Ecclesiastes - Chapter 2


The King James Version Basic English Version (BBE)

1 I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity.

1 I said in my heart, I will give you joy for a test; so take your pleasure--but it was to no purpose.

2 I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it?

2 Of laughing I said, It is foolish; and of joy--What use is it?

3 I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine, yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom; and to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was that good for the sons of men, which they should do under the heaven all the days of their life.

3 I made a search with my heart to give pleasure to my flesh with wine, still guiding my heart with wisdom, and to go after foolish things, so that I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under the heavens all the days of their life.

4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:

4 I undertook great works, building myself houses and planting vine-gardens.

5 I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits:

5 I made myself gardens and fruit gardens, planting in them fruit-trees of all sorts.

6 I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:

6 I made pools to give water for the woods with their young trees.

7 I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me:

7 I got men-servants and women-servants, and they gave birth to sons and daughters in my house. I had great wealth of herds and flocks, more than all who were in Jerusalem before me.

8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.

8 I got together silver and gold and the wealth of kings and of countries. I got makers of song, male and female; and the delights of the sons of men--girls of all sorts to be my brides.

9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.

9 And I became great; increasing more than all who had been before me in Jerusalem, and my wisdom was still with me.

10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.

10 And nothing which was desired by my eyes did I keep from them; I did not keep any joy from my heart, because my heart took pleasure in all my work, and this was my reward.

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 vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.

11 Then I saw all the works which my hands had made, and everything I had been working to do; and I saw that all was to no purpose and desire for 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.

12 And I went again in search of wisdom and of foolish ways. What may the man do who comes after the king? The thing which he has done before.

13 Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness.

13 Then I saw that wisdom is better than foolish ways--as the light is better than the dark.

14 The wise man's eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.

14 The wise man's eyes are in his head, but the foolish man goes walking in the dark; but still I saw that the same event comes to them all.

15 Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.

15 Then said I in my heart: As it comes to the foolish man, so will it come to me; so why have I been wise overmuch? Then I said in my heart: This again is to no purpose.

16 For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.

16 Of the wise man, as of the foolish man, there is no memory for ever, seeing that those who now are will have gone from memory in the days to come. See how death comes to the wise as to the foolish!

17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

17 So I was hating life, because everything under the sun was evil to me: all is to no purpose and desire for wind.

18 Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.

18 Hate had I for all my work which I had done, because the man who comes after me will have its fruits.

19 And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.

19 And who is to say if that man will be wise or foolish? But he will have power over all my work which I have done and in which I have been wise under the sun. This again is to no purpose.

20 Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.

20 So my mind was turned to grief for all the trouble I had taken and all my wisdom under the sun.

21 For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.

21 Because there is a man whose work has been done with wisdom, with knowledge, and with an expert hand; but one who has done nothing for it will have it for his heritage. This again is to no purpose and a great evil.

22 For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun?

22 What does a man get for all his work, and for the weight of care with which he has done his work under the sun?

23 For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.

23 All his days are sorrow, and his work is full of grief. Even in the night his heart has no rest. This again is to no purpose.

24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.

24 There is nothing better for a man than taking meat and drink, and having delight in his work. This again I saw was from the hand of God.

25 For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I?

25 Who may take food or have pleasure without him?

26 For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit.

26 To the man with whom he is pleased, God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy; but to the sinner he gives the work of getting goods together and storing up wealth, to give to him in whom God has pleasure. This again is to no purpose and desire for wind.




Rights in the Authorized Version are vested in the Crown. Published in the United Kingdom by permission of the Crown"s patentee, Cambridge University Press.

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