With the aid of previous versions and with constant consultation of Jewish Authorities
Max Leopold Margolis
The Jewish Publication Society
ECCLESIASTES 1 1 The words of the Koheleth, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.2 Vanity of vanities, saith Koheleth;10 Is there a thing whereof it is said: 'See, this is new'? --it hath been already, in the ages which were before us. 11 There is no remembrance of them of former times; neither shall there be any remembrance of them of latter times that are to come, among those that shall come after.
Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.
3 What profit hath man of all his labour
Wherein he laboureth under the sun?
4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh;
And the earth abideth for ever.
5 The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down,
And hasteth to his place where he ariseth.
6 The wind goeth toward the south,
And turneth about unto the north;
It turneth about continually in its circuit,
And the wind returneth again to its circuits.
7 All the rivers run into the sea,
Yet the sea is not full;
Unto the place whither the rivers go,
Thither they go again.
8 All things toil to weariness;
Man cannot utter it,
The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
Nor the ear filled with hearing.
9 That which hath been is that which shall be,
And that which hath been done is that which shall be done;
And there is nothing new under the sun.
12 I Koheleth have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven; it is a sore task that God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised therewith. 14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.15 That which is crooked cannot be made straight;16 I spoke with my own heart, saying: 'Lo, I have gotten great wisdom, more also than all that were before me over Jerusalem'; yea, my heart hath had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. 17 And I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly--I perceived that this also was a striving after wind.
And that which is wanting cannot be numbered.18 For in much wisdom is much vexation;
And he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
ECCLESIASTES 2 1 I said in my heart: 'Come now, I will try thee with mirth, and enjoy pleasure'; and, behold, this also was vanity. 2 I said of laughter: 'It is mad'; and of mirth: 'What doth it accomplish?' 3 I searched in my heart how to pamper my flesh with wine, and, my heart conducting itself with wisdom, how yet to lay hold on folly, till I might see which it was best for the sons of men that they should do under the heaven the few days of their life. 4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards; 5 I made me gardens and parks, and I planted trees in them of all kinds of fruit; 6 I made me pools of water, to water therefrom the wood springing up with trees; 7 I acquired men-servants and maid-servants, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of herds and flocks, above all that were before me in Jerusalem; 8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and treasure such as kings and the provinces have as their own; I got me men-singers and women-singers, and the delights of the sons of men, women very many. 9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom stood me in stead. 10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them; I withheld not my heart from any joy, for my heart had joy of all my labour; and this was my portion from all my labour. 11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do; and, behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was no profit under the sun.
12 And I turned myself to behold wisdom, and madness and folly; for what can the man do that cometh after the king? even that which hath been already done. 13 Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.14 The wise man, his eyes are in his head;And I also perceived that one event happeneth to them all. 15 Then said I in my heart: 'As it happeneth to the fool, so will it happen even to me; and why was I then more wise?' Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity. 16 For of the wise man, even as of the fool, there is no remembrance for ever; seeing that in the days to come all will long ago have been forgotten. And how must the wise man die even as the fool! 17 So I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun was grievous unto me; for all is vanity and a striving after wind.
But the fool walketh in darkness.
18 And I hated all my labour wherein I laboured under the sun, seeing that I must leave it unto the man that shall be after me. 19 And who knoweth whether he will be a wise man or a fool? yet will he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shown myself wise under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 Therefore I turned about to cause my heart to despair concerning all the labour wherein I had laboured under the sun. 21 For there is a man whose labour is with wisdom, and with knowledge, and with skill; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 For what hath a man of all his labour, and of the striving of his heart, wherein he laboureth under the sun? 23 For all his days are pains, and his occupation vexation; yea, even in the night his heart taketh not rest. This also is vanity.
24 There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and make his soul enjoy pleasure for his labour. This also I saw, that it is from the hand of God. 25 For who will eat, or who will enjoy, if not I? 26 For to the man that is good in His sight He giveth wisdom, and knowledge, and joy; but to the sinner He giveth the task, to gather and to heap up, that he may leave to him that is good in the sight of God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.
ECCLESIASTES 3 1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:2 A time to be born, and a time to die;9 What profit hath he that worketh in that he laboureth? 10 I have seen the task which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised therewith. 11 He hath made every thing beautiful in its time; also He hath set the world in their heart, yet so that man cannot find out the work that God hath done from the beginning even to the end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for them, than to rejoice, and to get pleasure so long as they live. 13 But also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy pleasure for all his labour, is the gift of God. 14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever; nothing can be added to it, nor any thing taken from it; and God hath so made it, that men should fear before Him. 15 That which is hath been long ago, and that which is to be hath already been; and God seeketh that which is pursued.
