Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 (ESV)
All Is Vanity
1 The words of the Preacher,[a] the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
2 Vanity[b] of vanities, says the Preacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
3 What does man gain by all the toil
at which he toils under the sun?
4 A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.
5 The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
and hastens[c] to the place where it rises.
6 The wind blows to the south
and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
and on its circuits the wind returns.
7 All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
8 All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things,[d]
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things[e] yet to be
among those who come after.
a. Ecclesiastes 1:1 Or Convener, or Collector; Hebrew Qoheleth (so throughout Ecclesiastes)
b. Ecclesiastes 1:2 The Hebrew term hebel, translated vanity or vain, refers concretely to a “mist,” “vapor,” or “mere breath,” and metaphorically to something that is fleeting or elusive (with different nuances depending on the context). It appears five times in this verse and in 29 other verses in Ecclesiastes
c. Ecclesiastes 1:5 Or and returns panting
d. Ecclesiastes 1:11 Or former people
e. Ecclesiastes 1:11 Or later people