his share, and to rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.
20 For he shall not much remember the days of his life, because God answers him in the joy of his heart.

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Ecclesiastes 6
1 There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it is great among men:
2 A man to whom God has given riches, and wealth, and honor, so that he lacks nothing for his soul of all that he desires; yet God does not give him the power to eat of it, but a stranger eats it; this is vanity, and it is an evil disease.
3 If a man fathers a hundred, and lives many years, and the days of his years are many, and his soul is not satisfied from the good, and also there is no burial for him; I say, a miscarriage is better than he.
4 For he comes in with vanity, and goes out in darkness; his name shall be covered in darkness.
5 Also he has not seen nor known the sun; this one has more rest than that one.
6 Yea, though he lives twice a thousand years, yet he has seen no good. Do not all go to one place?
7 All the labor of man is for his mouth, and yet the soul is not filled.
8 For what is the advantage to the wise more than the fool? What advantage is to the poor who knows how to walk before the living?
9 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the soul. This is also vanity and striving after wind.
10 That which has been is named already, and it is known that he is man; and he is not able to contend with Him who is stronger than he.
11 For there are many things that increase vanity, and what is the advantage to man?
12 For who knows what is good for man in this life, the number of the days of his life of vanity? Even he makes them like the shadow. For who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?

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Ecclesiastes 7
1 A good name is better than good ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.
2 It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting; for it is the end of every man; and the living will lay it to his heart.
3 Vexation is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the face the heart is made good.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of the stupid one is in the house of mirth.
5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.
6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the stupid one. And this also is vanity.
7 For oppression makes a wise man mad; and a bribe destroys the heart.
8 Better is the end of a thing than its beginning; the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9 Do not be hasty in your spirit to be angry; for vexation rests in the bosom of fools.
10 Do not say, Why was it that the former days were better than these? For you do not ask from wisdom concerning this.
11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance; yea, a gain to those who see the sun.
12 For wisdom is in a shadow; and silver is in a shadow; but the excellency of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to those who have it.
13 Look at the work of God; for who can make that straight which He has bent?
14 In the good day, be in good spirit, but also see in the evil day, that God has made one along with the other, so that man should not find anything after him.
15 All things I have seen in the days of my vanity; there is a just man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked one who prolongs his life in his evil.
16 Do not be too much righteous, nor make yourself overly wise; why destroy yourself?
17 Do not be very evil, and do not be a fool; why should you not die in your time?
18 It is good that you should take hold of this; yea, also from this do not let your hand rest; for he who fears God shall come forth with all of them.
19 Wisdom makes the wise stronger than ten rulers who are in the city.
20 For there is not a just man on the earth who does good, and does not sin.
21 Also, do not give your heart to all the words they speak, that you not hear your servant cursing you.
22 For also your own heart knows that you yourself have also cursed others many times.
23 All this I have tested by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.
24 That which is far off and exceeding deep, who can find it out?
25 And I turned my heart about, to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, and the foolishness of madness:
26 and I found more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets; her hands are bonds. He who is good before God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be captured by her.
27 Behold, I have found this, says the Preacher, counting one by one to find out the sum,
28 that my soul still seeks, but I have not found; one man among a thousand I have found, but a woman among all those I have not found.
29 See, this only I have found, that God has made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions.

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Ecclesiastes 8
1 Who is as the wise? And who knows the meaning of a thing? A man's wisdom makes his face shine, and the boldness of his face is changed.
2 I say, Keep the king's word, even on the matter of the oath of God;
3 do not be hasty to go from before him. Do not take a stand in an evil thing, for he does whatever he pleases.
4 Because the king's word is that which has power; who then will say to him, What are you doing?
5 Whoever keeps the command shall know no evil thing. A wise man's heart knows both time and judgment.
6 Because there is a time and judgment to every purpose, in this the evil of man is great upon him.
7 For he does not know what shall be. For who can tell him when it shall be?
8 Man is not a ruler over the spirit, to restrain the spirit; nor has he power in the day of death. And there is no discharge in that war, nor shall wickedness deliver its possessors.
9 All this I have seen. I gave my heart to every work that is done under the sun. There is a time in which a man rules over a man for his evil.
10 And so I saw the wicked buried; and they came and went from the holy place, and were forgotten in the city, these things that they had done. This is also vanity.
11 Where sentence on an evil work is not executed speedily, on account of this the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged to him, yet surely I know that it shall be well to those who fear God, who fear before Him.
13 But it shall not be well for the wicked; and he shall not lengthen his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God.
14 There is a vanity which is done on the earth: There are just ones to whom it happens according to the work of the wicked; and there are wicked men to whom it happens according to the work of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity.
15 Then I praised mirth, because nothing is good for man under the sun except to eat and to drink and to be glad. For that shall go with him in his labor for the days of his life which God gives him under the sun.
16 When I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on the earth; for even by day and by night he does not see sleep in his eyes.
17 Then I looked at all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun; because though a man labors to seek it out, yet he shall not find it. And even if the wise speaks of knowing, he shall not be able to find it.

