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 profit has a man of all his labor which he takes under the sun? 4 One generation passes away, and another generation comes: but the earth abides forever. 5 The sun also arises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to its place where it arose. 6 The wind goes toward the south, and turns about unto the north; it whirls about continually, and the wind returns again according to its circuit. 7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from where the rivers come, there they return again. 8 All things are full of weariness; man cannot express it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. 9 The thing that has been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 10 Is there any thing of which it may be said, See, this is new? it has been already of old time, which was before us. 11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.
12 I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this severe burden has God given to the sons of man to be afflicted with. 14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and like grasping the wind.
15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is lacking cannot be numbered.
16 I communed with my own heart, saying, Lo, I have come to greatness, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. 17 And I set my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is like grasping the wind.