1 These are the words of the Preacher, the son of David, king of Jerusalem. 2 All is but vanity - sayeth the Preacher - all is but plain vanity. 3 For what else hath a man, of all the labor that he taketh under the Sun? 4 One generation passeth away, another cometh, but the earth abideth still. 5 The Sun ariseth, the sun goeth down, and returneth to his place, that he may there rise up again. 6 The wind goeth toward the South and turneth unto the North, fetcheth his compass, whirleth about, and goeth forth and returneth again to his circuits from whence he did come. 7 All floods run into the sea, and yet the sea is not filled: for look, unto what place the waters run, thence they come again. 8 All things are so hard, that no man can express them. The eye is not satisfied with sight; the ear is not filled with hearing. 9 The thing that hath been, cometh to pass again; and the thing that hath been done, again is done - there is nothing new under the Sun. 10 Is there anything, whereof it may be said, "Lo, this is new?" For it was long ago in the times that have been before us. 11 The thing that is past, is out of remembrance; Even so the things that are for to come, shall no more be thought upon among them that come after.
12 I myself, the Preacher, being king of Israel and Jerusalem, 13 applied my mind to seek out and search for the knowledge of all things that are done under heaven. Such travail and labor hath God given to the children of men, to exercise themselves therein. 14 Thus I have considered all the things that come to pass under the Sun, and lo, they are all but vanity and vexation of mind.
16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, "Lo, I am come to a great estate, 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 for thereunto I applied my mind: that I might know what were wisdom and understanding, what were error and foolishness. And I perceived that this also was but a vexation of mind: