Ecclesiastes 1

1The words of Kohelet son of David, king in Yerushalayim.

div-RAY ko-HE-let ben da-VID ME-lekh bee-ru-sha-LA-im

אדִּבְרֵי קֹהֶלֶת בֶּן־דָּוִד מֶלֶךְ בִּירוּשָׁלָ ִם׃

 1:1   King in Yerushalayim

Kohelet, the Hebrew name of this book, is a title given to King Shlomo. Although he was king of all of Israel, the wisest of all men is called the “king in Yerushalayim” since Yerushalayim is known as a city of wisdom and a place that lends itself to deeper understanding. Furthermore, many sages resided in Yerushalayim, the political and spiritual capital of the united Kingdom of Israel. King Shlomo wants to add validity to his work by emphasizing that the observations recorded here were analyzed and approved by the wise residents of Jerusalem.

2Utter futility!—said Kohelet— Utter futility! All is futile!

בהֲבֵל הֲבָלִים אָמַר קֹהֶלֶת הֲבֵל הֲבָלִים הַכֹּל הָבֶל׃

3What real value is there for a man In all the gains he makes beneath the sun?

גמַה־יִּתְרוֹן לָאָדָם בְּכָל־עֲמָלוֹ שֶׁיַּעֲמֹל תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ׃

4One generation goes, another comes, But the earth remains the same forever.

דדּוֹר הֹלֵךְ וְדוֹר בָּא וְהָאָרֶץ לְעוֹלָם עֹמָדֶת׃

5The sun rises, and the sun sets— And glides back to where it rises.

הוְזָרַח הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וּבָא הַשָּׁמֶשׁ וְאֶל־מְקוֹמוֹ שׁוֹאֵף זוֹרֵחַ הוּא שָׁם׃

6Southward blowing, Turning northward, Ever turning blows the wind; On its rounds the wind returns.

והוֹלֵךְ אֶל־דָּרוֹם וְסוֹבֵב אֶל־צָפוֹן סוֹבֵב סֹבֵב הוֹלֵךְ הָרוּחַ וְעַל־סְבִיבֹתָיו שָׁב הָרוּחַ׃

7All streams flow into the sea, Yet the sea is never full; To the place [from] which they flow The streams flow back again.

זכָּל־הַנְּחָלִים הֹלְכִים אֶל־הַיָּם וְהַיָּם אֵינֶנּוּ מָלֵא אֶל־מְקוֹם שֶׁהַנְּחָלִים הֹלְכִים שָׁם הֵם שָׁבִים לָלָכֶת׃

8All such things are wearisome: No man can ever state them; The eye never has enough of seeing, Nor the ear enough of hearing.

חכָּל־הַדְּבָרִים יְגֵעִים לֹא־יוּכַל אִישׁ לְדַבֵּר לֹא־תִשְׂבַּע עַיִן לִרְאוֹת וְלֹא־תִמָּלֵא אֹזֶן מִשְּׁמֹעַ׃

9Only that shall happen Which has happened, Only that occur Which has occurred; There is nothing new Beneath the sun!

טמַה־שֶּׁהָיָה הוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה וּמַה־שֶׁנַּעֲשָׂה הוּא שֶׁיֵּעָשֶׂה וְאֵין כָּל־חָדָשׁ תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ׃

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.

ייֵשׁ דָּבָר שֶׁיֹּאמַר רְאֵה־זֶה חָדָשׁ הוּא כְּבָר הָיָה לְעֹלָמִים אֲשֶׁר הָיָה מִלְּפָנֵנוּ׃

11The earlier ones are not remembered; so too those that will occur later will no more be remembered than those that will occur at the very end.

יאאֵין זִכְרוֹן לָרִאשֹׁנִים וְגַם לָאַחֲרֹנִים שֶׁיִּהְיוּ לֹא־יִהְיֶה לָהֶם זִכָּרוֹן עִם שֶׁיִּהְיוּ לָאַחֲרֹנָה׃

12I, Kohelet, was king in Yerushalayim over Yisrael.

יבאֲנִי קֹהֶלֶת הָיִיתִי מֶלֶךְ עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּירוּשָׁלָ ִם׃

13I set my mind to study and to probe with wisdom all that happens under the sun.—An unhappy business, that, which Hashem gave men to be concerned with!

יגוְנָתַתִּי אֶת־לִבִּי לִדְרוֹשׁ וְלָתוּר בַּחָכְמָה עַל כָּל־אֲשֶׁר נַעֲשָׂה תַּחַת הַשָּׁמָיִם הוּא עִנְיַן רָע נָתַן אֱלֹהִים לִבְנֵי הָאָדָם לַעֲנוֹת בּוֹ׃

14I observed all the happenings beneath the sun, and I found that all is futile and pursuit of wind:

ידרָאִיתִי אֶת־כָּל־הַמַּעֲשִׂים שֶׁנַּעֲשׂוּ תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ וְהִנֵּה הַכֹּל הֶבֶל וּרְעוּת רוּחַ׃

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

טומְעֻוָּת לֹא־יוּכַל לִתְקֹן וְחֶסְרוֹן לֹא־יוּכַל לְהִמָּנוֹת׃

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

טזדִּבַּרְתִּי אֲנִי עִם־לִבִּי לֵאמֹר אֲנִי הִנֵּה הִגְדַּלְתִּי וְהוֹסַפְתִּי חָכְמָה עַל כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־הָיָה לְפָנַי עַל־יְרוּשָׁלָ ִם וְלִבִּי רָאָה הַרְבֵּה חָכְמָה וָדָעַת׃

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:

יזוָאֶתְּנָה לִבִּי לָדַעַת חָכְמָה וְדַעַת הוֹלֵלוֹת וְשִׂכְלוּת יָדַעְתִּי שֶׁגַּם־זֶה הוּא רַעְיוֹן רוּחַ׃

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

יחכִּי בְּרֹב חָכְמָה רָב־כָּעַס וְיוֹסִיף דַּעַת יוֹסִיף מַכְאוֹב׃