Ecclesiastes

“There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven. (2) A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest…”

“Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator.”

Ecclesiastes is probably one of the more interesting books of the Old Testament, at least if you’ve just been through some kind of sudden realization. (For example, the realization that — OMG, you can actually die.) It’s one I go back to often, when I’m down for one reason or another, and I need a sympathetic word, something which is encouraging enough to get me out of my Sartre-esque “nausea” period, but not something which yells out “Hurray for this wonderful life!” At least not directly.

“Just as being too busy gives you nightmares, being a fool makes you a blabbermouth.” (Man, I wish I would have known that when I was younger.)

As such, I’ve posted here the entire Book of Ecclesiastes. Bookmark this page and come back to it whenever you’re deep in thought about life, death, and those things which, when faced, shake the very foundations of your being.

(This one’s for you, Syage.)

Chapter 1

(1) These are the words of the Teacher, King David’s son, who ruled in Jerusalem. (2) “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “utterly meaningless!” (3) What do people get for all their hard work?

(4) Generations come and go, but nothing really changes. (5) The sun rises and sets and hurries around to rise again. (6) The wind blows south and north, here and there, twisting back and forth, getting nowhere. (7) The rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows again to the sea. (8) Everything is so weary and tiresome! No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.

(9) History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. (10) What can you point to that is new? How do you know it didn’t already exist long ago? (11) We don’t remember what happened in those former times. And in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.

(12) I, the Teacher, was king of Israel, and I lived in Jerusalem. (13) I devoted myself to search for understanding and to explore by wisdom everything being done in the world. I soon discovered that God has dealt a tragic existence to the human race. (14) Everything under the sun is meaningless, like chasing the wind. (15) What is wrong cannot be righted. What is missing cannot be recovered. (16) I said to myself, “Look, I am wiser than any of the kings who ruled in Jerusalem before me. I have greater wisdom and knowledge than any of them.” (17) So I worked hard to distinguish wisdom from foolishness. But now I realize that even this was like chasing the wind. (18) For the greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow.

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