For other English-language translations of this work, see Ecclesiastes (Bible).
Ecclesiastes , translated by Wikisource
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Chapter 1

1 The words of Koheleth, son of David, King in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem).

2 Vapid mirage, Koheleth said. Vapid mirage. All is mirage.[1]

3 What benefits a man from all his labor that he labors under the sun?

4 A generation goes and a generation comes, and the Earth forever stands.

5 And the sun rose, and the sun went, and to its place it strives to shine, there.[2]

6 Going south, and turning northward, turn turning goes the wind, and on its meanderings the wind returns.

7 All the rivers go to the sea, but the sea is not full. To the place that the rivers go—there they continue to go.

8 All things are tiresome, no man can speak of it. No eye will be sated from seeing, and no ear will be filled from hearing.

9 What was is what will be, and what was done is what will be done. And there's nothing at all new under the sun.

10 There is a thing of which it is said, "Look, this here is new!". It already existed in the eons that was before us.

11 Of the first ones there is no memory, and even of the last ones who will come there will be no memory, if they will be the last.

12 I am Koheleth. I was a king over Israel, in Jerusalem.

13 And I endeavored in my heart to demand and seek for wisdom, over everything that had been done under the skies. It is a bad business that God gave to mankind, to agonize over.

14 I saw all the doings that had been done under the sun, and here it is all mirage and herding the wind.

15 The crooked could not be repaired, and the wants could not be numbered.

16 I spoke to my own heart, saying: "Here have I grown and increased in knowledge over everyone who was before me over Jerusalem, and my heart has seen much knowledge and wisdom.

17 And I dedicated my heart to knowledge and wisdom, and knowledge of silliness and foolishness; I knew that this too is the herding of wind.

18 Because as wisdom grows, anger grows, and one who adds knowledge, adds pain.

Chapter 2

1 I said to myself, please go, try your hand at happiness, and see the good, and here it is also a mirage.

2 "To have fun", I said, "is madness. And happiness, what does it do?"

3 I considered to myself to ply my flesh with wine, and my heart is used to wisdom, and to grasp onto folly, until I would see just how good to people is that which they do under the sky, in the number of their days.

4 I multiplied my deeds, for me I built houses, I planted for me vineyards.

5 I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted in them trees of every fruit.

6 I made me pools of water, to irrigate from them, a wood growing trees

7 I bought servants and maidservants, and had slave-sons to my household, I had also much livestock of cattle and sheep, from all before me in Jerusalem.

8 I gathered to me silver also and gold, and purple-robes of the kings and the nations. I gathered to me male singers and female singers, and the delights of men--- a woman, then women.

9 And I added to me, and grew more, from everything before me in Jerusalem; except my wisdom stood in my way.

10 And all that my eyes asked to see, I did not lazily avoid: I did not prevent my heart from any happiness, because my heart was happy in all my labors, and this was my portion, from all my labors.

11 And I faced all the things that my hands have done, and the labor that I labored to do, and, look, everything is mirage and herding the wind, and there is no benefit under the sun.

12 And I turned to see wisdom and madness and folly; for what man will come after the king, over that which is already done.

13 And I saw that there is benefit to wisdom over folly, as the benefit of light over darkness.

14 The wise one, his eyes are in his head, and the foolish one, in darkness walks. and I also knew that the one thing will happen to all of them

15 And I said to myself, as will happen to the fool, so it will happen to me. And for what have I become so wise? And I said to myself, that this too is a mirage.

16 Because there is no memory of the wise man nor the fool, forever, in the coming of the latter days, everything is forgotten, and how the wise man dies along with the fool.

17 And I hated life, because I did not like these happenings which happen under the sun: because everything is a mirage, herding the wind.

18 And I hated all my labor that I labored under the sun: that I will bequeath to the man that will come after me.

19 And who knows if he will be wise man or a fool? And he will control all my labor that I labored and studied under the sun. Also this is a mirage.

20 And I went in circles, to frustrate my heart, over all my labor that I labored under the sun.

21 Because there is a man who works with wisdom, with knowledge, and with skill. And the man that did not work at it, will get him his share--- this also is a mirage, and a great evil.

22 Because, what is it to the man, all his labor and the discipline of his heart--- that he has labored under the sun?

23 Because all of his days are painful, and anger is his business--- at night too, his heart does not rest, and this too is a mirage.

24 There is no good in the man that eats and drinks, and sees his soul well in his labor. This too, I saw, that from the hand of God it comes.

25 Because who will eat and who will feel, except for me?

26 Because the man that is good before him, he gave wisdom, and knowledge and happiness, and to the sinner he gave a task of gathering and collecting, to give the good before God--- this too is a mirage, herding the wind.

Chapter 3

1 To everything there is a moment, a time for all that's sought under the sky.

2 A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot the planted.

3 A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break-down, and a time to build.

4 A time to weep and a time to be merry, a time for mourning, and a time for dancing.

5 A time to throw stones and a time to collect stones, a time to embrace, and a time to keep away from embrace.

6 A time to seek, and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to discard.

7 A time to rip, and a time to sew, a time to mute and time to talk,

8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

9 What benefit for the doer in that he has labored? 10 I saw the business which God has given man, to agonize over.

11 Everything that he has made, is beautiful in its time. Also the world, he gave in their hearts--- without which why a man will not find any deed done by God, from the first to the last. 12 I knew that there is nothing good in these, if not to rejoice, to make good while he lives.

13 And also every man that ate and drank, and saw good things out of all his labor--- a gift of god, it is.

14 I knew that everything done by God will exist forever--- nothing may be added to it, and nothing can be taken away, and God has made it so that one will fear his presence.

15 What was already is, and what will be already was, and God will demand the chased. 16 And I also saw, under the sun, the place of judgment, there the evil is, and the place of justice, there the evil are.

17 I said to myself-- God will judge both the righteous and the wicked: because there is a time for all that's sought, and for every deed, there.

18 I said to myself-- God will sort out over the happenings of man, and see that they are beasts, they are.

19 Because the events of men and the events of beasts, they to them are one and the same. As one dies, so the other dies, and one spirit for all. And there is no man who is elevated from the beast, because the whole is a mirage.

20 All things to one place are going, all came from the dust, and all returns to dust

21 Who knows whether the spirit of man, if up above it goes, and the spirit of the beast, if down to the ground it goes?

22 And I saw that there is nothing better than that a man will be happy in what he does, because this is his allotment. Because who will bring us to see of what will come after him?

Chapter 4

1 And I returned, and I saw all the oppression which exists under the sun. And here is the teardrop of the oppressed, and they have none to comfort them, and with the hands of their oppressors comes power, and they have none to comfort them.

2 And I praise the place of dead, who passed away from their lives, over that of those still alive. 3 And better than both, those who have not yet been, who did not see the evil deeds which are done under the sun.

4 And I saw all labor, and all skilled talent, as the envy of one man toward his peer, this too is a mirage and herding the wind. 5 The fool grasps together his own hands, and eats his own flesh. 6 Better a handful of restfulness than an armful of labor and herding the wind.

7 And I returned, and I saw a mirage, under the sun. 8 There is one without a second one, he doesn't even have a son or a brother, and there is no end to all his labors. His eye will not be satisfied with wealth, "And for whom do I labor and shed my soul of goodness?" This too is a mirage, and it is a bad business. 9 Better the two than the one: that they have a good wage for their labor.

10 Because if they should fall, one would raise his partner up, while if only one should fall, there would be no second to raise him up. 11 Also if two should lay down, they will be warm, and to only one, how shall he keep warm? 12 And if the one should be attacked, two would stand against him. A tripled-over string will not quickly break.

13 Better is a child, poor and wise, than a king, old and foolish, who would no longer know to heed advice. 14 Because the king exited from a prison, because even in his own reign, he was born to poverty. 15 I saw all life that transpires under the sun, along with the child, the second who stands under him. 16 Even with no end to people, and to all that is placed before them, even the last ones will not rejoice to him: because this too is a mirage and herding the wind.

17 Mind your legs while you walk to the house of God, and listen carefully, to the fools that give sacrifice, because they don't understand doing evil.

Chapter 5

1 Don't let your words startle in excitement, and let your heart not race, to bring forth something before God. Because God is in the sky, and you on the earth, hence your things will be meager.

2 Because a dream comes in many events, the voice of a fool with many words.

3 When you tend a vow to God, don't be late to redeem it, because there is no use for fools: that which you vow, redeem. 4 Better that you not vow, than that you vow and do not redeem.

5 Don't lend your voice to cause sin upon your flesh, and do not say before the angel that it was a mistake: why should God fume at your voice, and sabotage your hands' doing? 6 Because in the many dreams and mirages and many events: fear only God.

7 If you see an oppressor of the poor, a perverted judgment and justice, in the nation, don't gape at the find, because the guardian is higher than high, also there are those higher than them. 8 And every earthly benefit come for the king who to the fields would labor.

9 A money-lover will not sate from money, and he that loves plenty will not bring it, and this too is a mirage. 10 As the good increases, so increase its consumers, and with what utility to its owner, save for his eyes to behold.

11 Sweet is the sleep of the laborer, whether he eats much or but a little, while the rich man's satiety does not let him sleep.

12 There is a sick evil that I saw under the sun: wealth kept by its master, to his own bad end. 13 And the wealth was lost in a bad business, and he bears a son, with nothing in his hand. 14 As he left his mother's belly, so he will leave, as he has come, naked, and he will carry nothing of his labor, along in his hand. 15 And this also is a sick evil, in all ways that he came, so will he go, and what is the benefit that he should work for the wind? 16 Even so, all his days, he will eat in the darkness, and became very angry, and sickened, and fumed.

17 Here is what I have seen, good for who pleases to eat and to drink, and to see goodness from all the labor which he labors under the sun, in the number of the days of his life which God has given him, because this is his part. 18 Also to every man to whom god has given wealth and indulgences, and ruled for him to eat thereof, to bear his part, and to enjoy his labor--- this, a gift of God it is. 19 Because he will remember his days as not many, because God answers to the joy of his heart.

Chapter 6

1 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is heavy on man.

2 A man to whom God has given wealth and satisfaction and honor, and who's soul does not lack anything which it desires, and God does not allow him to eat from this, but a stranger will eat it. This is a mirage, and a wicked sickness.

3 If a man begets a hundred, and lives many years, and complete within the days of his life, and his soul does not fill with goodness, and he has no burial, I say: better than him is the miscarried. 4 Because in a mirage he came, and in darkness he walked, and his name will be covered in darkness. 5 Also the sun he did not see, and did not know where satisfaction comes from, here or there. 6 And if he had lived, one thousand years twice, and well, he did not see--- for everything is headed to one place.

7 All the labor of man put into his mouth, and even then the soul will not be filled. 8 Because what does the wise have over the fool? What does the knowing poor man, walking against the living? 9 Better the image to the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this too is a mirage, and herding the wind.

10 What has been, has already been named, and it is well known what this is, man. And he cannot altercate with one with more force than him.

11 Because there are many events, much mirage, what more for man? 12 Because who knows what is the good of a man in the life, in the number of days of his mirage life, living as a shadow, so that who will tell the man what will come after him, under the sun.

Chapter 7

1 Better is a good name than good oils, and the day of death from the day of birth.

2 Better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of festival, for that is the end of all men, the living will take to heart.

3 Better anger than merriment, for the heart betters in a fallen face.

4 The heart of the wise go to the house of mourning, and the heart of fools to the house of merriment.

5 Better to hear the scolding of the wise, than that a man hear the song of fools.

6 Because the sound of thorns within the pot, thus is the fool's merriment, this is also a mirage. 7 Because the oppressed will wax wise, and lose his heart, as gift.

8 Better the event's aftermath than its start, better the patient spirit than the proud spirit.

9 Don't startle your spirit to anger, because anger will rest in the breast of fools.

10 Don't say "What happened to make the earlier days better than these," for you ask this not in wisdom.

11 Better wisdom, with its legacy, more to those who see the sun. 12 Because the shadow of wisdom, is the shadow of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom will allow its owner life.

13 See that done by God, because who can set straight that which he has bent.

14 On a good day, be good, and on a bad day, see that this also as opposed to that did God make, so because a man will find nothing of what comes after.

15 I have seen everything in my days of mirage: there is a righteous man succumbing in righteousness, and a wicked man, enduring in his wickedness. 16 Don't be greatly righteous, and don't be too much wise, why become desolate? 17 Don't be greatly wicked, and don't become foolish: why die before your time? 18 Better that you grasp this, and from the other do not release your hand: because he who fears God will outdo everyone.

19 Wisdom is might to the wise-- more than ten rulers who were in the city.

20 For of men on the Earth, there is not a righteous one--- he who does good, and will not sin.

21 Also to all the things that will be spoken, don't give your heart, so that you won't hear your servants curse you. 22 Because also many time, your heart has known: that you too have cursed others.

23 All this, I tried with wisdom, I said I will become wise, and yet it is far from me. 24 Far, was what it was, and deeper than deep, who will find it? 25 I turned myself and my heart, to know and to seek, and ask for wisdom and reckoning; to know wickedness is folly, and folly madness.

26 And I find more bitter than death the woman whose heart is traps and snares, her hands clamps, those better before God escape from her, and a sinner in her will be trapped.

27 See, this is what I found, the saying of Koheleth, add the one to the other, to find the reckoning. 28 That which is still my soul's wish, I did not find, one man in a thousand, I found, but a woman among all those, I did not find. 29 See, only this I found: that God made man upright, while they sought many reckonings.

Chapter 8

1 Who is as the wise, and him who knows the meaning of events; man's wisdom will light his face, and the honor of his face will change.

2 Of me: Keep the king's word, and the word of a pledge to God.

3 Don't startle away from his presence, don't stand at an evil thing: because all that he will desire, he will do.

4 Regarding the words of a ruling king, and who does tell him "What shall you do?"

5 A commandment-keeper would not know an evil thing; and the heart of the wise will know time and judgement.

6 Because for all that is sought there is a time and judgement: because much is the evil of man.

7 Because he does not know what will be, because when it comes to be, who will tell him?

8 There is no man who rules the wind, to cage the wind, and there is no rule over the day of death, and there is no refuge in war, and the wicked will not escape his master.

9 All this I saw, and I gave my heart to all the doings which are done under the sun: the time when man rules over man, to do him wrong.

10 And in this I saw wicked men buried, and come those, from the holy place they will walk, who do right, and they will bow in the city, which they had made, and this too is a mirage.

11 In that the evil deed's sentence comes not quick, thus the heart of men within them fills, to do evil.

12 Whoever sins, does a bit of evil, and extends his own: because I also know that it will be good for the God-fearing, those that will fear his presence.

13 And good will not come to the wicked, and he will not extend his days as shadow--- that who does not fear from God's presence.

14 There is mirage, done on the Earth, that there are righteous ones whose fate is as if for the work of the wicked, and there are wicked ones whose fate arrives as if for the works of the righteous. I said that this too is a mirage.

15 And I praise the joy, there is nothing better for man under the sun, but to eat and to drink and to be happy, and it will accompany his work, all the days of his life, given by God, under the sun.

16 When I gave my heart to knowing wisdom, and to see the business which is done on the Earth: because both day and night, sleep he does not see in his eyes.

17 And I saw all the works of God, because man could not find the doings which are done under the sun, in that a man will labor to seek, and will not find, and also if the wise man aims to know, he cannot find.

Chapter 9

1 Because to all this I gave my heart, and to dig deep into all this, that which the righteous and the wise and their labors in the hands of God, also love also hate, man does not know--- everything is before them.

2 Everything is as everything else, one fate for the righteous and the wicked, to the good and pure and to the defiled, and to the feted as to he who is not feted, to the good as to the sinner, to the sworn as he swears will see.

3 This is evil, of all that is done under the sun, that there is one fate for all. And also the hearts of men is filled with evil and madness in their hearts, and in their lives, and afterwards, and to the dead.

