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The futility of all endeavour

1THE words of the Speaker, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

2Futility, utter futility, says the Speaker, everything is futile.

3What does anyone profit from all his labour and toil here under the sun?

4Generations come and generations go, while the earth endures for ever.

5The sun rises and the sun goes down; then it speeds to its place and rises there again.

6The wind blows to the south, it veers to the north; round and round it goes and returns full circle.

7All streams run to the sea, yet the sea never overflows; back to the place from which the streams ran they return to run again.

8All things are wearisome. No one can describe them all, no eye can see them all, no ear can hear them all.

9What has happened will happen again, and what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

10Is there anything of which it can be said, “Look, this is new”? No, it was already in existence, long before our time.

11Those who lived in the past are not remembered, and those who follow will not be remembered by those who follow them.

12I, the Speaker, ruled as king over Israel in Jerusalem;

13and I applied my mind to study and explore by means of wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is a worthless task that God has given to mortals to keep them occupied.

14I have seen everything that has been done here under the sun; it is all futility and a chasing of the wind.

15What is crooked cannot become straight; what is not there cannot be counted.

16I thought to myself, “I have amassed great wisdom, surpassing all my predecessors on the throne at Jerusalem; I have become familiar with wisdom and knowledge.”

17So I applied my mind to understanding wisdom and knowledge, madness and folly, and I came to see that this too is a chasing of the wind.

18For in much wisdom is much vexation; the more knowledge, the more suffering.

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