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The Jewish Study Bible Contextualizes the Hebrew Bible with accompanying scholarly text on Jewish traditions and history.

Chapter 1

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The words of Koheleth a Probably “the Assembler,” i.e., of hearers or of sayings; cf. 12.9–11 . son of David, king in Jerusalem.

1 2Utter futility!—said Koheleth— Utter futility! All is futile! 3What real value is there for a man In all the gains b So Rashbam. Heb. ‘amal usually has this sense in Ecclesiastes; cf. Ps. 105.44 . he makes beneath the sun? 4One generation goes, another comes, But the earth remains the same forever. 5The sun rises, and the sun sets— And glides c So Targum; cf. Bereshith Rabbah on Gen. 1.17 . back to where it rises. 6Southward blowing, Turning northward, Ever turning blows the wind; On its rounds the wind returns. 7All streams flow into the sea, Yet the sea is never full; To the place [from] which they flow The streams flow back again. d According to popular belief, through tunnels; so Targum and Rashi. 8All such things are wearisome: No man can ever state them; The eye never has enough of seeing, Nor the ear enough of hearing. 9Only that shall happen Which has happened, Only that occur Which has occurred; There is nothing new Beneath the sun!

10Sometimes there is a phenomenon of which they say, “Look, this one is new!”—it occurred long since, in ages that went by before us. 11 The earlier ones are not remembered; so too those that will occur later a‐ Lit. “will not be remembered like‐.‐.‐.” For ‘im meaning “like,” cf. 2.16; 7.11; Job 9.26 . will no more be remembered than ‐a Lit. “will not be remembered like‐.‐.‐.” For ‘im meaning “like,” cf. 2.16; 7.11; Job 9.26 . those that will occur at the very end.

12I, Koheleth, was king in Jerusalem over Israel. 13 I set my mind to study and to probe with wisdom all that happens under the sun.—An unhappy business, that, which God gave men to be concerned with! 14 I observed all the happenings beneath the sun, and I found that all is futile and pursuit b Lit. “tending,” from root ra‘ah, “to shepherd.” of wind:

15A twisted thing that cannot be made straight, A lack that cannot be made good.

16I said to myself: “Here I have grown richer and wiser than any that ruled before me over Jerusalem, and my mind has zealously absorbed wisdom and learning.”

17And so I set my mind to appraise wisdom and to appraise madness and folly. And I learned—that this too was pursuit of wind:

18For as wisdom grows, vexation grows; To increase learning is to increase heartache.

Notes:

a Probably “the Assembler,” i.e., of hearers or of sayings; cf. 12.9–11 .

b So Rashbam. Heb. ‘amal usually has this sense in Ecclesiastes; cf. Ps. 105.44 .

c So Targum; cf. Bereshith Rabbah on Gen. 1.17 .

d According to popular belief, through tunnels; so Targum and Rashi.

a‐a Lit. “will not be remembered like‐.‐.‐.” For ‘im meaning “like,” cf. 2.16; 7.11; Job 9.26 .

b Lit. “tending,” from root ra‘ah, “to shepherd.”

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