The Futility of Life
There is another evil I have seen under the sun, and it weighs heavily upon mankind: God gives a man riches, wealth, and honor, so that he lacks nothing his heart desires; but God does not allow him to enjoy them. Instead, a stranger will enjoy them. This is futile and a grievous affliction.
A man may father a hundred children and live for many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he is unsatisfied with his prosperity and does not even receive a proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. For a stillborn child enters in futility and departs in darkness, and his name is shrouded in obscurity. The child, though neither seeing the sun nor knowing anything, has more rest than that man, even if he lives a thousand years twice over but fails to enjoy his prosperity. Do not all go to the same place?
All a man’s labor is for his mouth,
yet his appetite is never satisfied.*
What advantage, then, has the wise man over the fool? What gain comes to the poor man who knows how to conduct himself before others? Better what the eye can see than the wandering of desire. This too is futile and a pursuit of the wind.
10 Whatever exists was named long ago, and what happens to a man is foreknown; but he cannot contend with one stronger than he. 11 For the more words, the more futilityand how does that profit anyone? 12 For who knows what is good for a man during the few days in which he passes through his fleeting life like a shadow? Who can tell a man what will come after him under the sun?
* 6:7 Hebrew filled