Ecclesiastes 1


1:1 The words of the Teacher,1 the son2 of David, king3 in Jerusalem:4

Introduction: Utter Futility

1:2 “Futile! Futile!” laments5 the Teacher,6

“Absolutely futile!7 Everything8 is futile!”9

Futility Illustrated from Nature

1:3 What benefit10 do people11 get from all the effort

which12 they expend13 on earth?14

1:4 A generation comes15 and a generation goes,16

but the earth remains17 the same18 through the ages.19

1:5 The sun rises20 and the sun sets;21

it hurries away22 to a place from which it rises23 again.24

1:6 The wind goes to the south and circles around to the north;

round and round25 the wind goes and on its rounds it returns.26

1:7 All the streams flow27 into the sea, but the sea is not full,

and to the place where the streams flow, there they will flow again.28

1:8 All this29 monotony30 is tiresome; no one can bear31 to describe it:32

The eye is never satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear ever content33 with hearing.

1:9 What exists now34 is what will be,35

and what has been done is what will be done;

there is nothing truly new on earth.36

1:10 Is there anything about which someone can say, “Look at this! It is new!”?37

It was already38 done long ago,39 before our time.40

1:11 No one remembers the former events,41

nor will anyone remember42 the events that are yet to happen;43

they will not be remembered by the future generations.44

Futility of Secular Accomplishment

1:12 I, the Teacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem.45

1:13 I decided46 to carefully47 and thoroughly examine48

all that has been accomplished on earth.49

I concluded:50 God has given people51 a burdensome task52

that keeps them53 occupied.54

1:14 I reflected on everything that is accomplished by man55 on earth,56

and I concluded: Everything57 he has accomplished58 is futile59 – like chasing the wind!60

1:15 What is bent61 cannot be straightened,62

and what is missing63 cannot be supplied.64

Futility of Secular Wisdom

1:16 I thought to myself,65

“I have become much wiser66 than any of my predecessors who ruled67 over Jerusalem;68

I69 have acquired much wisdom and knowledge.”70

1:17 So I decided71 to discern the benefit of72 wisdom and knowledge over73 foolish behavior and ideas;74

however, I concluded75 that even76 this endeavor77 is like78 trying to chase the wind!79

1:18 For with great wisdom comes80 great frustration;

whoever increases his81 knowledge merely82 increases his83 heartache.

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