1 Words of a preacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: 2 Vanity of vanities, said the Preacher, Vanity of vanities: the whole is vanity. 3 What advantage is to man by all his labour that he laboureth at under the sun? 4 A generation is going, and a generation is coming, and the earth to the age is standing. 5 Also, the sun hath risen, and the sun hath gone in, and unto its place panting it is rising there. 6 Going unto the south, and turning round unto the north, turning round, turning round, the wind is going, and by its circuits the wind hath returned. 7 All the streams are going unto the sea, and the sea is not full; unto a place whither the streams are going, thither they are turning back to go. 8 All these things are wearying; a man is not able to speak, the eye is not satisfied by seeing, nor filled is the ear from hearing. 9 What is that which hath been? it is that which is, and what is that which hath been done? it is that which is done, and there is not an entirely new thing under the sun. 10 There is a thing of which one saith: 'See this, it is new!' already it hath been in the ages that were before us! 11 There is not a remembrance of former generations; and also of the latter that are, there is no remembrance of them with those that are at the last.
12 I, a preacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I have given my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom concerning all that hath been done under the heavens. It is a sad travail God hath given to the sons of man to be humbled by it. 14 I have seen all the works that have been done under the sun, and lo, the whole is vanity and vexation of spirit!
15 A crooked thing one is not able to make straight, and a lacking thing is not able to be numbered.
16 I -- I spake with my heart, saying, 'I, lo, I have magnified and added wisdom above every one who hath been before me at Jerusalem, and my heart hath seen abundantly wisdom and knowledge. 17 And I give my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I have known that even this is vexation of spirit;