The Holy See
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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 1


1 The words of David's son, Qoheleth, king in Jerusalem:


2 Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!


3 What profit has man from all the labor which he toils at under the sun?


One generation passes and another comes, but the world forever stays.


The sun rises and the sun goes down; then it presses on to the place where it rises.


Blowing now toward the south, then toward the north, the wind turns again and again, resuming its rounds.


All rivers go to the sea, yet never does the sea become full. To the place where they go, the rivers keep on going.


4 All speech is labored; there is nothing man can say. The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor is the ear filled with hearing.


What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun.


Even the thing of which we say, "See, this is new!" has already existed in the ages that preceded us.


5 There is no remembrance of the men of old; nor of those to come will there be any remembrance among those who come after them.


I, Qoheleth, was king over Israel in Jerusalem,


and I applied my mind to search and investigate in wisdom all things that are done under the sun. A thankless task God has appointed for men to be busied about.


6 I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind.


What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is missing cannot be supplied.


Though I said to myself, "Behold, I have become great and stored up wisdom beyond all who were before me in Jerusalem, and my mind has broad experience of wisdom and knowledge";


yet when I applied my mind to know wisdom and knowledge, madness and folly, I learned that this also is a chase after wind.


For in much wisdom there is much sorrow, and he who stores up knowledge stores up grief.



1 [1] Qoheleth: see .

2 [2] Vanity of vanities: a Hebrew superlative expressing the supreme degree of futility and emptiness.

3 [3] Under the sun: used throughout this book to signify "on the earth."

4 [8] All speech . . . man can say: or "All things are wearisome beyond man's power to tell."

5 [11] Men remember nothing long, God never forgets.

6 [14] Chase after wind: futility, like an attempt to corral the winds. Cf Hosea 12:2. The ancient versions understood "affliction of spirit." These words are used to conclude sections of the discourse, as far as Eccl 6:9.

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