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1I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on mankind: 2God gives some people wealth, possessions and honor, so that they lack nothing their hearts desire, but God does not grant them the ability to enjoy them, and strangers enjoy them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil.

3A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. 4It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness its name is shrouded. 5Though it never saw the sun or knew anything, it has more rest than does that man— 6even if he lives a thousand years twice over but fails to enjoy his prosperity. Do not all go to the same place?

7Everyone’s toil is for their mouth,

yet their appetite is never satisfied.

8What advantage have the wise over fools?

What do the poor gain

by knowing how to conduct themselves before others?

9Better what the eye sees

than the roving of the appetite.

This too is meaningless,

a chasing after the wind.


10Whatever exists has already been named,

and what humanity is has been known;

no one can contend

with someone who is stronger.

11The more the words,

the less the meaning,

and how does that profit anyone?

12For who knows what is good for a person in life, during the few and meaningless days they pass through like a shadow? Who can tell them what will happen under the sun after they are gone?

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