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time for war, and a time for peace.
16 And moreover I saw under the sun, in the place of justice, that wickedness was there; and in the place of righteousness, that wickedness was there. 17 I said in my heart: 'The righteous and the wicked God will judge; for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.' 18 I said in my heart: 'It is because of the sons of men, that God may sift them, and that they may see that they themselves are but as beasts.' 19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them; as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that man hath no pre-eminence above a beast; for all is vanity. 20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all return to dust. 21 Who knoweth the spirit of man whether it goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast whether it goeth downward to the earth? 22 Wherefore I perceived that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his works; for that is his portion; for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?
ECCLESIASTES 4 1 But I returned and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun; and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power, but they had no comforter. 2 Wherefore I praised the dead that are already dead more than the living that are yet alive; 3 but better than they both is he that hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.
4 Again, I considered all labour and all excelling in work, that it is a man's rivalry with his neighbour. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.5 The fool foldeth his hands together,
And eateth his own flesh.
6 Better is a handful of quietness,
Than both the hands full of labour and striving after wind.
7 Then I returned and saw vanity under the sun. 8 There is one that is alone, and he hath not a second; yea, he hath neither son nor brother; yet is there no end of all his labour, neither is his eye satisfied with riches: 'for whom then do I labour, and bereave my soul of pleasure?' This also is vanity, yea, it is a grievous business. 9 Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, and hath not another to lift him up. 11 Again, if two lie together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if a man prevail against him that is alone, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
13 Better is a poor and wise child than an old and foolish king, who knoweth not how to receive admonition any more. 14 For out of prison he came forth to be king; although in his kingdom he was born poor. 15 I saw all the living that walk under the sun, that they were with the child, the second, that was to stand up in his stead. 16 There was no end of all the people, even of all them whom he did lead; yet they that come after shall not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind.
17 Guard thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be ready to hearken: it is better than when fools give sacrifices; for they know not that they do evil.
ECCLESIASTES 5 1 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thy heart be hasty to utter a word before God; for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth; therefore let thy words be few.2 For a dream cometh through a multitude of business;3 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for He hath no pleasure in fools; pay that which thou vowest. 4 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. 5 Suffer not thy mouth to bring thy flesh into guilt, neither say thou before the messenger, that it was an error; wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thy hands? 6 For through the multitude of dreams and vanities there are also many words; but fear thou God.
And a fool's voice through a multitude of words.
7 If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and the violent perverting of justice and righteousness in the state, marvel not at the matter; for one higher than the high watcheth, and there are higher than they. 8 But the profit of a land every way is a king that maketh himself servant to the field.
9 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance, with increase; this also is vanity. 10 When goods increase, they are increased that eat them; and what advantage is there to the owner thereof, saving the beholding of them with his eyes?
11 Sweet is the sleep of a labouring man, whether he eat little or much; but the satiety of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.
12 There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept by the owner thereof to his hurt; 13 and those riches perish by evil adventure; and if he hath begotten a son, there is nothing in his hand. 14 As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he go back as he came, and shall take nothing for his labour, which he may carry away in his hand. 15 And this also is a grievous evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go; and what profit hath he that he laboureth for the wind? 16 All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much vexation and sickness and wrath.
17 Behold that which I have seen: it is good, yea, it is comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy pleasure for all his labour, wherein he laboureth under the sun, all the days of his life which God hath given him; for this is his portion. 18 Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour--this is the gift of God. 19 For let him remember the days of his life that they are not many; for God answereth him in the joy of his heart.
ECCLESIASTES 6 1 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, and it is heavy upon men: 2 a man to whom God giveth riches, wealth, and honour, so that he wanteth nothing for his soul of all that he desireth, yet God giveth him not power to eat thereof, but a stranger eateth it; this is vanity, and it is an evil disease. 3 If a man beget a hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years are many, but his soul have not enough of good, and moreover he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he; 4 for it cometh in vanity, and departeth in darkness, and the name thereof is covered with darkness; 5 moreover it hath not seen the sun nor known it; this hath gratification rather than the other; 6 yea, though he live a thousand years twice told, and enjoy no good; do not all go to one place?7 All the labour of man is for his mouth,8 For what advantage hath the wise more than the fool? or the poor man that hath understanding, in walking before the living? 9 Better is the seeing of the eyes than the wandering of the desire; this also is vanity and a striving after wind.
And yet the appetite is not filled.
10 Whatsoever cometh into being, the name thereof was given long ago, and it is foreknown what man is; neither can he contend with Him that is mightier than he. 11 Seeing there are many words that increase vanity, what is man the better? 12 For who knoweth what is good for man in his life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?
ECCLESIASTES 7 1 A good name is better than precious oil;10 Say not thou: 'How was it that the former days were better than these?' for it is not out of wisdom that thou inquirest concerning this.
And the day of death than the day of one's birth.
2 It is better to go to the house of mourning,
Than to go to the house of feasting;
For that is the end of all men,
And the living will lay it to his heart.
3 Vexation is better than laughter;
For by the sadness of the countenance the heart may be gladdened.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning;
But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise,
Than for a man to hear the song of fools.
6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot,
So is the laughter of the fool;
This also is vanity.
7 Surely oppression turneth a wise man into a fool;
And a gift destroyeth the understanding.
8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof;
And the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry;
For anger resteth in the bosom of fools.11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance,12 For wisdom is a defence, even as money is a defence; but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom preserveth the life of him that hath it.
Yea, a profit to them that see the sun.
13 Consider the work of God; for who can make that straight, which He hath made crooked? 14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider; God hath made even the one as well as the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.
15 All things have I seen in the days of my vanity; there is a righteous man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his evil-doing. 16 Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself overwise; why shouldest thou destroy thyself? 17 Be not overmuch wicked, neither be thou foolish; why shouldest thou die before thy time? 18 It is good that thou shouldest take hold of the one; yea, also from the other withdraw not thy hand; for he that feareth God shall discharge himself of them all.
19 Wisdom is a stronghold to the wise man more than ten rulers that are in a city. 20 For there is not a righteous man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
21 Also take not heed unto all words that are spoken, lest thou hear thy servant curse thee; 22 for oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.
23 All this have I tried by wisdom; I said: 'I will get wisdom'; but it was far from me. 24 That which is is far off, and exceeding deep; who can find it out? 25 I turned about, and applied my heart to know and to search out, and to seek wisdom and the reason of things, and to know wickedness to be folly, and foolishness to be madness; 26 and I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands; whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her. 27 Behold, this have I found, saith Koheleth, adding one thing to another, to find out the account; 28 which yet my soul sought, but I found not; one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found. 29 Behold, this only have I found, that God made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.
ECCLESIASTES 8 1 Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing?A man's wisdom maketh his face to shine,2 I [counsel thee:] keep the king's command, and that in regard of the oath of God. 3 Be not hasty to go out of his presence; stand not in an evil thing; for he doeth whatsoever pleaseth him. 4 Forasmuch as the king's word hath power; and who may say unto him: 'What doest thou?'
And the boldness of his face is changed.5 Whoso keepeth the commandment shall know no evil thing;6 For to every matter there is a time and judgment; for the evil of man is great upon him. 7 For he knoweth not that which shall be; for even when it cometh to pass, who shall declare it unto him? 8 There is no man that hath power over the wind to retain the wind; neither hath he power over the day of death; and there is no discharge in war; neither shall wickedness deliver him that is given to it. 9 All this have I seen, even applied my heart thereto, whatever the work that is done under the sun; what time one man had power over another to his hurt.
And a wise man's heart discerneth time and judgment.
10 And so I saw the wicked buried, and they entered into their rest; but they that had done right went away from the holy place, and were forgotten in the city; this also is vanity. 11 Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil; 12 because a sinner doeth evil a hundred times, and prolongeth his days--though yet I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, that fear before Him; 13 but it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he feareth not before God. 14 There is a vanity which is done upon the earth: that there are righteous men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there are wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous--I said that this also is vanity. 15 So I commended mirth, that a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry, and that this should accompany him in his labour all the days of his life which God hath given him under the sun.
16 When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth--for neither day nor night do men see sleep with their eyes-- 17 then I beheld all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun; because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further, though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.
ECCLESIASTES 9 1 For all this I laid to my heart, even to make clear all this: that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God; whether it be love or hatred, man knoweth it not; all is before them. 2 All things come alike to all; there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth and to him that sacrificeth not; as is the good, so is the sinner, and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath. 3 This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that there is one event unto all; yea also, the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.
4 For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead lion. 5 For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 As well their love, as their hatred and their envy, is long ago perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy,9 Enjoy life with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which He hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity; for that is thy portion in life, and in thy labour wherein thou labourest under the sun. 10 Whatsoever thy hand attaineth to do by thy strength, that do; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
And drink thy wine with a merry heart;
For God hath already accepted thy works.
8 Let thy garments be always white;
And let thy head lack no oil.
11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. 12 For man also knoweth not his time; as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare, even so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.
