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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 6


There is another evil which I have seen under the sun, and it weighs heavily upon man:


there is the man to whom God gives riches and property and honor, so that he lacks none of all the things he craves; yet God does not grant him power to partake of them, but a stranger devours them. This is vanity and a dire plague.


1 Should a man have a hundred children and live many years, no matter to what great age, still if he has not the full benefit of his goods, or if he is deprived of burial, of this man I proclaim that the child born dead is more fortunate than he.


Though it came in vain and goes into darkness and its name is enveloped in darkness;


though it has not seen or known the sun, yet the dead child is at rest rather than such a man.


2 Should he live twice a thousand years and not enjoy his goods, do not both go to the same place?


3 All man's toil is for his mouth, yet his desire is not fulfilled.


For what advantage has the wise man over the fool, or what advantage has the poor man in knowing how to conduct himself in life?


4 "What the eyes see is better than what the desires wander after." This also is vanity and a chase after wind.


5 Whatever is, was long ago given its name, and the nature of man is known, and that he cannot contend in judgment with one who is stronger than he.


For though there are many sayings that multiply vanity, what profit is there for a man?


For who knows what is good for a man in life, the limited days of his vain life (which God has made like a shadow)? Because-who is there to tell a man what will come after him under the sun?



1 [3] A large family, a long life, an honorable burial, all were highly esteemed by the Hebrews, and it was considered a great misfortune to be deprived of them.

2 [6] Same place: the grave.

3 [7] Mouth: appetite, and therefore, body.

4 [9] Better . . . wander after: the good that is present to us is better than that which is absent and, perhaps, unattainable.

5 [10] The one who is stronger than man is God.

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