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1 The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:
2 ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’
3 What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun?
4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.
5 The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.
6 The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course.
7 All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again.
8 All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.
9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say, ‘Look! This is something new’? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.
11 There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow.
12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
13 I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men!
14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
15 What is twisted cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted.
16 I thought to myself, ‘Look, I have grown and increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.’
17 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.
18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.