The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. I think a little vanity can be healthy, especially when you work so hard to take care of your appearance. Just don’t overdo it! (But I know you won’t.)
What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? You’ve been working really hard, and you deserve how much money you make. Take a break!! Have a spa day.
One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. Sure, generations come and go, but at least the earth is still here. Never lost the earth yet.
The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. And the sun always comes back. That’s pretty good, right? The sun never — I mean, it never sets and then doesn’t come back, and that’s got to count for something. We’ve never been plunged into eternal darkness.
The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. And the wind, the wind does its thing, and that’s great too. You gotta have wind.
All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again. And there’s rivers. We need rivers for the crops and all. And they go to the ocean, which is terrific, because the ocean could always use some more water, for all the fish. Circle of life!
All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. And, you know, sure, life’s full of hard work, but there are always new things to see and hear, and that’s something.
The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Most things have already happened before. Some people would say that’s depressing. Not me, though. I like to think of it as a little play we put on for the sun, and the sun likes our play so much that he keeps asking us to do it over again, instead of doing something different. We’re a hit!!!
Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us. So maybe we don’t have a lot of new things. Who needs new things! Sometimes old things are the best things. Like cheese, or wine, or Estelle Getty. Everyone likes Estelle Getty.
There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after. Maybe we don’t remember the past like we should. Maybe nobody in the future will remember us. But you know what? Maybe it’s a reminder that we should start living in the moment.
I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem. Guess who’s king over Israel in Jerusalem! (So excited for this new challenge.)
And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith. So I thought: okay, I’m king, maybe I should try to learn wisdom. Okay!! New challenge, let’s do it!
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. So I looked at everything. It’s…look, the important thing is that we’re all trying. You can be proud of yourself if you try. You know? It’s the journey, not the destination, I think we can all agree on that.
That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered. This isn’t really related, but it’s hard to unbend something once you’ve bent it, so try not to bend too many things unless you absolutely have to, or know a really good ironworker.
I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. And I talked to my heart and I said, hi heart! And my heart said hi back. And I said, wow, I am really blessed, being king like this, and having so much wisdom, and my heart agreed.
And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. And then I thought I’d try to learn madness and folly too, just like wisdom, and I did it, which goes to show that you can do anything you put your mind to, even though madness and folly aren’t as helpful as wisdom sometimes, not that I would make a judgement call about that.
For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow. But you know, being wise doesn’t always make you happy. Unless it’s made you really happy! I don’t mean to devalue your experience in any way.
I said in mine heart, Go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity. So I said to my heart, let’s have some FUN.
I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What doeth it? But what does happiness do? Look, I’m not a scientist. I’m just the king over Israel in Jerusalem. Let’s just enjoy this.
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. Let’s have a drink!! Or even a few drinks; we don’t have work tomorrow!
I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: I’ve been remodeling lately, I’ve been planting some grapes to make some vino!!
I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits: Oh my God, what else, getting out in the garden, working on that, in the fresh air and the sunshine.
I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: Added a water feature!!!
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: Do you know how many different kinds of cattle there are? At least two. I have a Cattle Maiden just to distinguish my great cattle from my small cattle. I feel so fortunate.
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. This feels like bragging. Please tell me if I’m bragging.
So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me. Anyhow, I’ve had a lot of great things happen to me this year, and I feel lucky to have stayed so grounded.
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. Oh, the things I looked at! I love looking, it’s like shopping with your eyes.
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. Looked at my hands, looked at my gardens, looked at the water feature. But you know what? Life isn’t all water features.
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. There were some tough moments. I’ll be honest. How much better could I do than I’d already done? How many water features could I install in my orchards?
Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness. But then I remembered my wisdom!!!
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. Keep your eyes in your head, and a good head on your shoulders, and you’ll never go wrong. That’s what my grandma used to say, and I still believe it.
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. But you know what? It’s important to remember that I’m no better than anyone else, just because of being king and having so many water features and also so much wisdom. I’m just a regular guy.
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. Can we get real for a minute? I got into some stinkin’ thinkin’. Focused a lot on death, instead of the moment at hand, which is all we have right now.
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. Ahhh, I wouldn’t say that I hated life, but things were looking pretty bad. You know?
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. Even my water features didn’t help. Water features don’t last forever.
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. And it also reminded me that I should really come up with a will, because I have a lot of stuff to divvy up after I’ve passed into the next great adventure, which is all that death really is!!
Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun. I was throwing a self-pity party. But at least it was still sunny out!
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. For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? I work hard. I’m not going to apologize for that. Should I feel bad about wanting to make sure the next guy works hard too? I don’t think so.
For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity. Sleep is so important. If you’re not getting enough sleep, it can affect your mood, your health, your outlook on life. Try going to bed a few minutes early tonight.
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. Let’s be bad — let’s eat dessert first.
For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I? Don’t let my size fool you; I know how to put it away. I don’t look like it, but I do. I don’t know why. Lucky metabolism, I guess.
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. I don’t like to focus on what God gives other people. That’s really not my business.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: You know, there are seasons for a reason. Like fall. Don’t you just love fall? I love fall. I love winter too, but I really love fall. And spring. Ahhh, I can’t decide!! Haha. They’re all so good.
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time for babies!!!!!!
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; If you don’t tear down the old, you can’t make way for the new (like babies!!!!)
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; It’s ALWAYS time to dance, in my book. And this is my book! (Hahaha just a little book joke.) Now let’s dance!
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; Sometimes it’s not the right time for hugging. Like when you’re asleep. But I don’t mind a sleep hug every now and again.
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; I am always losing things! Do you have a problem with that too? Ahh!!
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; Sometimes silence…is the best answer to a question nobody asked.
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. I think the word hate is such a bummer. I don’t really hate anything! (Except MONDAYS.) Maybe let’s call it a time for Mondays.
What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? You should ask for a raise. You deserve it.
I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. I think that everything is beautiful, if you look at it the right way.
I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. It feels good to be good!
And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God. Have a little bite of something! You’ll feel better. Never make decisions when you’re hungry, that’s what I always say.
I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him. That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past. :) :) :)
And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there. Sure, there might be wickedness even in the place of righteousness, but that means the opposite is true too: there’s good in everyone. You just have to look for it!
I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work. *~*~*OnLy GoD CaN JuDgE mE *~*~*
I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts. People are a lot like animals. Dogs, especially. All they really want are regular meals, a warm place to sleep, and someone to scratch them behind the ears.
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 a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. I think it’s kind of sweet to think of us all going to the same place; it’s like we’re all passengers on the same ship.
Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth? I mean, who are we to say that dogs don’t go to heaven? The God I believe in wouldn’t keep our dogs from us.
Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him? Let tomorrow worry about tomorrow! We’re here today. Take the afternoon off!
Again I saw all the oppressions that are practiced under the sun. Look, the tears of the oppressed—with no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power—with no one to comfort them. Sometimes you need a good cry, though.
And I thought the dead, who have already died, more fortunate than the living, who are still alive; but better than both is the one who has not yet been, and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun. Children who haven’t been born yet are the luckiest. Think of all they’re going to get to see!!
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.