'Futile' in the Bible
"Absolute futility," says the Teacher. "Absolute futility. Everything is futile."
I have seen all the things that are done under the sun and have found everything to be futile, a pursuit of the wind.
I said to myself, "Go ahead, I will test you with pleasure and enjoy what is good." But it turned out to be futile.
When I considered all that I had accomplished and what I had labored to achieve, I found everything to be futile and a pursuit of the wind. There was nothing to be gained under the sun.
So I said to myself, "What happens to the fool will also happen to me. Why then have I been overly wise?" And I said to myself that this is also futile.
Therefore, I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me. For everything is futile and a pursuit of the wind.
And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will take over all my work that I labored at skillfully under the sun. This too is futile.
For there is a man whose work was done with wisdom, knowledge, and skill, but he must give his portion to a man who has not worked for it. This too is futile and a great wrong.
For all his days are filled with grief, and his occupation is sorrowful; even at night, his mind does not rest. This too is futile.
For to the man who is pleasing in His sight, He gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy, but to the sinner He gives the task of gathering and accumulating in order to give to the one who is pleasing in God's sight. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.
For the fate of people and the fate of animals is the same. As one dies, so dies the other; they all have the same breath. People have no advantage over animals, for everything is futile.
I saw that all labor and all skillful work is due to a man's jealousy of his friend. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.
So I again considered another futile thing on earth:
There is a person without a companion, without even a son or brother, and though there is no end to all his struggles, his eyes are still not content with riches. "So who am I struggling for," [he asks,] "and depriving myself from good?" This too is futile and a miserable task.
There is no limit to all the people who were before them, yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.
The one who loves money is never satisfied with money, and whoever loves wealth [is] never [satisfied] with income. This too is futile.
God gives a man riches, wealth, and honor so that he lacks nothing of all he desires for himself, but God does not allow him to enjoy them. Instead, a stranger will enjoy them. This is futile and a sickening tragedy.
Better what the eyes see than wandering desire. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.
For who knows what is good for man in life, in the few days of his futile life that he spends like a shadow? Who can tell man what will happen after him under the sun?
For like the crackling of [burning] thorns under the pot, so is the laughter of the fool. This too is futile.
In my futile life I have seen everything: there is a righteous man who perishes in spite of his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who lives long in spite of his evil.
In such circumstances, I saw the wicked buried. They came and went from the holy place, and they were praised in the city where they did so. This too is futile.
There is a futility that is done on the earth: there are righteous people who get what the actions of the wicked deserve, and there are wicked people who get what the actions of the righteous deserve. I say that this too is futile.
For if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, since they will be many. All that comes is futile.