Whatever has happened, will happen again; whatever has been done, will be done again. There is nothing new on earth.
I also examined on earth: where the halls of justice were supposed to be, there was lawlessness; and where the righteous were supposed to be, there was lawlessness. 17I told myself, "God will judge both the righteous and the wicked, because there is a time set to judge every event and every work."
I observed every activity done on earth. My conclusion: all of it is pointless like chasing after the wind.
I saw all of it as the activity of God. Frankly, a human being cannot understand what happens on earth, because however hard a man works to discover it, he will not find out. Despite what he thinks he knows, he will not be able to figure it out.
I observed all this, and carefully considered everything that is undertaken on earth, especially the time when someone dominates another to his detriment.
What does a man gain from all of the work that he undertakes on earth?
Then I examined all of my accomplishments that I had brought about by my own efforts, including the work that I had labored so hard to complete and it was all pointless, like chasing after the wind, and there was nothing to be gained on earth.
I have observed a painful tragedy on earth: Wealth hoarded by its owner harms him,
So I hated life, because whatever is done on earth causes me trouble it's all pointless, like chasing after the wind.
And who knows whether he will be wise or foolish? Either way, he will take possession of everything that I have done on earth, especially where I have excelled. This also is pointless.
So I came to be in despair about everything I had accomplished on earth.
For what does a person gain from everything that he accomplishes and from his inner life struggles that he undergoes while working on earth?
Next I turned to consider all kinds of oppression that exists on earth. Look at the tears of the oppressed there is no one to comfort them. Power is on the side of their oppressors; so they have no comforters.
Then I turned to re-examine something else that is pointless on earth:
I observed everyone who lives and walks on earth, along with the youth who will take the king's place.
There exists another misfortune that I have observed on earth, and it is a heavy burden upon human beings:
Furthermore, their love, their hate, and their envy have been long lost. Never again will they have a part in what happens on earth.
Find joy in living with your wife whom you love every day of your pointless life that God gave you on earth, because this is your life assignment and your work to do on earth.
I also observed this example of wisdom on earth, and it seemed important to me:
Here's another tragedy that I've observed on earth, a kind of error that comes from an overseer:
So then I recommended enjoyment of life, because it is better on earth for a man to eat, drink, and be happy, since this will stay with him throughout his struggle all the days of his life, which God grants him on earth.
Better than both of them is someone who has not yet been born, because he hasn't experienced evil on earth.
I dedicated myself to using wisdom for study and discovery of everything that is done under heaven. God uses terrible things so human beings will struggle with life.
I decided to indulge in wine, while still remaining committed to wisdom. I also tried to indulge in foolishness, just enough to determine whether it was good for human beings under heaven given the short time of their lives.
There is a season for everything, and a time for every event under heaven: