1There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy upon men: 2a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honour, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them; this is vanity; it is a sore affliction. 3If a man begets a hundred children, and lives many years, so that the days of his years are many, but he does not enjoy life's good things, and also has no burial, I say that an untimely birth is better off than he. 4For it comes into vanity and goes into darkness, and in darkness its name is covered; 5moreover it has not seen the sun or known anything; yet it finds rest rather than he. 6Even though he should live a thousand years twice told, yet enjoy no good — do not all go to the one place?
7All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied. 8For what advantage has the wise man over the fool? And what does the poor man have who knows how to conduct himself before the living? 9Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire; this also is vanity and a striving after wind.
10Whatever has come to be has already been named, and it is known what man is, and that he is not able to dispute with one stronger than he. 11The more words, the more vanity, and what is man the better? 12For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow? For who can tell man what will be after him under the sun?
Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, 1957 and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.