4 Because he who is chosen to be[3] among all the living is secured: because the living dog is better than the dead lion.

5 Because the living know that they will die, and the dead do not know anything, and to them there is no longer any wage, because their memory is forgotten.

6 You have also loved and also hated, also envied, this is already lost, and these have no part still to eternity, in all that is done under the sun.

7 Go eat your bread in happiness, and drink your wine with a good heart, because God has already desired your deeds.

8 In every time, let your clothes be white, and on your head lack not in oils.

9 See life with a woman that you have loved, all the days of your life's mirage, which is given you under the sun, all your mirage days, because this is your allotment in life, and in your labor, which you labor under the sun.

10 All that your hands shall find to do within their power, do: because there is no deed or reckoning or knowledge or wisdom in the underworld, that is where you are going.

11 I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the fleet, and the war is not to the hero, and bread is not to the wise, and wealth is not to the scholars, and admiration is not to the knowledgeable, but time and misfortune will come to all.

12 Because if also a man did not know his time, as fish caught in an evil net, and as birds caught in the trap, as them men fall to an evil time, that will fall upon them suddenly.

13 This too I saw, wisdom under the sun, and to me it was great.

14 A small city, and few people in it, and a great king comes there, and encircled it and built upon it great fortifications.

15 And he found in it, a poor wise man, who delivered the city in his wisdom, and nobody remembered this poor man.

16 And me, I said, better is wisdom than bravery: and the wisdom of the poor is mocked, and his words are not heard.

17 The words of the wise are tranquilly accepted, more than the shout of the governor of the fools.

18 Better wisdom than battle weapons, and one sinner loses much good.

Chapter 10

1 Flies with death will rankly putrefy the perfumer's oil, a bit of foolishness outshines wisdom and honor.

2 The heart of a wise man to his right, the heart of a foolish man to his left. 3 And also on the path that the fool walks, his heart is lacking, and says to all: this is a fool.

4 If the governor turns against you, don't give up your standing, because a healing will soothe great sins.

5 There is an evil I have seen under the sun, as an error that goes forth from before the ruler. 6 Folly is given from great heights, and the wealthy sit in dishonor.7 I saw slaves on horseback, and ministers walking as slaves on the Earth.

8 Who digs a pit, will in it fall, and who breaks a fence, a snake will bite. 9 A carrier of stones, will hurt of these. A harvester of trees will be put in danger from these. 10 If the iron blunted, and he did not whet it's faces, his soldiers will strengthen.[4] And the benefit of fitness is wisdom.[5]

11 If the snake will bite without being charmed, there is no benefit to the charming tongue.

12 The words of a wise man please. and the fool's lips will swallow him up. 13 The start of his words: foolishness. The later words: evil gibberish. 14 And the fool will multiply his words. Man does not know what is to be, and as for that which comes after him, who will tell him?

15 The labor of fools will afflict us--- that who did not know to go to a city.

16 Be not a country with a teenage king, and your ministers eat in the morning. 17 Let you be a country, with a free man your king, and your ministers eat timely, as heroism, not in drunkenness.

18 In double-laziness, the rafters sink. In negligent hands, the house will leak. 19 For fun's sake, they make bread, and wine will make life joyful, and money torments everything.[6]

20 Even in your thoughts, do not curse a king, and in your bedroom don't curse a rich man. Because a bird of the sky will carry the voice, and a wing-bearer will say the thing.

Chapter 11

1 Cast your bread onto the waters, because in the many days, you shall find it. 2 Give a part to seven, even to eight, because you will not know what evil will be on the Earth.

3 If the clouds will fill with rain, on the Earth they will empty, and if a tree will fall in the north, or the south, the place that the tree will fall, there will it be.

4 He who keeps the wind will not sow seed, and he who looks to clouds will not reap. 5 When you do not know what is the path of the wind, like bones in a full belly, so won't you know God's doing, what he will do with everything.

6 In the morning, seed your seed, and in the evening, do not put down your hand, because you do not know which one one will be fit, this one or that, or neither, if one is as good as the other.

