This book contains the account of King Solomon observing what people do and of realizing that only reverencing God and obeying him is worthwhile. We call this book
Everything is mysterious
1 I am Solomon, the son of King David. I rule in Jerusalem and people call me ‘The ◄Preacher/Religious Teacher►’.
2 I say that everything is mysterious;
everything is hard for me to understand;
it is difficult to understand why everything happens.
3 ◄What do people gain from all the work that they do here on the earth?/It seems that people gain no lasting benefit from all the work that they do here on the earth.► [RHQ]
4 Each year old people die and babies are born,
but the earth never changes.
5 Each morning the sun rises, and each evening it sets,
and then it hurries around to where it started from.
6 The wind blows south,
and then it turns around to start blowing towards the north.
It goes around and around in circles.
7 All the streams flow into the sea,
but the sea is never full.
The water returns to the sky, and when it rains, the water returns to the rivers,
and it flows again to the sea.
8 Everything is boring,
with the result that we do not even want to talk about it.
We [SYN] see things,
but we always want to see more.
We [SYN] hear things,
but we always want to hear more.
9 Everything continues to be the same as it has always been;
things that happen have happened previously, and they will happen again.
What has been done before will be done again.
There is nothing really new in this world [MTY].
10 Sometimes people say, “Look at this! This is something new [RHQ]!”
But it has existed previously;
it existed before we were born.
11 People do not remember the things that happened long ago,
and in the future, people will not remember what we are doing now.
What the religious teacher found out about wisdom
12 I, the Religious Teacher, have been the king of Israel for many years, ruling in Jerusalem. 13 By being wise, I concentrated on understanding everything that was being done on the earth [MTY]. But I found out that God causes all of us to experience things that cause us to be unhappy/miserable. 14 It seems that nothing that happens on the earth really enables us to do anything useful. It is like [MET] chasing the wind.
15 Many things that are crooked cannot be caused to become straight;
we cannot count things that do not exist.
16 I said to myself, “Hey, I am wiser than any of the kings that ruled in Jerusalem before I became the king. I am wiser and I know more than any of them!” 17 So I determined to learn more about being wise and to learn about knowing about many things, and also to learn about doing things that are very foolish [DOU]. But I found out that trying to understand those things was also useless, like chasing the wind.
18 The wiser I became, the more disappointed I became.
The more things I knew about, the sadder I became.