Not Everyone Enjoys Life
6:1 Here is1 another misfortune2 that I have seen on earth,3
and it weighs4 heavily on people:5
6:2 God gives a man riches, property, and wealth
so that he lacks nothing that his heart6 desires,7
yet God does not enable8 him to enjoy9 the fruit of his labor10 –
instead, someone else11 enjoys12 it!13
This is fruitless and a grave misfortune.14
6:3 Even if a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years –
even if he lives a long, long time,15 but cannot enjoy his prosperity –
even if he were to live forever16 –
I would say, “A stillborn child17 is better off than he is!”18
6:4 Though the stillborn child19 came into the world20 for no reason21 and departed into darkness,
though its name is shrouded in darkness,22
6:5 though it never saw the light of day23 nor knew anything,24
yet it has more rest25 than that man –
6:6 if he should live a thousand years twice, yet does not enjoy his prosperity.
For both of them die!26
6:7 All of man’s labor is for nothing more than27 to fill his stomach28 –
yet his appetite29 is never satisfied!
6:8 So what advantage does a wise man have over a fool?30
And what advantage31 does a pauper gain by knowing how to survive?32
6:9 It is better to be content with33 what the eyes can see34
than for one’s heart always to crave more.35
This continual longing36 is futile – like37 chasing the wind.
The Futile Way Life Works
6:10 Whatever has happened was foreordained,38
and what happens to a person39 was also foreknown.
It is useless for him to argue with God about his fate
because God is more powerful than he is.40
6:11 The more one argues with words, the less he accomplishes.41
How does that benefit him?42
6:12 For no one knows what is best for a person during his life43 –
during the few days of his fleeting life –
for44 they pass away45 like a shadow.
Nor can anyone tell him what the future will hold for him on earth.46