7 And sweet is light, and it is good for the eyes to see the sun. 8 Because if a man should live many years, in all he will be happy, and he will remember the days of darkness, because they will be many in all the mirage that comes.

9 Be happy, young man, in your childhood, and your heart will improve in the days of your virility, and go along the paths of your heart, and the sight of your eyes, and know that over all these God will bring you to judgment. 10 And eradicate anger from your heart, and pass evil away from your flesh because childhood and dawning are a mirage.

Chapter 12

1 And remember your creator in the days of your virility, just until they will come, the bad days, and there will come years of which you you will say: "I do not have use for these."

2 So until the sun will darken, and the light and the moon, and the stars, and the clouds return after the rain.

3 On the day that the guardians of the house will shake, and the the soldiers will distort, and the millers shall be idle because they dwindled in number, and the lights will darken in the windows. 4 And the doors in the marketplace will close, in the fading sound of the mill, and to the sound of the birds it will arise, and all the song-girls will lay low.

5 Also they will fear the on high, and along the path terrors, and the almond shall blossom and the locust will be burdened[7], and the caperberry shall fail, because a man is walking to the eternal home, and the mourners surround the marketplace.

6 Until the silver rope is snapped[8], and the golden bowl is cracked, and the pitcher breaks on the fountain, and the cover-wheel crumbles into the well. 7 And the dust returns to the Earth, as it was, and the spirit returns to God, who gave it.

8 Vapid mirage, said Koheleth, everything is a mirage. 9 And as Koheleth became wiser, so he taught wisdom to the people, and he listened and he investigated, and he set many sayings.

10 Koheleth asked to find things of use, and right writing, truthful words. 11 The words of wise men planted as fasteners and ramparts in the pages of anthologies; they were given by one shepherd.

12 And more than of these, my son, be careful: to making many books there is no end, and too much studying afflicts the flesh.

13 Word's end, everything is heard: Fear God, and keep his commandments, because this is all to man. 14 Because to every deed God will bring judgment, over all that's hidden, whether good, or bad.


  1. הֶבֶל is the problematic word; it has connotations of fraud, illusion, vapor, futility. I tried futile, but it doesn't work in some verses, vapor and vapid work as the noun and adjective form, but are a little imprecise. Mirage is better, with the subtle connotation of fraud, illusion, and vapor, but it has no good adjective form meaning "like a mirage", although you could use the word mirage itself as an adjective neologism. Bullshit is possibly closest, although it has the wrong connotation of profanity, and bogus is OK, but has no noun form, "bogosity" is too ponderous and "bogusness" is just ridiculous. King James uses "vanity", but in an archaic meaning as a noun form of "vain" in the sense of "this endeavor has been in vain". This solution is the worst of all, since it alters meaning, so it is even worse than "bullshit". (regarding 'all' and 'a mirage', See talk).
  2. went Heb: uvah hashemesh is an idiom for sunset, but it also means "the sun comes", the main meaning is the sun set, the secondary meaning is "the sun comes". "The sun went" is approximately the same double meaning, in the opinion of the translator.
  3. the word is יבחר, which can mean "chosen", but it is corrected in the traditional text to יְחֻבַּר, which means connected to. I avoided the correction, perhaps wrongly.
  4. soldiers is a metaphor for legs, as in the last chapter, where they start to shake with age. Here, they are getting stronger, because the woodcutter is using a blunt blade.
  5. hachser, here interpreted as "fitness" is based on the leg-strengthening of the last verse, of the woodchopper getting a workout. Traditional interpretation does not see the root as physical fitness, this root has this connotation.
  6. alt: money answers everything. Ambiguous
  7. This might mean a "locust tree". This suggestion is from a new translation, which was written after this, and was not otherwise used.
  8. ירחק יֵרָתֵק this has a meaning of: "will be far off", but is corrected traditionally to יֵרָתֵק, which means "will snap". Since the correction is of a tiny jot on the bottom of one letter, and the meaning is much clearer in the parallel construction that follows, I translated the traditional correction.