13 This also have I seen as wisdom under the sun, and it seemed great unto me: 14 there was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it; 15 now there was found in it a man poor and wise, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. 16 Then said I: 'Wisdom is better than strength; nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.'17 The words of the wise spoken in quiet3 Yea also, when a fool walketh by the way, his understanding faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.
Are more acceptable than the cry of a ruler among fools.
18 Wisdom is better than weapons of war;
But one sinner destroyeth much good.
ECCLESIASTES 10 1 Dead flies make the ointment of the perfumer fetid and putrid;
So doth a little folly outweigh wisdom and honour.
2 A wise man's understanding is at his right hand;
But a fool's understanding at his left.4 If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee,9 And besides that Koheleth was wise, he also taught the people knowledge; yea, he pondered, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. 10 Koheleth sought to find out words of delight, and that which was written uprightly, even words of truth.
Leave not thy place;
For gentleness allayeth great offences.
5 There is an evil which I have seen under the sun,
Like an error which proceedeth from a ruler:
6 Folly is set on great heights,
And the rich sit in low place.
7 I have seen servants upon horses,
And princes walking as servants upon the earth.
8 He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it;
And whoso breaketh through a fence, a serpent shall bite him.
9 Whoso quarrieth stones shall be hurt therewith;
And he that cleaveth wood is endangered thereby.
10 If the iron be blunt,
And one do not whet the edge,
Then must he put to more strength;
But wisdom is profitable to direct.
11 If the serpent bite before it is charmed,
Then the charmer hath no advantage.
12 The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious;
But the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.
13 The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness;
And the end of his talk is grievous madness.
14 A fool also multiplieth words;
Yet man knoweth not what shall be;
And that which shall be after him,
Who can tell him?
15 The labour of fools wearieth every one of them,
For he knoweth not how to go to the city.
16 Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a boy,
And thy princes feast in the morning!
17 Happy art thou, O land, when thy king is a free man,
And thy princes eat in due season,
In strength, and not in drunkenness!
18 By slothfulness the rafters sink in;
And through idleness of the hands the house leaketh.
19 A feast is made for laughter,
And wine maketh glad the life;
And money answereth all things.
20 Curse not the king, no, not in thy thought,
And curse not the rich in thy bedchamber;
For a bird of the air shall carry the voice,
And that which hath wings shall tell the matter.
ECCLESIASTES 11 1 Cast thy bread upon the waters,
For thou shalt find it after many days.
2 Divide a portion into seven, yea, even into eight;
For thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.
3 If the clouds be full of rain,
They empty themselves upon the earth;
And if a tree fall in the south, or in the north,
In the place where the tree falleth, there shall it be.
4 He that observeth the wind shall not sow;
And he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.
5 As thou knowest not what is the way of the wind,
Nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child;
Even so thou knowest not the work of God
Who doeth all things.
6 In the morning sow thy seed,
And in the evening withhold not thy hand;
For thou knowest not which shall prosper, whether this or that,
Or whether they both shall be alike good.
7 And the light is sweet,
And a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.
8 For if a man live many years,
Let him rejoice in them all,
And remember the days of darkness,
For they shall be many.
All that cometh is vanity.
9 Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth;
And let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth,
And walk in the ways of thy heart,
And in the sight of thine eyes;
But know thou, that for all these things
God will bring thee into judgment.
10 Therefore remove vexation from thy heart,
And put away evil from thy flesh;
For childhood and youth are vanity.
ECCLESIASTES 12 1 Remember then thy Creator in the days of thy youth,
Before the evil days come,
And the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say:
'I have no pleasure in them';
2 Before the sun, and the light, and the moon,
And the stars, are darkened,
And the clouds return after the rain;
3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble,
And the strong men shall bow themselves,
And the grinders cease because they are few,
And those that look out shall be darkened in the windows,
4 And the doors shall be shut in the street,
When the sound of the grinding is low;
And one shall start up at the voice of a bird,
And all the daughters of music shall be brought low;
5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high,
And terrors shall be in the way;
And the almond-tree shall blossom,
And the grasshopper shall drag itself along,
And the caperberry shall fail;
Because man goeth to his long home,
And the mourners go about the streets;
6 Before the silver cord is snapped asunder,
And the golden bowl is shattered,
And the pitcher is broken at the fountain,
And the wheel falleth shattered, into the pit;
7 And the dust returneth to the earth as it was,
And the spirit returneth unto God who gave it.
8 Vanity of vanities, saith Koheleth;
All is vanity.
11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails well fastened are those that are composed in collections; they are given from one shepherd. 12 And furthermore, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
13 The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole man. 14 For God shall bring every work into the judgment concerning every hidden thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.
The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole man.