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Ecclesiastes 9
1 For all this I gave to heart, even to explain all this, that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God. Whether love or hatred, man does not know all that is before them.
2 All happens alike to all; one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good, and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him who sacrifices, and to him who does not sacrifice. As is the good, so is the sinner; he who swears is as he that fears an oath.
3 This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event to all. Yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they are alive, and after that they go to those who died.
4 For one who is chosen to be among all the living, there is hope. For a living dog is better than a dead lion.
5 For the living know that they shall die; but the dead do not know anything; nor do they have any more a reward, for their memory is forgotten.
6 Also their love, their hatred, and their envy has now perished; nor do they any longer have a part forever in all that is done under the sun.
7 Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God now is pleased with your works.
8 Let your garments be white at every time; and let your head lack no ointment.
9 Look on life with the wife whom you love all the days of the life of your vanity, which He gave you under the sun, all the days of your vanity. For that is your share in this life, and in your labor which you as a laborer do under the sun.
10 All that your hand finds to do, do it with your strength. For there is no work, or planning, or knowledge, or wisdom, in Sheol, there where you go.
11 I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the mighty; nor even bread to the wise; nor even riches to the men of discernment; nor even favor to knowing men. For time and occurrence happen to them all.
12 For man also does not know his time. As the fish that are taken in the evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the trap, like them are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly on them.
13 This wisdom I saw also under the sun, and it is great to me:
14 There was a little city, and few men in it. And a great king came against it, and besieged it, and built huge siege works against it.
15 And there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom saved the city. Yet no man remembered that poor man!
16 And I said, Wisdom is better than strength; but the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.
17 The words of wise men are heard in quiet, more than the cry of one who rules among fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of conflict; but one sinner destroys much good.

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Ecclesiastes 10
1 As dead flies cause the perfumer's ointment to stink and ferment; so a little foolishness is heavier than wisdom and than honor.
2 The heart of the wise is toward his right, but the fool's heart toward his left.
3 And also, in the way in which a stupid one walks, his heart fails, and he says to all that he is a fool.
4 If the spirit of the ruler rises up against you, do not leave your place; for composure quiets great offenses.
5 There is an evil I have seen under the sun, sins which come from the face of the ruler:
6 folly is set in many high positions, and many rich men sit in low situations.
7 I have seen slaves on horses, and rulers walking as slaves on the earth.
8 He who digs a pit may fall into it; and one breaking a wall, a snake may bite him.
9 Whoever pulls out stones may be hurt with them; he who splits trees may be endangered by them.
10 If the iron is blunt, and he does not whet the mouths, then he must put more strength to it. But wisdom is an advantage giving success.
11 If the snake will bite without charming, then there is no advantage to a master of tongue.
12 The words of a wise mouth are grace, but the lips of a stupid one swallow him;
13 the beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness; and the end of his mouth is evil madness.
14 Yet the stupid one makes many words; a man knows not what they shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him?
15 The labor of fools wearies him, because he does not know how to go to the city.
16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a boy, and your leaders eat in the morning.
17 Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, and your leaders eat in due time, in strength, and not in drinking.
18 The framework tumbles through laziness; and through lowering of hands, the house leaks.
19 Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life; but silver answers all things.
20 Also, do not curse a king in your thought; and do not curse the rich in your bedrooms; for a bird of the heavens may carry the voice; yea, the lord of wings may tell the matter.

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Ecclesiastes 11
1 Send out your bread on the face of the waters, for you shall find it in many days.
2 Give a share to seven, or even to eight; for you do not know what evil may be on the earth.
3 If the clouds are full of rain, they empty on the earth. And if the tree falls in the south, or in the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it shall be.
4 He who watches the wind shall not sow. And he who looks at the clouds shall not reap.
5 As you do not know what is the way of the wind, as the bones in the pregnant woman's womb, even so you do not know the works of God who makes all.
6 Sow your seed in the morning, and do not rest your hand until evening; for you do not know what shall be blessed, this or that; or whether they both shall be good as one.
7 Also the light is sweet; yea, it is good for the eyes to behold the sun.
8 But if the man lives many years, let him rejoice in them all, and remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many. All that may come is vanity.
9 Rejoice, O young man, in your youth. And make your heart glad in the days of your youth, and walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.
10 So then remove vexation from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh. For childhood and prime of life are vanity.

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Ecclesiastes 12
1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, while the evil days do not come, or the years strike when you shall say, I have no pleasure in them;
2 while not yet the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, are darkened, or the clouds return after rain;
3 in the day when those keeping the house shall tremble, and the strong men are bowed, and the grinders cease because they are few; and those looking out the windows are darkened;
4 and the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the mill is low, and one rises up at the voice of a bird, and all the daughters of music are silenced;
5 also they shall be afraid of a high place, and terrors in the way; and the almond tree shall blossom, and the locust makes himself a burden; and desire breaks, because man goes to his eternal home, and the mourners go about in the street;
6 while the silver cord is not yet loosed, or the golden bowl is crushed, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern;
7 then the dust shall return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.
8 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, all is vanity.
9 And more than that, the Preacher was wise; he still taught the people knowledge. Yes, he listened, and looked, and set in order many proverbs.
10 The Preacher sought to find out pleasing words, and words of truth written on uprightness.
11 The words of the wise are as goads; yea, as nails driven by the masters of collections, they are given from one Shepherd.
12 And more than these, my son, be warned: The making of many books has no end, and much study is the weariness of the flesh.
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments; for this applies to every man.
14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with all that is hidden, whether it is good, or whether it is evil.

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Scripture taken from the Literal Translation of the Holy Bible
Copyright 1976 - 2000
By Jay P. Green, Sr.
Used by permission of the copyright holder
Courtesy of Sovereign Grace Publishers and Christian Literature World

[Policy for Reprint & Quoting from the Literal Translation]