1:1 The words of the Teacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem:
Introduction: Utter Futility
1:2 “Futile! Futile!” laments the Teacher,
“Absolutely futile! Everything is futile!”
Futility Illustrated from Nature
1:3 What benefit do people get from all the effort
which they expend on
1:4 A generation comes and a generation goes,
but the earth remains the same through the ages.
1:5 The sun rises and the sun sets;
it hurries away to a place from which it rises again.
1:6 The wind goes to the south and circles around to the north;
round and round the wind goes and on its rounds it returns.
1:7 All the streams flow into the sea, but the sea is not full,
and to the place where the streams flow, there they will flow again.
1:8 All this monotony is tiresome; no one can bear to describe it:
The eye is never satisfied with seeing, nor is the ear ever content with hearing.
1:9 What exists now is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done;
there is nothing truly new on earth.
1:10 Is there anything about which someone can say, “Look at this! It is new!”?
It was already done long ago, before
1:11 No one remembers the former events,
nor will anyone remember the events that are yet to happen;
they will not be remembered by the future generations.
Futility of Secular Accomplishment
1:12 I, the Teacher, have been king over Israel in Jerusalem.
1:13 I decided to carefully and thoroughly examine
all that has been accomplished on earth.
I concluded: God has given people a burdensome task
that keeps them occupied.
1:14 I reflected on everything that is accomplished by man on earth,
and I concluded: Everything he has accomplished is futile – like chasing the wind!
1:15 What is bent cannot be straightened,
and what is missing cannot be supplied.
Futility of Secular Wisdom
1:16 I thought to myself,
“I have become much wiser than any of my predecessors who ruled over Jerusalem;
I have acquired much wisdom and knowledge.”
1:17 So I decided to discern the benefit of wisdom and knowledge over foolish behavior and ideas;
however, I concluded that even this endeavor is like trying to chase the wind!
1:18 For with great wisdom comes great frustration;
whoever increases his knowledge merely increases his heartache.